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6 Steps to Making a Swing Change

A learned motor pattern refers to the sequence of movements that the muscles and nervous system have memorised through repetition. It's a skill that, once acquired, can be performed without conscious thought, allowing for efficiency and consistency in physical activity. This process involves the integration of sensory input, coordination, timing, and execution of muscle function to perform a specific task smoothly and automatically.

The Challenge of Changing a Golf Swing Motor Pattern

The golf swing is one of the most intricate motor skills in sports, involving a complex coordination of muscles, timing, and balance. Altering a golf swing's motor pattern is a challenge because it requires the brain and body to unlearn ingrained habits and adopt new ones, a process that demands patience, persistence, and a methodical approach.

6 Steps to Making a Swing Change

1) Slow Half Swings Without a Ball (Exaggerated Movement)

Start with slow, deliberate half swings, focusing on the new movement pattern without the ball. Exaggeration helps in reprogramming your muscles and nervous system, making them aware of the new swing technique.

2) Slow Half Swings with a Ball

Introduce a ball into the practice, maintaining the slow, exaggerated movement. This step bridges the gap between dry swings and actual play, helping your body adapt to the new pattern in a controlled environment.

3) Slow Full Swings Without a Ball

Progress to full swings without the ball, still at a slow pace. This helps in further solidifying the new motor pattern through the entire range of the swing, ensuring consistency in the movement from start to finish.

4) Slow Full Swings with a Ball

Incorporate the ball into your slow, full swings. This stage allows you to experience the feel of the new swing in its entirety, making contact with the ball but still in a controlled, thoughtful manner.

5) Faster Full Swings Without a Ball

Increase the speed of your full swings without the ball. This phase is crucial for ensuring that the new motor pattern can be executed at a pace closer to that of a regular swing while maintaining the integrity of the new technique.

6) Faster Full Swings with a Ball

Finally, execute faster full swings with the ball. This is the stage where you start to bring your new swing into a context that mimics actual play, focusing on maintaining the new motor pattern even at increased speeds.

Exaggeration and Awareness

Throughout these steps, performing exaggerated movement drills in slow motion is vital to reinforce the new motor pattern. It's essential to be fully aware of each movement change, allowing the body to internalise the new swing mechanics.

Focus on Process, Not Outcome

Initially, the ball flight should not be a priority. Judging yourself based on the adherence to the new swing technique is more important than the ball's flight path or distance. Practising in a net can help minimise the distraction of the ball's outcome, allowing you to concentrate on the process.

Utilising Feedback Tools

Incorporating feedback tools is pivotal in this process. Technology solutions like video analysis tools or apps like Mirror Vision provide immediate visual feedback, enabling you to adjust and perfect the new swing mechanics in real time. Additionally, using actual mirrors or getting feedback from a coach can offer invaluable external perspectives on your swing changes. These tools are essential for reinforcing the new motor pattern effectively.

The Importance of Block Practice

Block practice, where you repeat the new movement in a controlled environment, is fundamental to embedding the new swing into your muscle memory. This methodical repetition ensures the motor pattern is learned thoroughly and can be recalled automatically under various playing conditions.

Common Pitfalls

Many golfers struggle with this process due to impatience and a misplaced focus on outcomes rather than the technique. External noise, irrelevant information, and judging yourself on things you're not working on can detract from the process of ingraining the new motor pattern. Recognising the hard work and dedication required to effect a genuine change in your swing is crucial.

G60’s Building Phase: Emphasising Change

In G60's building phase, we alleviate the pressure of outcomes, steering the focus towards the meticulous process of change. By doing so, we prepare you for the subsequent performance phase, where the refined motor pattern can be effortlessly executed on the golf course, leading to improved performance and more enjoyable, less frustrating golf.

To make steps towards changing your motor pattern for good, and training in the right way amongst like-minded golfers, click the link below to apply for G60 membership.

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