How many of you have seen the movie Million Dollar Arm?
The movie has been out a few weeks now and is a true story about a baseball agent who goes to India and runs a contest “The Million Dollar Arm” to find a couple potential baseball players to bring back to the United States and train to be MLB pitchers. The agent does find a couple of young men to bring back and takes them to Dr. Tom House (at U.S.C.) to train to become pitchers in the MLB.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the great fortune to spend 3 days with Dr. House. My son was invited to a pitching camp run by Dr. House and I was able to attend and spend a lot of time “bouncing” questions off of Dr. House and watching how himself and his assistants worked with potential future “big league” pitchers.
The reason I am writing this article is because of the numerous similarities between the training Dr. House promotes for his pitchers and the training we promote for you to improve your golf swing. As Dr. House went through his training, why he trained in a particular manner and the reason he trained in a certain order – it was absolutely amazing the similarities in what he does and what we do (how he trains and what we train..)
Basically, Dr. House broke down the kinematic sequence of the movement of a pitcher, then created drills to work on the particular areas of the kinematic sequence. We do the same with the golf swing.
First – everything taught / trained is based off of what is called the kinematic sequence (whether it is the movement of the pitcher or the golf swing – there is a particular sequence that is similar and in a particular order to be successful). Obviously, we will discuss the sequence in relationship to the golf swing, and we will discuss particular training drills to help you with the different movements / areas of the sequence.
Here is a picture of the kinematic sequence of a golf swing:
In simple terms, what the sequence shows is the sequence of the downswing of the golf swing starts with the hips, then the thorax / shoulders, then the arms, then the golf club. One starts, then as it starts to slow down the next movement starts, etc.. in a sequence that if done correctly will maximize speed and give you the best chance to get the club on plane. (To see additional research about the kinematic sequence of the golf swing, please refer to Dr. Greg Rose and the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) – he is the expert in the area of researching the kinematic sequence, etc…)
We teach the same kinematic sequence in Moe’s single plane swing – with one addition. The start of the downswing is registered in the lead knee (left knee for right handed golfers, right knee for left handed golfers). In other words, in listing the sequence of the downswing of the single plane swing:
1. Lead knee followed by
2. Hips (Pelvis) followed by
3. Thorax (Shoulders) followed by
4. Arms followed by
As Moe said – the golf swing is started with the lead knee. He would often say, “My lead knee starts my down swing”.
In this first part, let’s talk about a couple drills to help you get the lead knee working correctly.
First – you must set up correctly to allow for your lead knee to flex toward your lead toe. The lead toe must be turned out at least 10 degrees (up to 20 degrees). This turning of the lead toe outward will allow the lead knee to flex toward the toe in the downswing.
Second – you must be set up the correct distance from the golf ball. At least 26 inches from the golf ball to toe line with a 6 iron and at least 36 inches from the golf ball to toe line with a driver. Being too close to the golf ball at set up will cause the body to “pull away” from the golf ball to get enough room from the lead shoulder to the golf ball to make contact. Being the correct distance at set up (combined with clubs that fit you) will allow you to start the sequence correctly with the flex of the lead knee toward the lead toe.
Drill # 1 – Leverage Bag Drill
You can see the leverage bag drill at: http://moenormangolf.com/store/products/gga-leverage-bag/
Review the video on the top of the page and focus on the hold impact position and the flexed lead knee. Knees are flexed at impact – the lead knee toward the lead toe. The flex of the lead knee starts the downswing (original move of the sequence) and stays flexed through impact.
Drill # 2 – Chipping Drill
A chip is basically a mini golf swing (to impact) with a slightly open stance. The best part of working on your chipping is you can focus on the first part of your downswing to impact. Getting your hands down the target line and focusing on your proper lead knee flex through impact and the start of the downswing.
You can see an example of this at: http://moenormangolf.com/productsupport/
Click on Short Game Alignment Trainer under Products Instruction / Support and the 2nd (middle video). In particular 2:35 into the video. This video in particular focuses and shows you proper knee flex to start the downswing and through impact.
It is strongly recommended to start working on your proper knee flex (the start of the kinematic sequence) with chipping. Start small and work up…
Again, the key is the proper sequence of the golf swing to create maximum speed and gives you the ability to get the club on the proper plane.
Working / training on the particular parts of the sequence will allow you to eventually maximize the proper sequence.
In the next etips we will focus on the next steps and training /drills for the proper sequence of the single plane golf swing.