Golf swing correction and putting technique correction.Improving your golf swing | Golf pro uses Old Way/New Way | Anger management in golf | A golfer's personal experience | Sports Coaching Protocols users
Golf swing technique improvement? As an old golf pro once said, “The problem is not learning the new; it’s forgetting (unlearning) the old!”
If you have ever tried to fix a persistent problem with your golf game you will know how true that is.
Like when you last tried to change your grip, correct your putting action or make a swing change, you had to concentrate hard; you made more errors; it took so much time due to mental confusion; and the experience was frustrating and unpleasant.
Thankfully, all those skills coaching sessions appear to be paying off. You practice and practice and your technique on the range shows obvious improvement.
However, as soon as you are out on the golf course and under the stress of competition, your game falls apart and you revert to those old, wrong, ways.
You wanted to change but your brain would not let you change. In the case of your ingrained golf technique problem, you were the prisoner of habit. By a process of psychological interference, your old learning has disabled your new learning.
Cognitive science tells us that whatever we have practiced and learned is protected from change. When the new golf swing you are trying to learn is different from the old swing, your brain instantly detects this conflict and generates habit pattern interference to protect and preserve the old swing.
That's why old habits die hard!
Eventually, you will succeed and make the change over to the new swing but biomechanical experts say that it can take up to 2,000 practices before the new swing consistently replaces the old one. This is called the “adaptation period” and we have all gone through that misery.
Professional golfers are not immune either. In what is known as the dreaded “performance slump”, excellent technique carefully refined through years of hard work is suddenly and inexplicably lost.
Currently available coaching methods do not adequately address the issue of habit pattern errors very well. This is because conventional golf coaching tends to emphasize exclusive practice of the correct knowledge and skill, i.e., via hours of repetition or drills.
Admittedly, practice and drills are an essential element when learning new skills, i.e., when there is no old incorrect way that might interfere with learning. However, practice is much less effective when trying to change an established technique fault because habit pattern interference gets in the way of improvement.
Clearly, we need a better way.
A different approach to learning and improving your golf game, developed in Australia and adopted by a growing number of coaches and sporting professionals at institutes of sport here and overseas, is Old Way/New Way® Learning.
Old Way/New Way® Learning is a special way of practicing that greatly reduces the mental interference from old habits and therefore accelerates your learning.
Instead of spending weeks or months of frustrating practice, with Old Way/New Way® Learning your swing technique can show 80% or better improvement after just one or two concentrated sessions.
This improvement persists and is more or less permanent, depending on how often you practice. Importantly, the new swing will transfer more readily to competition.
Best of all, the entire process is easy to learn, blame- and stress-free and very user friendly.
Become the golfer you always wanted to be!
Quickly improve your golf swing technique and other parts of your game with Old Way/New Way® Learning,
The following two case studies show how Old Way/New Way can improve your golf game.
Golf coaching: Golf pro uses Old Way/New Way® to overcome an established technique problem
Roger Stephens, the golf pro at South Lakes Golf Club, Goolwa, South Australia, used Old Way/New Way® to quickly eradicate a flaw in his downswing that had resisted correction for 15 years.
Golf professional Roger Stephens (real name) had always been taught from an early age that the power in your downswing comes from the knees and legs.
So, to give your swing more power you had to drive your right knee towards the ball. However, this movement started a sequence of events that led to the development of a flaw in his downswing.
In his own words, "First, my head would move away from the ball to counter balance my body. This would force forward the swing path of the club head so that it travelled left of target. Furthermore, as my right knee moved towards the ball the downswing path was blocked by my right knee. As a result I would lose 'space' and 'width.' "
"Since the downswing takes only 0.25 second I couldn't 'feel' anything to help me make the required changes to what I was doing wrong."
Roger said he had been trying to correct this technique difficulty for some 15 or more years, without success.
In 1997 Roger heard about a new method for overcoming technique difficulties when he met Harry Lyndon, the developer of Old Way/New Way®, a new method for accelerating skill correction. Harry's interest in golf and Roger's wealth of professional experience combined to help Roger decide to try Old Way/New Way® on the long-standing problem with his downswing.
Old Way/New Way® quickly helped Roger make two important changes in his downswing. The first change was that Roger came to "feel" what his right knee was doing during the downswing. This was something he was unable to be aware of before, despite many attempts at correction.
The second important change Roger experienced was that he was able, through the Old Way/New Way® procedure, to make his body quickly change from the "old" habitual swing to a "new" swing in which the knee did not get in the way of the ball and his head did not shift position.
