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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Hand Position Drill, Part 2

Yesterday's post looked at forearm and hand positions in the bottom half of the swing on both sides of the ball. But there is so much more to your swing than just the bottom parts. If you want to know where your hands are (and thus where the clubface is) throughout the swing, you've got to know about the top parts as well. That's what we're going to look at today.

First, let me link you to this post about K.J. Choi's swing. That post focused on how well K.J. keeps his hands in front of him throughout the swing and it included a short video by K.J.'s swing coach Steven Bann. The post is worth re-reading, but here's the video (just to save some time) because some of you may not have heard this aspect of the swing taught before:

Let's use what Steven Bann has just said to help us work on the top part of our swing drill. First let's get in position. I'm describing this for right-handers and I've put the left-handed version in brackets:
  1. Take your normal setup position. Use a neutral grip (both thumbs on top of the club's grip) as we did in yesterday's post.
  2. Cock the club straight up with your wrists so it forms a 90° angle between the shaft and your forearms. Again, we did this in yesterday's post.
  3. Lift the club toward your shoulder.
  4. I want you to do this is a very specific way. Keep your left [right] arm straight and raise your arms by bending your right [left] elbow. This will move your hands from the center of your body to a position just above shoulder height and in front of your right [left] shoulder. This will look like it's not a full arm swing, but if you did it at normal speed this position would get your arms nearly vertical. This is about how the top of swing position would feel during a normal swing.
  5. Turn your shoulders 90° to mimic your position at the top of your backswing. The club shaft should extend over your shoulder at about a 45° angle.
  6. You should be able to hold this position pretty easily, even with both feet flat on the ground. If you aren't flexible enough (and there's no shame if you aren't), relax your arms a bit (let them drop) just enough that you can. The hand position is the most important thing here.
Now we're in our starting position. Ready to start the drill? This is going to sound insanely simple after all that description on how to set up, but I bet some of you are going to have trouble with it.
All I want you to do is lower your hands from shoulder-high to waist-high using just your right [left] elbow. Your hands will travel in a diagonal line from in front of your shoulder down in front of your belly button, which will cause your bent arm to straighten out. Then use your elbow to return them to their starting point in front of your shoulder. Don't tilt the shaft to either side as you raise and lower your hands. Do it slowly several times... and make sure you don't turn your shoulders at all.
It's harder than it sounds, isn't it? Let's look at this in a bit more detail.

Since you're still in your golf posture at the top, the club shaft should be pointed over your shoulder as I explained in this post using Lucas Glover as an example. (And that post also explains why I want you to keep your shoulders still during this drill.) When you lower your hands, you return them to about the same position they were during yesterday's drill with the one-piece takeaway.

You've probably been looking at your hands up to this point. That's ok, but I also want you to turn your head back to your normal position (you'd be looking at the ball during a real swing, after all) and see how it feels if you haven't tried it already.

I want you to be able to feel that your hands are pointing the shaft straight up all throughout this move, even when you aren't looking at them. Then I want you to reset and mirror this drill on the other side, at the top of your finish position.

I know you're all beginning to think this is silly. "My hands won't really be in this position during the swing," you say. "The club moves on a plane, not straight up and down. This drill has absolutely nothing to do with the actual positions I move into during an actual swing." But you're wrong...

Although the club won't be in these actual positions during a swing, this is how your hand positions will feel when the club moves through its actual positions. When you consciously try to put the club on plane, you actually twist it off the correct plane. If your relaxed hands and forearms move through the positions we've used in the drill so far, the physics affecting the swinging club combine with the bending of your joints as your body turns, and the combination creates the proper swing plane automatically.

But the swing will feel this way, and feel is what this drill is intended to develop.

Work with this today because -- you guessed it -- tomorrow we'll put both parts together to make a drill for the complete swing. But we're going to do it in a special way... after all, I promised Dex this drill would do more than just stop his over-rotating forearms...

1 comment:

  1. Alright, all you chiropractors out there. Listen up:

    If you want to put a comment on this post -- or any other, for that matter -- to get a link to your practice, you have to say something worthwhile. Just saying that back pain is bad for your golf swing is going to get your link deleted.

    To make it short and sweet...

    If you add useful information, I'll leave your comment and your link. Otherwise, don't bother.