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NFL Quarterback gets a lesson in athletic posture

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A quarterback in the NFL and a PGA Tour level player face a similar challenge. Although golfers aren’t dodging a blitz, players from both sports can create dynamics that alter performance and results without the player knowing consciously that something changed.

When I was a rookie Tour Pro, my coach was working with fellow Tour Pro Rick Fehr. He asked Rick why his setup was so deep in knee flex and leaned on his lead leg. Rick replied with a shrug of the shoulders. My coach then asked a great question, “Have you been playing in a lot of wind on tour lately?” Rick nodded in affirmation and revealed how he was moved to unconsciously alter his setup simply by the weather.

Recently, at the Strano Golf Academy in Florida, I taught an athlete in a similar situation. Retired several years from playing as a quarterback in the NFL, this past Heisman Trophy winner still looks like he could suit up and take some snaps. The former quarterback also possesses a passion for the game of golf, and came to me seeking improvement in areas in which he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted.

One of the keys to a good golf swing, or any physical movement, and it doesn’t matter if you are a PGA Tour winner, a Heisman winning NFL quarterback, or the backyard pickup game all star – athleticism in your set up is vital to success.

Using the technology on hand at the academy, I had him hit a few shots with a 7 iron. The FlightScope-BodiTrak read the pressure movements of his feet from setup through the finish, while the Flightscope X2 tracked all his club and ball data, giving me a full “MRI” of his swing. Below are the screenshots that I was able to show him:

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BodiTrak Pressure Mat readings showing lots of pressure to the left foot 60/40.

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Flightscope screen readings showing ball speed, distance and height numbers as slow, short and low.

Once we finished reviewing the data and discussing the results, we got down to business to make him a better golfer. The first thing I did was get him in a position he was comfortable with as an elite athlete and quarterback; I had him get “under center” for me, pretending to take a snap, something he has done repeatedly throughout his life. He fell perfectly into equal pressure on both feet; similarly to if I stood talking to someone in casual conversation.

The images you see below show him before and after the adjustment. Before shows him in his normal golf posture, then him pretending to take a snap “under center,” using his golf stance. After shows him taking his position “under center,” then setting up the ball with a club using the football stance. This allowed him to visualize what mistakes he was making with his stance, and gave him the ability to make the proper adjustments to launch the ball higher.

                     Before                                                 After

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The changes in ball flight, distance, and speed were dramatic and instantaneous. He was able to use his athleticism again to access the speed and power that were blocked by his previous setup. All the compensations he made to get the ball in the air went away and his launch conditions were greatly improved. When I showed him the Flightscope data after the new changes,  his eyes lit up:

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  • Ball height went up from 53 ft to 91 ft (tour average)
  • Ball Speed increased from 105 mph to 126 mph (which is a huge improvement)
  • Distance overall jumped from 142 yards to 172 yards (equal to a three club increase)

To say he was pleased with his improvements would be an understatement. With an upcoming golf fundraiser that he was hosting, we needed to get his game to a level that would allow him to lead his golf team like he led his football teams in past competitions.

An important lesson to take from this is that good athletic setup pressures are all the same no matter the sport. The foot pressure of receiving a serve in tennis flows through basketball (guarding the player), baseball (ready position in the field), football (under center) and into golf (foot pressure at setup). The player, at any level of the game, has to be in an athletic position to move the stick they are swinging or make an athletic move to start any action. When your goal is to move the shaft/stick with as much speed as possible and still produce accuracy, then you need to be in a position where you can access your athletic ability.

Rob Strano is the Director of Instruction at the Strano Golf Academy in Destin, FL and a Flightscope Advisory Board Member. To learn more visit his website: www.stranogolf.com

