Out with the old paradigm (over focusing on golf swing bio-mechanics) , in with the new paradigm…

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In close to 30 years of full time teaching experience, I have found that the major premises and theories that underlie the accepted, orthodox modern golf instruction paradigm to be extremely suspect as to their scientific validity at best, and at worst, utterly false. If they are indeed false, then there must be a different answer – a different paradigm – that correctly explains how elite golfers develop their skill. I will attempt to explain my theories and assumptions that underlie a new paradigm that I believe will more accurately explain how golfers develop the skill to strike a golf ball and why some of them, currently an infinitesimally small percentage of the golfing population, develop skill far beyond the capabilities of their fellow golfers.

This proposed new paradigm will require us to rethink what we know about how a human being strikes a golf ball. This will require a paradigm shift.

paradigm shift |ˈpɛrəˌdaɪm ʃɪft|
noun
a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

Much like the change in the understanding of the relationship between the earth and the sun, the new paradigm revolves around understanding what to do with the clubhead to accomplish a specific objective rather than presuming the clubhead will do what it is supposed to if the swing is bio-mechanically correct.

In sum, the traditional paradigm says “Where are my body parts and what are they doing? I must make sure they are positioned properly and moving correctly during the swing. When shots are mis-hit or mis-directed, I must determine which body part or parts are to blame and make doubly sure on the next shot that my parts behave in a manner that is accepted as bio-mechanically correct. To do so, I will focus an inordinate amount of attention on this technical correction hoping that I will achieve a precise contact between the clubhead and the ball and send the ball accurately in the direction of my intended target, even though I now have no focus at all on on these two critical tasks.”

In contrast, the Real Swing Golf paradigm says, “Where is the clubhead and what is it doing? I must swing it correctly, in the same fashion that all highly skilled golfers do – i.e., freely, fluidly, and fast through the impact area – and, while swinging thusly [is that a word? ; o) ], I must “guide” – not “control” – the swinging clubhead so that it passes accurately through the ball (for clean contact) and feel the rotational positioning of the clubface as it passes through the ball to ensure that it is positioned at impact so as to create my intended ball flight to hit my shot in the direction of my target.

The new paradigm focuses externally on the club head and the intention, and the Target. The old paradigm focuses internally on the details of the body’s movement with the assumption that the clubbed will some do all the right things if the body’s technique is correct.

(Google Dr. Gabriele Wulf for a detailed look at external vs. internal focus)

Comments

Edward LeBeau says:

Hi Ron, No doubt you have read Ernest Jones and Manuel de la Torre. For the past 60 years Manuel taught "club-focused" golf instruction. Almost verbatim of what you have described in this video. There is a Facebook group devoted to this instruction. Here's the link… https://www.facebook.com/groups/1101983829897378/. I think you can make some valuable contributions. I have written extensively on this and would be happy to share with you. Nice video. Ed LeBeau learn@heartlandgolfschools.com

Marco Hatfield says:

Hi Ron, are you still teaching?

golfprochen says:

A GOLF SWING is the BODY REACTION to the golfer's INTENT of moving the CLUB with the HANDS. (高爾夫揮桿乃身體對於球友以手移動球桿意念的反應。)

A GOLF SHOT is the BALL REACTION to a GOLF SWING. (高爾夫之一桿乃球對於高爾夫揮桿的反應。)

A GOLF GAME is the GOLFER'S REACTION to GOLF SHOTS. (高爾夫球局乃球友對於所擊各桿的反應。)

83DCB says:

Brilliant video.
When I first started playing golf as a young athletic boy, all I thought about was how far I wanted to hit my drives with my arms and hands and would hit it very long. Later on as I got taller and stronger, my drives decreased in distance which was very strange to me. I forgot about the fundamentals and in addition was taking lessons which revolved around the old paradigm. Although I was shooting great scores using my body to swing the club, I wasn't having fun. It just didn't make sense to me that the first golfer to hold a club used his body to create power while completely forgetting about his arms hands and weight of the club head. I'm realizing now that things got too complicated over the years and I had it right when I first started playing. This video really confirmed that for me. Thank you!
Montreal golfer 🙂

Rohan The Boat says:

Great to see you back online. When will the Too Simple: "Keep It Simple" Swing Program Part II Golf Instruction Video, be available, as I ordered it a few months back. Cheers.

LearnTheRealSwing says:

In close to 30 years of full time teaching experience, I have found that the major premises and theories that underlie the accepted, orthodox modern golf instruction paradigm to be extremely suspect as to their scientific validity at best, and at worst, utterly false. If they are indeed false, then there must be a different answer – a different paradigm – that correctly explains how elite golfers develop their skill. I will attempt to explain my theories and assumptions that underlie a new paradigm that I believe will more accurately explain how golfers develop the skill to strike a golf ball and why some of them, currently an infinitesimally small percentage of the golfing population, develop skill far beyond the capabilities of their fellow golfers.

