ATTENTION, READERS in the 28 EUROPEAN VAT COUNTRIES: Because of the new VAT law, you probably can't order books direct from my site now. But that's okay -- just go to my Smashwords author page.
You can order PDFs (as well as all the other ebook formats) from there.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

T.J. Tomasi on Muscle Memory

I have a copy of an (I believe) out-of-print book called The 30-Second Golf Swing, by T.J. Tomasi. It was published around 15 years ago, so it's not unusual for a book that old to be out-of-print. (Everybody's always looking for the next magic technique, right?)

To be honest, I can understand why this one went OP. The technique seems overly complicated to me, a complex procedure that you go through before, during and after each shot that will hopefully eliminate thinking about the wrong thing at the wrong time. Don't get me wrong -- the concept makes sense to me. This particular implementation just seems overthought.

However, Tomasi says something in the first chapter that I think most weekend players -- and perhaps a few pros -- need to realize:
Once you learn your swing, it's in your brain for good. Unless there is a brain injury, it's in there and you won't lose it, as in, An hour ago I had my wallet and now it's gone forever 'cause I left it on the airplane.

Studies in motor learning show that once a skill is learned it is never forgotten. Furthermore, after a year without practice, the performance level returns to 80 percent after ten days of retraining. So your swing is in there all right, just like other motor skills such as shoe tying, bike riding, running, and swimming. You cannot forget them because they're captured in neural networks. Rather than thinking in terms of forgetting how to swing, I suggest that there are circumstances that deny you full access to the motor program called your golf swing. Your "A Swing" -- the one that fires on all cylinders when your game is under control -- is temporarily unavailable. (p7)
Obviously his "30-Second Golf Swing" technique is about maintaining full access to that motor program, which is what a pre-shot routine is supposed to do. (Tomasi's routine is more than just pre-shot, of course, or it wouldn't need an entire book!)

But what I want you to remember is that your golf swing is in your brain for good. That's why, after a particularly tough stretch on the course, you can simply put those misbehaving clubs away for a week or a month and the problem miraculously fixes itself. According to Tomasi, even a year away won't wipe the imprint from your muscle memory -- you'll just need some time to get used to the feelings again.

As the weather gets worse and you have fewer chances to get out and play or even practice, this is something you need to remember. A few moments spent swinging a club in the garage or backyard every few days may be all you need to keep your swing "fresh" in your mind until better weather returns. A few moments spent mentally practicing your swing -- that is, just imagining how it feels to swing a club -- may do the same job. And once you can play again, it won't take all that long to get it back in shape.

Because your swing doesn't leave you. Lydia Ko may have spoken more truth than she realized when she said her clubs simply "got tired of her" and needed some time away during the off-season.

Don't beat yourself up this off-season, during the bad weather. Your swing isn't going anywhere.

1 comment:

    I have been getting some messages asking why I am not on the 1st show of School of Golf and I wanted to let everyone know first off that me, my family and my son are great :) It is with a sad heart that Golf Channel did not renew my contract for this year... I wish nothing but the best to Martin Hall he was such a great help to not just you all but to me as well! With 2017 brings a lot of changes but I am looking forward to a great year with new opportunities and I can't THANK YOU ALL ENOUGH for your love and support HAPPY NEW YEAR 🎆🎊🎈
    Sara Brown Golf