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If you are an avid Golf Channel viewer you are familiar with Rob Strano the Director of Instruction for the Strano Golf Academy at Kelly Plantation Golf Club in Destin, FL. He has appeared in popular segments on Morning Drive and School of Golf and is known in studio as the “Pop Culture” coach for his fun and entertaining Golf Channel segments using things like movie scenes*, song lyrics* and familiar catch phrases to teach players. His Golf Channel Academy series "Where in the World is Rob?" showed him giving great tips from such historic landmarks as the Eiffel Tower, on a Gondola in Venice, Tuscany Winery, the Roman Colissum and several other European locations. Rob played professionally for 15 years, competing on the PGA, Nike/Buy.com/Nationwide and NGA/Hooters Tours. Shortly after embarking on a teaching career, he became a Lead Instructor with the golf schools at Pine Needles Resort in Pinehurst, NC, opening the Strano Golf Academy in 2003. A native of St. Louis, MO, Rob is a four time honorable mention U.S. Kids Golf Top 50 Youth Golf Instructor and has enjoyed great success with junior golfers, as more than 40 of his students have gone on to compete on the collegiate level at such established programs as Florida State, Florida and Southern Mississippi. During the 2017 season Coach Strano had a player win the DII National Championship and the prestigious Nicklaus Award. He has also taught a Super Bowl and Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, a two-time NCAA men’s basketball national championship coach, and several PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players. His PGA Tour players have led such statistical categories as Driving Accuracy, Total Driving and 3-Putt Avoidance, just to name a few. In 2003 Rob developed a nationwide outreach program for Deaf children teaching them how to play golf in sign language. As the Director of the United States Deaf Golf Camps, Rob travels the country conducting instruction clinics for the Deaf at various PGA and LPGA Tour events. Rob is also a Level 2 certified AimPoint Express Level 2 green reading instructor and a member of the FlightScope Advisory Board, and is the developer of the Fuzion Dyn-A-line putting training aid. * Golf Channel segments have included: Caddyshack Top Gun Final Countdown Gangnam Style The Carlton Playing Quarters Pump You Up

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: NFL Quarterback gets a lesson in athletic posture | Spacetimeandi.com

  2. Alex

    Aug 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Generally good article and a solid point, but you don’t explain what changes you made.

    From what I can glean, the main two are that (1) you set him up with his spine angle slightly away from the target rather than towards it, and (2) you had him bend from the hips rather than from the waist.

    The spine angle change is big because it allows him to rotate his shoulders freely without leaning into the target (aka two way miss slice/hook city).

    The hips/waist change straightened out his back (no longer rounded) and encourages a full hip turn with a relatively constant spine angle (when in conjunction with change (1)).

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Instruction

Stickney: Sit on it (for a better backswing)

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As we know golf, is a very tough sport and one that involves many moving pieces. Whenever something overreacts or moves too much on the way back, you end up playing catch-up on the way down. One of my favorite things to watch is how the head moves or doesn’t move on the backswing. Sure, you can have some movement, but you can’t have too much or you put yourself behind the eight ball.

I have charted the head position of a tour player at address and we can see that this is a very normal set up position. It is one that looks positioned to do great things.

However, en route to the top, you can see that this player has put himself into a position where his rear knee straightened too rapidly off the start of his backswing. When this occurs the pelvis “runs out from under” the upper body on the backswing the hips will react and begin to slant downward. (You can see a -10 degree tilt versus 3 degrees the opposite way at address for you number people.)

This causes the head to move out in front of where it was at address. This is not a bad position for the irons but for a driver we have a pending issue. If you don’t make a compensation from here then the player will have an angle of attack that is too much downward through impact with their driver.

As the player moves into his transition, the hips have leveled as the rear shoulder lowers the club into delivery but the head and pelvis are still too far out in front of the ball. The only thing you can do from here is fire the lead side upwards and hope that your head falls back into the correct position. If so, you will have the correct angle of attack, if not, you will chop down on the ball causing your launch conditions to be faulty.

And as we see here that this is precisely what this player did at the very last minute…not the easiest way to swing the club but it is functional IF you make the right correction. So, now that you understand how simple things like the action of the lower body can cause your head to move and your angle of attack to become faulty, what is the secret to controlling your lower body?


Just “sit” on the rear knee flex slightly longer during the backswing as you see here. This will slow down the tilting of the pelvis on backswing and thus your head will stay more in position en route to the top.

Personally, I teach both flexion and extension of the rear knee to the top, depending on what the player is wanting to do, so it really does not matter. However, what does matter is the rate at which it begins to straighten for those of you who do allow it to lengthen. I try to make most of my students hold the most of their address flex until the club moves between belt and chest high, any sooner and you risk the faulty pivot we saw above.

Therefore, take it from me and “sit on it” slightly longer for more quiet head motions as well as a more balanced backswing—your angle of attack will thank you!

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Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

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Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

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The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

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He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

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