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Heightened Focus and My Interview with Karl Morris

Aug 15, 2018

I was recently invited on the 'Brain Booster' podcast with Karl Morris. We discussed my research, swing changes and key performance factors in general. If you are interested in the interview then just click on the link at the bottom of the page.

The Red Dot

Karl Morris has been one of Europe's top Sports Psychologists for many years and has worked with numerous major champions including Darren Clark and Graeme McDowell. He is probably most famous for the 'Red Dot' intervention that he and Louis Oosthuizen used when he won the British Open.

 

How to Create Your Own Red Dot 'Anchor'

This was a Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) technique known as 'anchoring' that is based on the work by Ivan Pavlov on 'classic conditioning'. It works by associating peak performance states (the mood and level of focus present at moments of peak performance) with the red dot.

This is how it is done: :for this to work you really need to get associated into the moment of peak...

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You vs The Robot: A Dynamical Systems View on the Golf Swing

May 10, 2018
 

One of the highlights of the World Scientific Congress of Golf (St Andrews 2016) was Gene Parente. Gene has a golf testing business (Golf Laboratories) that started in 1990 with a machine that was powered by a garage door spring. This has since evolved into the 'Go-to Robot' that is used by all the US-based major manufacturers for equipment testing. The Robot (Eldrik) is powered by Lithium ion batteries and is capable of re-creating any kind of golf shot and launch conditions.

Eldrik was put to test on the "Bear Pit' 168 yrd par 3 at the Waste Managment TPC where it was tasked with getting a hole in one in front of 20,000, mostly alcohol infused fans. If the Robot didn't feel any pressure, you can be sure the Gene did, especially when the first ball was a miss and it takes 45 minutes to fully adjust the robot. Incredibly,  the short-cut solution was to adjust the position of the ball so that the club made contact on a different location on the face. This quick...

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Leg Action in Downswing

May 01, 2018
 

The motion of the legs is often described in very broad terms with terms like 'slide' or 'turn'. Given the affect the lower half pivot has on the motion of the club, it is worth understanding what an optimal movement looks like.

David Griffiths has very long legs and could end up looking extremely clumsy but in fact; he exemplifies a powerful pivot. 

Linear vs Rotation

In the subscription part of the site, I cover the topic in more detail and discuss the merits of rotation vs sliding laterally. In basic terms, a slide of the pelvis in transition will encourage a steep shaft angle and 'pivot stall/club flip' action through impact. Conversely, pelvis rotation will more naturally lead to the arms moving outward and the shaft shallowing through the downswing, thus enabling the continued pivot through the ball and all the benefits that brings.

 


Double External

In transition, David squats down rotates both hips externally while the pressure...

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Launch Your Driver

Apr 20, 2018
 

Like most of my coaching, training the optimal movement with a driver revolves around having a clear concept of the end point; in this case, the sweeping motion of the club through strike. You have probably heard this before but let's be clear on our main objective:

"To maximise distance and accuracy the driver needs to hit the ball in middle (or slightly above centre) of the club face and with the club head moving from the inside and as much as 6 degrees upward through contact."

 

How to Create These Launch Conditions

In the modern coaching environment of launch moniters players are often tasked with hitting more up on a driver but there are various protocol that would lead to this.

CAVEAT- If you scoop/flip your wrists though impact you will hit up but create added undesirable spin and lose distance. Here are some better moves to consider.

Width of Arc

If your downswing is narrow then it is very unlikely that you will be able to shallow out the bottom of...

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Incredible Movement Synergy

Apr 20, 2018
 

This is one of dozens of 'Phantom' slow motion swing videos that are on the subscription site.

 

It's no wonder that the world of movement science is so heavily represented by research undertaken in golf. Hugely POWERFUL, yet GRACEFUL to the point of exhibiting fine CONTROL and massive SPEED. This does not occur overnight. Well done David Griffiths (swing model above). 

 

For the Coach

The swing is a hugely complex arrangement of movement synergies built around well documented constraints such as the TASK, EQUIPMENT, PHYSICAL CAPABILITIES/RESTRICTIONS. This all interplays with the player's swing 'schema'; learned habits, swing beliefs, intentions (Basically, what the player is trying to do with their swing right now but also through prior learning). In this case the golfer is 'self organising' around the launch requirements (impact alignment) of hitting a driver with the required sweeping motion.

In my experience, the most influential 'constraints' in a...

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High Floating Bunker Shot - Masterclss

Apr 20, 2018
 

Everything David does here is built around the need to 'whack' the sand with the back of the club. In doing so, the club slides under the ball without ever digging in, slowing down and losing loft. Here are some technique keys:

Set Up

  • Open the face as much as 45 degrees and re-grip it. This may look like the ball will go a long way right but when we lower the handle the loft brings the face back to aiming straight, just with more loft and an exposed bounce (sole of the club).
  • Stand further back than a chip, lower the handle and squat down into our legs.
  • Have 80% of your weight on the front knee.

Swing

  • The club is swung upward to the 'L' shape, while keeping the face open.
  • Swing down and whack the back of the club into the sand (2-3" behind the ball) and slide the face under the ball.
  • Stay low in knees and keep your body very still throughout the action. This needs to feel like a 'hands and arms swing' where the club head is swung past our head.
  • Keep the face open...
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Automaticity in Golf: The Reality of Swing Thoughts

Apr 02, 2018
 

You would think that an 8 year study on the benefits of relinquishing swing thoughts would lead me to become a sports psychologist, complete hippy or otherwise esoteric character. To give you a clue as to the personal impact of the study, I am a technical coach that utilizes 3D motion analysis technology. I value greatly self-awareness of one’s movement and view technical awareness as the route to positive automaticity.

It is easy to be seduced by the notion that optimal performance occurs in the absence of conscious control. Golfers are all too familiar with what it is like to think too much about the swing, be that through their own hypothesis testing or explicit coaching. I don’t know who best to credit with the phrase, “paralysis through analysis”, but I would like to bet it was a golfer.

It follows logically to contrast this crippling experience of extreme conscious control with our retrospective reflections of moments of peak performance, which...

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Effortless Flow in Your Golf Swing

Jan 05, 2017
 

The fluid motion of the club and body during the swing encapsulates the brain and body working together in harmony.

When it feels this good, the brain is telling you something.

There are a number of key scientific papers that back up our intuition on this topic; Focus on temporal (timing related) and rhythm aspects of our movement promote peak performance.  The nature of this focus is low in cognitive load while being rich in movement cues.

 

Negative Influences on Flow

  • Over trying
  • Guiding and steering
  • Over thinking the swing 
  • Choosing minute swing aspects to focus your attention on
  • Physical tension
  • An attachment to the result
  • Self-consciousness

 



Movement Psychology

You may have noticed that the list of negative influencers above looks like a list of likely behaviour under pressure. In which case, if we make a primary goal to generate a healthy sense of flow in our movement through the round then we are likely to...

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Chip and Run in Slow Motion

Jan 02, 2017
 

This is one of dozens of Phantom slow motion videos that you'll see inside the members area: Pro model, David Griffiths, playing a chip and run with a PW.

Areas To Note

  • David is absolutely still apart from the motion of his arms. Very firm wrists.
  • David's sternum is not forward of the ball as with other chip shots. Therefore, he is super shallow through the strike and barely bruises the grass.
  • Note the shaft learn at address and how he keeps it constant through the hit. This doesn't want to be excessive though or the front edge will dig into the ground.
  • In this much detail you can see the torque on the shaft in transition. Vital for good chipping!
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