Tom Stickney: How your feet influence the way you move
One of the coolest things about instructional technology is the way it continues to evolve and how simple basic graphics can help the teacher and the student understand and solve problems during a lesson. When I first started using force plates back in the early 2000s all I could see was the amount of pressure moving into the lead and trail foot. I thought it was magic when they made an upgrade and I could begin to see the “trace” of the center of pressure during the swing! Now companies can measure things like horizontal, vertical, rotational forces, as well as, the actual peaks and valleys as to when and where these occur during the swing. It’s amazing…
I want to start by taking a few steps back to the time when we only had the option to see the pressure in the feet, the CoP, and the CoP “trace” or move back and forth. As stated earlier this is one of the easiest visuals for you and your student to focus on and one that makes some of the quickest improvements. Don’t make things harder — golf instruction is not about showing the student how much you know, but how simple you can make it!
First let’s identify everything you see in this Pressure and Stance Graphic by Swing Catalyst. Remember, everything you see in this window is perfectly timed up with the swing of the golfer (we’ll show this in the video that will accompany this article.)
- You can see the numbers in grey that represent the amount of pressure on each foot (the number in the middle shows the stance width)
- The “hotter” colors show where the pressure is located on the feet from front to back and side to side
- The grey dot that you see on each foot represents where the CoP is on that particular foot
- The white dot is the combined CoP of each foot and denotes where it would be positioned on the ground between the feet if “averaged out”
- The dark grey squiggly line attached to the white dot is the CoP “trace” which shows the actions of the CoP during the swing and in what direction it is moving from frame to frame
The bottom line is that if you only used this graphic with your students, you would receive an amazing amount of information about the how and why of their current motion! Often this Pressure and Stance box is overlooked during lessons because teachers are focusing on the more detailed aspects of the data in other areas which might or might not be the best idea.
Now, let’s dive in to the swing of Beatriz Recari, a wonderfully talented LPGA Touring Professional whom is regarded for her swing as well as her worth ethic. You will see that the Pressure and Stance Graph shows everything that she does so well and why she has been so successful over her LPGA career!
- In her address position, you can see that she is basically balanced from side to side 51-49%
- Her weight is favoring her toes rather than her heels (note the hotter colors in the toes and the small grey dot on each of her individual feet)
- And her stance is 20.9 inches…over time as we understand more about how she moves we can determine just how wide her feet should be- we’ve never been able to clarify this before!
- This is just past the lateral rebalance stage of her downswing (where the CoP would return to 50/50 between the feet) and you can see that the club has shallowed out as we all would like
- Note the direction of her CoP trace…it’s moved in a straight line from her trail foot to her lead toe! This is usually seen in players who possess a big “bump” into right field during the transition coupled with a distinct plane shift to the inside on the way down which fits Beatriz to a “T”
- The lead foot has all the pressure centered on the toe portion currently, and it will begin shifting towards the heel very soon as the forward knee begins to “post up” or straighten
- Just prior to delivery is the peak of her target-side pressure at 78% on her lead foot now just beginning its journey moving towards the heel
- If you look closer at the CoP trace graphic you can see that this is the point when the CoP is heading towards the heel…this is beginning the “deceleration” phase of her body in the downswing
- As the forward knee continues to straighten the weight will continue to move back into the heel and as the body slows it will send power up the kinematic chain to power the clubhead from the ground as all good players do
- Finally, we have reached impact and she shows a 74/26% pressure shift between the feet
- Remember that the as forward knee posts up the body decelerates and the body falls “backwards” through impact slightly as the club flings past reducing the amount of pressure on the lead foot for a bit
- The only thing we see here is that Beatriz never fully moved her pressure early enough into her lead heel and at impact she is still a touch toe heavy on her lead foot. This could be a power leak within her swing, but we’d have to audit her other graphs
- I do love the fact of where the pressure is on each of her individual feet from side to side- her forward foot is firmly planted on the ground and the pressure is not on the outside of her lead foot which could cause slippage or imbalance through impact while her rear toe is the only thing connected on the trail side
- Look at her beautiful balanced finish in the video, it’s a thing of beauty and poise…
- Still notice the balance between her foot pressure at 66/34% and where the weight is positioned (hot color distribution) on the lead foot…it’s from the mid-foot to the heel and on the middle-outward portion of her foot.
- This gives a solid platform to finish on and from here it’s the least vulnerable position for injury due to slipping or excessive pressure on the outside portion of her foot
So hopefully by now you have seen the wonderful golf swing of Beatriz as well as how much information can be garnered from the Pressure and Stance graphic from Swing Catalyst. If you have balance issues and poor footwork, I would suggest you find a teaching professional with force plates in their academy, and I bet your issues will become a thing of the past!
