The past couple of weeks, we have taught a few schools and quite a few students. Seems it is a good time to talk about the “trigger” again. We have been getting questions about how to practice, what to practice, etc… Thought would start with revisiting about the “trigger” (and a few new points…).
Why is it so difficult to take the game to the course and/or make swing changes that stick? Yes, the million dollar questions… thought I’d bring the subject back up again and discuss a little more in this e-tip.
Want everyone to do an experiment for me. Get a video camera – set it behind you (down the line) and make a video of your golf swing — WITHOUT a golf ball. Only swing a couple of times. Now – next twist – do it with your EYES closed (again without a golf ball).
Now – take a golf ball – (even a wiffle ball if you want to do this in you back yard). Set up over the ball – hit it at a target (again – videoing the swing).
Take this video inside and look at on your T.V. What do you see? What are the differences?
Most of you (if not all of you) will be amazed. It will look like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde… One will be very close to on plane (without golf ball), the other will look like (as many of our students say) – “chaos”.
Now – the million-dollar question again – WHY???
The reason is you have made the golf ball a “Trigger”. Meaning you have taught yourself to react to the ball in a certain way.
If you question this – let me give you a couple other triggers you do every day.
1. Brushing your teeth – Dentists can tell you if you are right handed or left handed by your gums and teeth. For most, those who are right handed will pick up a toothbrush and brush the left side of the mouth first (and with more force) and then work to the right side. Your gums on the left side will be worn down more than the right…. HABIT – Toothbrush and brushing teeth trigger.
2. Riding a Bike – Get on a bike – standing position (still) and start pedaling. You will push the pedal to start with either your right or left leg to start. Right-handers typically with the right leg, left-handers typically with left leg…. Try pushing the other to start – very difficult. In fact, bicycle repair shops can tell you if you are right or left handed/footed by which side of the sprocket and pedal are warn/bent… by which side of the bike gets the most force…. (mine is always right..). Trigger – riding/starting a bike.
Why is this? Are we creatures of habit? Is there hope for us to change if we don’t like our current habits from the triggers? ABSOLUTELY.
Now let’s talk about the change.
First – you can’t change the trigger itself. When you hit a golf ball on the course you will always have that trigger – the ball. But, we can change the habit to the trigger.
If you don’t think you can change – then CREATE NEW HABITS. I am sick to death of those who tell me “I can’t break old habits”. I reply to them – “Great – either can I, so I create NEW habits”.
How do we change the habit – or more importantly, how do we build the new/correct habits?
1. You must perform SLOW REPETITIVE changes to form a habit that sticks. So much so, it will become VERY monotonous and even so much so, it may become part of your routine over the shot (for ex. Mike Weir making sure he doesn’t bring the club back inside on his takeaway, so before each shot he has a routine of a 1/4 backswing checking positions).
2. These SLOW REPETITIVE changes must be worked on 95% of the time until they become habit (when you don’t have to think about them). Think of all the times you have taken a full swing, vs. the number of times you performed a SLOW practice swing or focused on being in the right positions in the swing (maybe took a backswing to the top and stopped checking the top of the swing…) If the full swings out number the slow repetitive 1/4 to 1/2 (no ball) swings, it isn’t enough.
Point: I can guarantee Todd and myself (and Moe and any other professional) have taken thousands of practice swings (1/4 to 1/2 or shorter without ball – checking positions) vs. every full swing. Checking, checking and rechecking the correct positions in the swing when taking a practice swing.
Give you a quick story…
The end of February (2 years ago..) I was put in the ER for severe dehydration (our students at the school wore me out… just kidding…) In the ER I was given an IV to rehydrate me with saline and potassium… To be honest, I was so dehydrated, I really didn’t recognize anyone except Todd and one other. So picture me sitting on a ER bed, IV in my arm, having to use the restroom about every 2 minutes as they are rehydrating me. I had Todd carry my IV bag into the restroom to help me out… (as a nice brother should… you’d hope…).
Anyway, after about an hour, I was using the restroom (again) – looked over at Todd who was supposed to be holding my IV bag helping me and guess what – IV bag was laying on the sink and he was checking his swing in the bathroom mirror…… Yup – brother dying, check swing!! (To be honest, was pretty funny when all was said and done).
Point of story, the swing is checked and habits are formed AWAY from the trigger – which is the ball. Even in times of “crisis” – golfers will and should check their swings…
Now, what do you need to do to fix/build your swing and get away from the “triggered swing” that produces the bad habits.
1. Get a model to copy (yes, no matter what swing you are working on – you need something to model/copy). Obviously we use Moe Norman’s golf swing – we believe the best/most effective/efficient swing in the industry… If you don’t have a good picture/video/etc.. of the model – GET IT!!!! Don’t waste your time without a good working knowledge of what model you are trying to copy. I my opinion – if the instruction you are looking at isn’t telling you what Moe did or in worst case scenario – how to get the club on a single plane – RUN!!! This is EXACTLY why we wrote our instructional videos – to give you a model to copy/emulate, etc…
If you don’t have a video of Moe or one of our videos at least go to the videos we have put on Youtube – at least this is a start: http://www.youtube.com/GravesGolfAcademy
2. Work on drills/positions/new habits – SLOW, SLOW, SLOW – did I mention – SLOW!!! Drills for example (just a few..): Line drill (as seen in Vol #2 of 7 principles – to work on leverage angles). PVC drill (Etips under “Moetion” of the Backswing – www.swinglikemoe.com)
Leverage Bag – (Pretty much in every instructional material we put out..) Positions –
Look in a mirror – check setup, backswing, top of swing (why every student at our schools have their own mirror behind their station).
Make sure the club AND clubface are on plane throughout the backswing and top of swing (check and compare to model).
Check impact (slow motion) (Total Game Overview and Vol #1 and #2 7 Principles..) Check release (slow motion) (same) Chipping Drill – simulates impact and leverage angles through impact – SLOW – did I mention SLOW. There are MANY MANY more…
But point being – form the habit – memorize the positions to becoming a good habit and that will change the trigger. DO NOT think that “pounding” golf balls – one after another after another after another will change the trigger – IT WON’T. Slow, repetitive drills, checking positions and very easy swings will.
If you would like to see additional drills, more explanation of this topic and a fault/fix type of instruction, in particular the PVC DRILL – you might want to consider our MOST POPULAR teaching video – our NEW troubles and Solutions: Troubles Solutions DVD
I (Tim) Guarantee this will be absolutely the most inclusive and best explanation of drills, etc.. to follow to master Moe’s Single Plane Swing – if not – you are MORE THAN WELCOME to call me personally.
We have had 100s purchase this DVD – go to our forum and talk to them – you will see/read what I am talking about.
Remember – Always Practice with a Purpose (Hopefully after this e-tip – may mean a little more to most..)