"I was able to feel the old swing flaw as never before and then make the change to my preferred new way with a new right knee action and was able to 'feel' my new way as never before, making the change quickly", Roger explained.
Remarkably, these improvements took only 20 minutes to accomplish.
Furthermore, there was no period of adjustment required with the new swing, as you would expect with more conventional skill correction methods and even more importantly the new improved downswing remained a permanent part of Roger's game.
Golf coaching: Young aspiring golfer learns how to manage anger with Old Way/New Way®
Eddie, aged 15 with a handicap of 5 after two years playing golf, is a rising star but things look bleak because he finds he cannot control his angry outbursts when he plays a bad shot, so he loses both his concentration and the game.
Sports psychologists teach athletes and players useful mental skills and how these can be used to improve sports performance.
As useful as these skills are, it usually takes quite a bit of prolonged, effortful practice to acquire mental skills, especially if you are not used to playing that way. In other words, before you can learn new mental skills you have to change your own, established, habitual ways of playing the "mental" part of the game.
Since old habits die hard we now know that simply "practicing over and over" a mental (or physical) skill will not help you learn it quickly. In fact, it can take you up to 2,000 repetitions (practices) of the new way before it becomes an established part of your game.
Instead of just practice, we need to use Old Way/New Way® to quickly change our old ways into new and better ways.
An example will illustrate how Old Way/New Way® can be used to help a player overcome a problem with "anger". The problem I describe and the solution we used applies equally to all sports.
Eddie is a young golfer with excellent potential. After playing only two years he has a handicap of five. At the age of 15 he has been singled out for special advanced coaching and is expected to, "make it big", one day not too far away.
However, this rising star has a serious problem. Whenever he makes a bad mistake in competitive play he "loses it" in a grand way. His language is formidable and while he does not actually throw clubs he pretty well does everything else.
His anger, of course, is directed at himself. His frustration at not being able to perform as he feels he should gets the better of him and explodes into uncontrollable outbursts.
The down side of all this is that Eddie's concentration is affected by his angry outbursts. After such an explosion the rest of his game is in tatters and he is unable to recover.
Eddie has come to believe that he cannot change himself and that the situation is completely beyond his control. His coach and his father who is also his best supporter have tried everything and told him not to be so hard on himself, all without success.
His coach and his father say that he will eventually "grow out of it" but it has got to the stage it is seriously affecting his game and is retarding his progress. Clearly, Eddie knows what he is doing wrong (getting angry); he knows what he should be doing instead (not getting angry and concentrating on his game); but he cannot make the change.
Having failed to control his anger early on and thereby allowing it to happen over and over, he inadvertently "practiced" getting upset and angry. Whatever you practice you will learn, so it soon became a habit pattern.
Eddie is now the prisoner of habit. It will take him quite some
time, frustration and expense before he gets over this problem.
Eddie's father called me in to help with this problem and we spent two hours finding out why Eddie gets so angry and then helping him quickly learn some mental skills that would give him more control.
Psychology helps explain how your beliefs about your abilities lead to certain expectations about your performance and, when these are frustrated, how your emotions are aroused to an extent where your concentration suffers and your game falls apart.
Eddie's predicament is a good example of how the "mental side of the game", namely personal beliefs, expectations and emotions all interact to influence physical performance in sport.
During the session it became clear that Eddie believes in his golfing ability. Deep down, he knows he is good; he believes that one day he will be a great golfer. These are all quite realistic beliefs, based on his phenomenal progress to date and the constant reminders from his coach and his father that he will surely make it to the top. They believe in him and it shows, and this reinforces his own beliefs.
These beliefs lead Eddie to have certain expectations about his level of performance. For example, he expects that he should not make serious mistakes. To Eddie, making mistakes means "failure". Mistakes threaten his fast track to success. Mistakes are totally inconsistent with his abilities and general performance. Mistakes are "bad".
Whenever Eddie plays a bad stroke in an important match he sets off this string of negative self talk that triggers his emotions and produces his uncontrolled angry outbursts. His anger then gets the better of him, makes him lose concentration and then his game falls apart.
The fact that his self expectations are totally unrealistic is the crux of Eddie's problem.
Despite the best advice and assistance, he is unable to shake these ingrained misconceptions.
Having identified the problem, we spent the second hour changing
Eddie's deep-seated ideas about his "mistakes".