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Clement: “Infallible” release drill to add 30 yards to your drives
Yes, you heard it here: INFALLIBLE! This drill will end all drills as “the” go to drill when your golf swing is hangin’ on or being too forceful! None of my students in the last month either online or in person, French or English, male or female, have messed this up. Pure Wisdom! And we share it with you here.
Kelley: How a change in awareness can influence your body turn
A simple change of awareness can help you understand how the body can naturally turn in the swing. An important concept to understand: the direction the body moves is the engine to the swing. Research also shows the direction the body turns can be just as important as the amount of turn.
Golf is hard because the ball is on the ground, yet we are trying to hit it forward towards a target. With our head looking down at the ball, it’s easy to place our attention (what we are mindful of) on the ground, losing awareness to where we are going. This can make the body move in all sorts of directions, making hitting the ball towards a target difficult.
But imagine if we looked out over our lead shoulder with our attention to the target and made a backswing. Being mindful of the body, the body would naturally turn in a direction and amount that would be geared to move towards the target in the swing. (Imagine the position of your body and arm when throwing a ball). After proper set-up angles, this will give the look of coiling around the original spine angle established at Address.
With this simple awareness change, common unwanted tendencies naturally self-organize out of the backswing. Tendencies like swaying and tilting (picture below) would not conceptually make sense when moving the body in the direction we want to hit the ball.
A great concept or drill to get this feel besides looking over your shoulder is to grab a range basket and set into your posture with Hitting Angles. Keeping the basket level in front of you, swing the basket around you as if throwing it forward towards the target.
When doing the drill, be aware of not only the direction the body turns, but the amount. The drill will first help you understand the concept. Next make some practice swings. When swinging, look over your lead shoulder and slowly replicate how the basket drill made your body move.
The Wedge Guy: What really needs fixing in your game?
I always find it interesting to watch how golfers interact with the practice range, if they do so at all. I certainly can figure out how to understand that some golfers just do not really want to get better — at least not enough to spend time on the practice range trying to improve.
What is most puzzling to me is how many golfers completely ignore the rationale for going to the range to at least warm up before they head to the first tee. Why anyone would set aside 4-6 hours of their day for a round of golf, and then not even give themselves a chance to do their best is beyond me. But today, I’m writing for those of you who really do want to improve your golf scores and your enjoyment of the game.
I’ve seen tons of research for my entire 40 years in this industry that consistently shows the number one goal of all golfers, of any skill level, from 100-shooter to tour professional, is simply to hit better golf shots more often. And while our definition of “better” is certainly different based on our respective skill level, the game is just more fun when your best shots happen more often and your worst shots are always getting better.
Today’s article is triggered by what we saw happen at the Valspar tour event this past Sunday. While Taylor Moore certainly had some big moments in a great final round, both Jordan Spieth and Adam Schenk threw away their chances to win with big misses down the stretch, both of them with driver. Spieth’s wayward drive into the water on the 16th and Schenk’s big miss left on the 18th spelled doom for both of them.
It amazes me how the best players on the planet routinely hit the most God-awful shots with such regularity, given the amazing talents they all have. But those guys are not what I’m talking about this week. In keeping with the path of the past few posts, I’m encouraging each and every one of you to think about your most recent rounds (if you are playing already this year), or recall the rounds you finished the season with last year. What you are looking for are you own “big misses” that kept you from scoring better.
Was it a few wayward drives that put you in trouble or even out of bounds? Or maybe loose approach shots that made birdie impossible and par super challenging? Might your issue have been some missed short putts or bad long putts that led to a three-putt? Most likely for any of you, you can recall a number of times where you just did not give yourself a good chance to save par or bogey from what was a not-too-difficult greenside recovery.
The point is, in order to get consistently better, you need to make an honest assessment of where you are losing strokes and then commit to improving that part of your game. If it isn’t your driving that causes problems, contain that part of practice or pre-round warm-ups to just a half dozen swings or so, for the fun of “the big stick”. If your challenges seem to be centered around greenside recoveries, spend a lot more time practicing both your technique and imagination – seeing the shot in your mind and then trying to execute the exact distance and trajectory of the shot required. Time on the putting green will almost always pay off on the course.
But, if you are genuinely interested in improving your overall ball-striking consistency, you would be well-served to examine your fundamentals, starting with the grip and posture/setup. It is near impossible to build a repeating golf swing if those two fundamentals are not just right. And if those two things are fundamentally sound, the creation of a repeating golf swing is much easier.
More from the Wedge Guy
- The Wedge Guy: It’s not all about distance
- The Wedge Guy: Are you really willing to get better at golf?
- The Wedge Guy: Anatomy of a wedge head
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This is way too complicated. Just tell me what I’m doing wrong and then tell me/show me how to fix it. Then make sure I’m following directions by the time the lesson is done.