How do you keep from getting "over-technical" and thinking too much?
Feel is Real...
Feel is Real…
I believe golf is a game that is played by feel after you have developed a fundamental golf swing which is repeatable and confident. Once you have developed the fundamentals it’s all about the target and less on the golf ball and mechanics. There is no perfect swing; only the one you develop within yourself.
Play by feel, not by thought. I will give you a strategy I teach my students to be more target focused, and to be able to play by feel on the golf course.
The Preparation Box
When you are in this box you are analyzing the situation. Check the lie first, distance to the target, identify your intermediate target, and play lie accordingly. Strategy is a huge part of the game, and this is the time in your pre-shot routine to make the right choice.
The Rehearsal Box
When in this box it’s time to think about the mechanics; what you are working on in your golf swing. To keep things simple, never have more than 1-2 thoughts circulating in your head. Practice the feel you are training the body to execute in the shot.
The Play box
“PLAY.” You and only you are in this box. Focus on the target, relax, let it go and just swing. Commit to the target and lose all responsibility.
They have 8 seconds to pull the trigger!
We will discuss and go through some of the swing mechanics together as I help them get the club into the correct positions. We will talk about any questions that come up with regard to positioning of club, body, etc. Once they get over the ball though, they have an 8 second rule to start their swing. Through the years I have watched as the “paralysis” starts and the tension grows so I tell all my students that once they get over the ball they have 8 seconds to pull the trigger! It really is a long time so if they can go sooner great. I have found that this along with having them close their eyes prior to taking the club back helps to reduce the amount of tension they feel and allows them to swing the club better.
You need to feel it, NOT think it
This is a great topic of discussion.
It is true that we are bombarded with so much information, technology, terminology and fancy theories about how to swing the golf club and develop good swing mechanics. It is fun to learn. Information and knowledge are GOOD in developing a solid game, up to point. The key for most golfers is to understand in general, solid fundamentals, balance, timing and feel aspects override specific details when it comes to performance. A player should learn to weed out what is a priority and beneficial to their own personal game.
This subject hits home with our OLDE SCHOOL GOLF SCHOOL Philosophy, which is that the game is ultimately about simple and solid fundamentals, feel, timing, rhythm, and understanding your personal tendencies and ability. We have several “feel” and “performance-based” exercises we use to help them learn to play, and spend time purging the multiple and paralyzing swing thoughts from students.
It is important to know that each individual and their golf swing is unique. A golf swing takes about a second and a third, and you need to feel it, NOT think it. This enables a golfer to focus on simple keys, swing freely and enjoy the game more.
Remember, ” Too much thinking, makes for Stinking”!
Robert Kotowski PGA
Director of Instruction
California Blind and Disabled Golf Association
Teach people how to score (short game) before technique
I spend more time on the golf course teaching them how to score with the game they have now. Most students will not commit enough time to make changes in their swing so I am honest and up front with them. I ask each student, would you rather a pretty swing or lower scores. A pretty swing doesn’t guarantee lower scores but being a better putter and having some versatility in your short game will get you instant results. Until you can score the absolute best you can with your current skill set then I will improve their technique to help them get to their next scoring goals. Golf instruction needs to change, teach people how to score (short game) before technique, you will create more player retention because the student will see results early in the process and that’s what most are looking for.
I don't have a student work on any technical concept unless they 100% understand it
Golfers have always been susceptible to over thinking due to the nature of the game and the seemingly endless stream of opinions and information on how to swing. Bobby Jones once said that it was a “horrifying state of affairs.”
There is nothing wrong with being technically minded as long as the student understands why they are being directed to attempt a certain change or to make certain it actually fits with the students pattern. So much advice given to golfers doesn’t even pertain to that individuals needs.
Here’s what I tell my students. If I do my job well and I was to audio tape an entire lesson, only 20% of the verbiage used should be technical in nature while 80% of the discussion should be explaining why I’m suggesting it and how it fits with what we’re trying to accomplish. I can’t tell how many times I’ll be working with a new pupil and I’ll ask why they are doing a certain thing and they say, “I don’t know, I was just told to try it.” Then through more discussion we find out they weren’t even told why it was suggested and they didn’t even understand the concept.
Here’s my number one rule, I don’t have a student work on any technical concept unless they 100% understand why I’m asking them to work on it and how it’s fits with their swing. Then we work on drills and exercises to make the transition from technical in nature to a feel. That’s when we use a lot of video analysis so they see how everything fits and how the potentially bizarre feeling drills will help them develop new and better habits. Bottom line is, technical is fine only when first introducing a concept but then it’s about understanding and feel.
I’ll physically move the student through the swing
The first thing you need to do is identify error(s) that occur and create a plan.
Because we primarily learn by what we see and feel, I primarily use that to get past all of the how to’s. For instance, to shallow out the downswing, I’ll tell someone to swing to right field. To get the feel of a certain move, I’ll physically move the student through the swing.
In today’s Information Age, less is more
What a great question. I try to instill in my students that there is a lot of information out there. I relate to that info as “medicine”. When someone is sick, they go to a doctor and the doctor will prescribe the right medicine for that particular illness. Taking the wrong medicine will usually make you worse. As well, many teachers give students too much info that doesn’t relate to their particular swing. Back to the previous analogy. When going to the pharmacy to pick up your prescription you don’t need to know the ins and outs of the pharmacy. It is very important for each golfer to understand their tendencies and how to go about keeping those tendencies in check. Giving the student the ability to become their own coach is one of the greatest things we as teachers can give our students.
One of my mentors, Jim Flick, used to preach playing by vision, feel and rhythm. I try to get my players to understand their swing and stay away from all of the things that will interfere with them owning their own swing. In today’s Information Age, less is more.
I use easy to understand terms & items, such as the range ball basket
I love this topic because I like to keep it simple & not overwhelm my students. I use easy to understand terms & items, such as the range ball basket.
I have the student hold the basket with hands open & toss it to me like it’s their golf swing. I don’t want them to throw it into the ground, but “swing” to me, so that when it is tossed, all their fingers are pointing at me. This also gives them the feeling of using their shoulders & not flipping the basket to me. It makes them “swing” for the target, not the ball.