people emailed me asking me to describe to them more about The Golfer’s Toolbox. A lot of people said “Isn’t this just a quick fix?”.
at another example.
people – instructors included – would argue that the shank cure described was
just a ‘quick fix’ as it doesn’t address the root of the problem. Well, here is how I look at it;
is describing is being able to control where you put the club at impact. This
is a skill/co-ordination based drill, rather than a technical fix, but it will
have an effect on the technique. In order to change the position of the club at
impact, something has to change preceding it. This could be something as simple
as getting the hands a little closer to your body though impact – perhaps
nothing noticeable on video (1 cm is very difficult to see), but enough to take
your horrible shank to a pretty decent/flush shot down the fairway.
much deeper than this. This ability to change where you hit on the face at will
is something which can transfer to any technique you use, or situation you find
yourself on the golf course. Once you possess this ability, you will never
suffer with the shanks again, because you will have an understanding of the
feels you need to produce to stop the shanks (and toe shots) from happening. Not
only that, it allows you to calibrate toe and heel shots until you find the
sweetspot – something a top pro does automatically yet subconsciously. For this
reason, this so called ‘quick fix’ is actually the longer term solution, in my
that, this is another example of an external focus. Studies currently indicate
that external focuses are better for learning skills and retaining them, as
well as performance benefits.
The vast majority of people would attack a shank
shot by changing a lot of their swing mechanics directly through an internal
focus (thinking about the body movement for example). I liken this to a darts teacher changing the technique of a blindfolded player so they hit the correct place on the dartboard. Whilst this can work,
eventually the player is developing no self awareness and will struggle to self-correct. Likewise, the golfer’s shank shot will come back eventually, and the player is left again to look
deep for problems ‘causing’ the shank in their technique – or in need of
another lesson. If they had just learned Mark’s drill, this would never have
been a problem. Developing the awareness is the equivalent of taking the blindfold off.
reminds me of a quote;
changing something in your technique, you may be able to temporarily stop shanking. But even the best techniques can shank the ball, so no matter how
good your technique gets, you will always be at risk from shanking. A perfect
looking backswing, with great sequencing, great planes and great angles can
still hit a hosel rocket, if the clubhead doesn’t arrive in the right place at
the right time. By training yourself to control the clubhead through skill and
co-ordination means, you will be perfectly placed to be in control of your own
swing changes – you will be able to feed for a lifetime.
we tend to overcomplicate things as human beings. But I like to refer to Occam’s
Razor regarding this;
the simplest explanation is the better one”
a very simple fix to just try and hit the ball more out of the toe, but the
more I read into movement theory, brain function, motor learning and
evolutionary biology (amongst other things), the more I see the connection
between this simple fix and the bigger picture.
quote springs to mind;
today seems to adore the complex. It seems like the more information we can add
to the picture, the more we will understand something. Whilst it can be true to
a certain extent, I think that eventually we have to put that information back
in its simplest form to relay it to the pupil, and the pupil has to put it into
the simplest form for their own swing. Just because this ‘shank fix’ looks
overly simplistic on the outside doesn’t mean it hasn’t got a whole world of
knowledge beneath it.
Take Home Message
message to pupils is this – Don’t over-think things; sometimes the simplest
answer is the right one for you. My message to fellow coaches is this – Don’t
over think things; sometimes the simplest answer is the right one.
of the human body to self organise is a beautiful thing, if you let it happen.
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