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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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The value of video

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In the age of radar and 3-D measuring systems, video analysis has somewhat taken a backseat. I think that’s unfortunate for a few reasons. First of all, video is still a great assist to learning, and secondly, it is readily available and it can be accessed continually.

Of course, it has limitations, that is a given. It is ultimately a 2-D image of a three-dimensional motion. The camera cannot detect true path, see plane, and can be misleading if not positioned properly. That said, I still use it on every lesson, because, in my experience, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Things like posture, ball position, and aim can all be seen clearly when the camera is positioned exactly as it should be. In swing observations such as maintenance of posture, club angles, arms in relation to body, over the top, under, early release can all be a great help to any student.

But the real value is in the “feel versus real” area! None of us, from professional to beginner, can know what we are actually doing. The very first reaction I get upon viewing, is “wow, I’m doing that?” Yes, you are. You did NOT pick up your head as you thought you were doing, you ARE lifting well out of your posture, you are NOT coming “over the top”, your aim is well left of where you think you’re aiming, your club is pointing well right of your aim point at the top of the swing, your transition is excessively steep, your lead arm is very bent at impact, the clubhead is past your hands, your wrists are cupped or bowed and on and on!

Some of these positions may be a problem; some may be irrelevant. It’s all about impact, and how you’re getting there that matters. The chicken wing that is causing you to top the ball may very well be the result of a very early release, or a steep transition, or too much waist bend etc. The weight hanging back on the rear leg may be the result of the club so far across the line at the top, and so on.

I never evaluate video without knowledge of ball flight or impact. If one were to observe a less-than-conventional swing, perhaps a Jim Furyk, with knowing how he put matching components together, it might seem like a problem area. Great players have matching components, lesser players do not! IMPACT is king!

I have a video analysis program, as I’m sure your instructor, or someone in your area, does as well. It can only help to take a good, close slow motion look at what is actually happening in your swing.  It takes very little time, and the results can be massively beneficial to your golf swing.

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Davies: How control the right hand at impact

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Alistair Davies shows you how to work the right hand correctly through the hitting zone with a great drill and concept.

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Shawn Clement: Dealing with injuries in your golf swing, lead side.

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Happy Father’s Day weekend and U.S. Open weekend at none other than Pebble Beach weekend! Whoa, cannot wait to see the golf action today!

In this video, we talk about how to deal with hip, knee and ankle injuries to your lead side as this one is PIVOTAL (pardon the pun) to the success of any kinetic chain in a human. This kinetic chain is a golf swing. Now, what most of you don’t get is that you were born with action; like a dolphin was born to swim. Just watch 2-year-olds swinging a club! You wish you had that swing and guess what, it is in there. But you keep hiding it trying to hit the ball and being careful to manipulate the club into positions that are absolutely, positively sure to snuff out this action.

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