Eddie's (incorrect) "own ways" were identified as:
- "I should not be making a mistake"
- "Mistakes are bad"
- "If I make a mistake I'll lose this game"
- I can't recover from a mistake."
These beliefs and expectations were then called "old ways" of thinking about mistakes.
We then offered Eddie some "new ways" of thinking about mistakes and how to handle them:
- "mistakes happen; it's no big deal";
- "you are supposed to make mistakes - it's part of the learning process and you're still learning";
- "you can recover from a mistake - you know what to do";
- "concentrate on the next thing to do, not on what you just did."
We then developed Eddie's awareness of how he usually responds to a mistake (his old way) by repeatedly having him deliberately mishit from the tee and helping him focus on how this feels.
Using Old Way/New Way®, we then exchanged Eddie's old ways for new ways. His negative self talk was changed to positive self talk and his unrealistic beliefs and expectations changed to a much more realistic self assessment.
We also taught Eddie some simple, useful techniques for releasing himself from a state of high emotional arousal (anger). He could use this technique whenever he found himself getting too upset about a mistake.
Finally, we taught Eddie how to self-correct on those odd (up to 20% of occasions) when he finds himself doing an "old Way", i.e., getting angry.
Two weeks and several competitions later Eddie's father reported that his son was doing quite well. There had definitely been an improvement. He had achieved the 80% change we predicted, after one session.
It took just one extra session lasting an hour and the problem was completely fixed.
The important things to note from this example are:
- we did not change Eddie - he changed himself. He was empowered by Old Way/New Way® to change himself.
- this change occurred very quickly - much faster than by conventional coaching methods which do little more than tell the person to "practice, practice, practice" the new way
- after just one short session, Eddie had improved by 80%. After two sessions he had improved 100%
- the change process involved a team effort - to diagnose the problem, to come up with acceptable solutions and to enable the changes to occur
- the change methodology did not require incentives (rewards or punishments) and was uncomplicated and easy to administer
- Eddie has now acquired a learning method he can use any time from now on to improve his technique as well as his mental skills
- finally, Eddie is a much happier player now. He is more confident, much less easily thrown off his game and very much in control.
- Eddie is back on track and his handicap has gone down to 3. His future looks rosy.
Golf swing improvement: A golfer's personal experience
I have worked with a pro and even have a video of myself, good and bad. I am actually coming over the top not topping the ball. The main cause is that I do not make a full turn, i.e., get my weight on my back foot, resulting in a reverse pivot. A couple of keys that are precursors to the failure to get the weight back are that I am jumpy rather than still at address, and that I pick the club up rather than drag it back.
I have been given drills such as turning in a doorway, turning without a club etc. and used them but I cannot seem to overwrite the reverse pivot completely. Many of my shots are great form however my bad ones, and they come up randomly though usually on the tee box, are caused by this problem.
What I am doing wrong is a reverse pivot caused by not getting weight on back foot, right thing to do is get the weight back through a full turn, difference is not enough weight on back resulting in a lunge in the downswing leading to inconsistent contact with the ball.
I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am at the results of the golf swing correction using O/N. I followed the protocol exactly as you described, going through 15 minutes of my old motion and then 15 minutes of the new motion at home last night without using a ball or club. This morning I went to the range and did the following ....
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Thank you for your kind words and feedback. I am very pleased with how this course is going. I agree completely with your concept of incremental change in sport skills. You need to understand the whole but can only build a good swing or technique by refining the component parts. In this case we were able to identify my inability to get the weight to my back foot as the number one problem in my swing. Now that I have that knocked out I can move on to refining some other areas, ball flight, distance control, etc.
Users: Golf swing improvement protocol
- Australian Golf Teachers Federation (Australia)
- Professional Golfers Association (USA)
- Professional Golfers Association of Australia
- Golf Queensland (Australia)
- Queensland Academy of Sport (Australia)
- Range Riders (Canada)
- JK Golf Gmbh (Germany)
- Transformational Golf (Australia)
- The Farm Golf (USA)
- Golf Your Way (Australia)
- Midland Golf (Australia)
- Regency Park Golf Course (Australia)
- Research Institute for Olympic Sports (Finland)
- Asian Canadian Golf Academy (Canada)
- Australian Institute of Sport (Australia)
- Box Hill Golf Club (Australia)
- David Milne Golf Academy (Australia)
- Golf Your Way (Australia)
- New Zealand Academy of Sport, North (New Zealand)
- Swedish Golf Team (Sweden)
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