Brain, Podcast

Keys to Effective Swing Thoughts

From 30 handicap to tour pro we all have swing thoughts while we swing the golf club. On this podcast we talk about the different kinds and their impact on your golf game with three fantastic perspectives from Mark Immelman, Noel Rousseau, and Matt Parziale.

Noel Rousseau outlines a few types of swing thoughts we can have.

An internal focus is when our attention is on the body and how you can control it. An external focus being on the effect of the movement or anything outside of the body.

If you’re focusing on the external factors like the club face, target, ground, etc… then you’re allowing your body and your brain to self organize the movement in order to coordinate the club face.

The research suggests an external focus is less prone to break down under pressure

Then we have part or whole movement.

Simply put, a focus on turn back involves bigger chunks of movement and will be preferable to a focus on the back of the left wrist or even club face at the top of your back swing. Even though the club face would be an external factor.

To this end, one’s swing training should reflect ‘one fluid movement’ where possible and not a multitude of pieces. This is a big part of the ‘tradecraft’ of good coaching and is not as easy as it sounds.

Swing Thoughts Practical Example

The below quote comes from Mark Immelman talking about work with his brother Trevor before the 2008 Masters.

Back in 2008 I was helping my brother Trevor at the Masters. He was hitting the golf ball beautifully, however he was battling his putting.

In fact he had just missed the cut at Houston the week prior and wasn’t making any putts. I’d seen some footage and I thought the stroke was okay.

But the problem with the informed golfer always is that when things are going awry they’ll typically look upon themselves and try and adjust something.

So I went to Augusta and I just gave him the simple image of hitting putts in a yes and no format.

The main goal being to try and start the ball on the intended line. We used a ball marker a couple of feet out in front of the golf ball on the intended line.  If you struck the putt well and it rolled over that marker, it was a yes putt.

If you struck it poorly and you miss the marker it was a no putt.

What we quickly realized when we had done this for about 10, 15 minutes was that some of these no putts went in the hole and some of yes putts didn’t. And so it sort of freed him up.

Roll the ball over that the rest of this is out of my control.

To me it was sort of the ultimate swing thought and that it was somewhat mechanical, and somewhat actionable and there was certainly meaningful, feedback.

Players Perspective

Top amateur player Matt Parziale talks about his perspective on swing thoughts.

I would say it’s half feelings and it’s half what you’re thinking.

It’s what works for you on the course to perform at your best. The second you try to force something, you create tension.

Whatever it is that you do to have no tension and be free,

RESOURCES + ACTION STEPS:

Go out and start testing! Try different types of swing thoughts and be intentional with that very important space as you swing the golf club.

BOOK – Be a Player: A Breakthrough Approach to Playing Better ON the Golf Course

APP – Vision54

TRAINING – Noel Rousseau

This Episode’s Sponsor

In use by over 30 PGA and LPGA Tour Pros, the GravityFit TPro works as both a tool to help build spinal and shoulder strength and stability… and as a fantastic teaching / swing aid, assisting with arm-body connection, body rotation and timing. Learn more here and use the coupon code GSL

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Founder and chief curator of the Golf Science Lab. Documenting what's going on in the world of research and beyond that can help you play your best golf on the golf course (when it counts). Join the movement of researched based coaching over trusting beliefs and what worked for one person a few decades ago. Follow on Twitter