This proposed new paradigm will require us to rethink what we know about how a human being strikes a golf ball. This will require a paradigm shift.

paradigm shift |ˈpɛrəˌdaɪm ʃɪft|
noun
a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions.

A particular paradigm – the idea that the earth is flat – that underwent a paradigm shift to the current and correct understanding that the earth is spherical. A similar paradigm shift occurred a few hundred years ago with people’s perceptions regarding the relationship between the earth and the sun:  "The earth is the ‘fixed center of the universe’ and the sun and other celestial bodies orbit around the earth every 24 hours.  Hence, we see the sun ‘move across the sky’ from east to west."  Copernicus and later Galileo created a paradigm shift and turned the old paradigm on its ear:  “The earth orbits around the sun!  It is the earth's rotation on its axis every 24 hours that makes the fixed sun appear to "move" across the sky from east to west.” They discovered that the actual relationship between the earth and the sun was, in reality markedly different from how it originally appeared.

Similarly, in golf, when a human being strikes a golf ball with a full swing motion, what is actually happening is remarkably different than what appears to be happening.  In the current paradigm, the theory of what’s happening when a human being strikes a golf ball is as follows: “It appears that elite golfers are moving their bodies through a series of complex movements and positions that they have burned into ‘muscle memory’ through countless hours of practice. They then execute these movements on the golf course by way of bio-mechanical ‘swing thoughts.’ If they are done in a ‘bio-mechanically correct’ fashion, these movements and positions create the proper movements of the clubhead with regard to its pacing and speed, swing path, angle of approach and face position at impact, thereby producing powerfully struck and directionally accurate shots.” In short, “The bio-mechanical movements of the body create the swinging of the club.”

I believe that what is really happening is actually quite different than what appears to be happening! In the new paradigm, what is actually happening is this: “Elite golfers focus their minds and intentions on the shot shape they desire to get the ball to their intended target. They then execute two critical skills related to the skillful use of the clubhead that they learned instinctively, usually at a very young age, to swing the clubhead with the most efficient rhythm and acceleration to make precise contact with the ball with the relationship of the clubhead’s angle of approach, path and the clubface’s postion at impact created in such a way so as to produce their desired ball flight. Their bodies’ bio-mechanical movements and positions occur naturally and instinctively in response to the player’s intention of what s/he desires to accomplish with the ball, with the club acting as a tool to accomplish the goal and the body simply moves in whatever way it needs to in response to those intentions. In short, “The bio-mechanics do not create the swing of the club; the swinging of the club creates the bio-mechanics.”

Said another way, elite golfers do not hit the ball well because they figured out what to do with their bodies, which in turn caused the clubhead to move correctly. They hit the ball well because they figured out what to do with the clubhead and how to swing it efficiently, using it as a tool to accomplish their objectives with the ball and their bodies simply did whatever was necessary toward that end.

For example, watch this YouTube video of a four-year-old golfer hitting a moving target on four successive shots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmhWdCxu92c

Notice how his body’s movements and positions instinctively adjust to hit the ball accurately, in terms of both distance and direction, to hit his intended target.

Much like the change in the understanding of the relationship between the earth and the sun, the new paradigm revolves around understanding what to do with the clubhead to accomplish a specific objective rather than presuming the clubhead will do what it is supposed to if the swing is bio-mechanically correct.

In sum, the traditional paradigm says "Where are my body parts and what are they doing? I must make sure they are positioned properly and moving correctly during the swing. When shots are mis-hit or mis-directed, I must determine which body part or parts are to blame and make doubly sure on the next shot that my parts behave in a manner that is accepted as bio-mechanically correct. To do so, I will focus an inordinate amount of attention on this technical correction hoping that I will achieve a precise contact between the clubhead and the ball and send the ball accurately in the direction of my intended target, even though I now have no focus at all on on these two critical tasks."

In contrast, the Real Swing Golf paradigm says, "Where is the clubhead and what is it doing? I must swing it correctly, in the same fashion that all highly skilled golfers do – i.e., freely, fluidly, and fast through the impact area – and, while swinging thusly [is that a word? ; o) ], I must "guide" – not "control" – the swinging clubhead so that it passes accurately through the ball (for clean contact) and feel the rotational positioning of the clubface as it passes through the ball to ensure that it is positioned at impact so as to create my intended ball flight to hit my shot in the direction of my target.

The new paradigm focuses externally on the club head and the intention, and the Target. The old paradigm focuses internally on the details of the body's movement with the assumption that the club head will some do all the right things if the body's technique is correct.

(Google Dr. Gabriele Wulf for a detailed look at external vs. internal focus)

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