Your swing – and Tiger’s – should resemble a modern car

Where Tiger – and YOU – go wrong

Concepts about the golf swing have truly never evolved since the time shepherd boys insouciantly swung their crocks and knocked pebbles into holes. Not in any meaningful, scientific manner. So, although Tiger’s coaches have all been smart folks, none of them has ever dared think ‘outside-the-box’ enough to understand they were teaching a flat-earth philosophy! How so? Let’s compare the golf swing to a nice, solid modern car.

The least any driver of a modern car expects is a smooth ride. So too should your body during your golf swing. At least the car has powerful shock absorbers to dissipate the impulse of a jarring dip. How can your poor ligaments, cartilage, muscles and not to forget spinal discs continue to do this throughout a long golf career?

The lead shoulder is the hub around which your wheel should be moving at impact, with its radius being your lead arm and clubshaft. Imagine you’re driving your car and the axle itself moved side-to-side or up and down. What a horrific ride!

At the same time, the engine that drives your car comprises just a single block housing some moving parts – the entire car does not have to move to power the rotation of a wheel!

Look at Tiger’s hub and his engine, then look at how the Minimalist Golf Swing’s hub stays stable and only the engine creates the motion, not every part of the vehicle moving the golf club!

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Tiger’s hub moves, how can the wheel (ie. clubhead) connect the road (grass) the same way everytime?

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Tiger’s car moves along with the engine – everything that can move does!

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Minimalist Golf Swing – the hub never moves out of place, the engine is contained within a powerful ‘block’ – the pelvis.

TIGER WOODS June ’15 – an ANATOMICAL & BIOMECHANICAL Analysis

TIGER WOODS June ’15 – an ANATOMICAL & BIOMECHANICAL Analysis SIMPLIFIED

[By a golf instructor with BS (physics, math); MS (sports science ie anatomy, orthopedic assessment, biomechanics, exercise physiology, exercise testing & prescription, sports nutrition etc.);                             PhD (biomechanics – student).]

Musculoskeletal Anatomy = the study  of the structure and capabilities of individual bones, muscles, joints (mostly at joint/segment level)

Biomechanics = the study of the structure and function (mostly at entire-limb or whole-body level) of living organisms



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Anatomy

Address: Trail shoulder and knee forward of lead side = CANNOT make a PURE rotation of hips/trunk. Also, ANY forward bend of the spine AT ALL prevents pure rotation – an upright posture is more efficient and safer.

[PURE ROTATION is the only body movement which can give BOTH distance and direction through a summation-of-speeds principal. See: http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1376&context=hsm_pubs]

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Backswing club parallel to ground: Trail shoulder already in internal rotation (will need a re-route to help club arrive from the inside). Trail pelvis raised (as seen from drop of lead knee), so the hips now cannot rotate into the downswing.

Backswing lead-arm parallel to ground: More shoulder internal rotation, more trail pelvis rise. Downswing squat position already beginning. Such a position only serves to ram the hip ‘socket’ (acetabulum) more firmly onto the ‘ball’ of the thigh bone (femur head).  Once again pure rotation cannot result, the trail hip has to push the body forward to start lower-body motion.

Backswing Top: With a lot of wrist-bend resulting in a horizontal shaft, the golfer must do work against gravity to get the club and hands back to a position of maximum gravitational potential energy. Such a position is a WASTE of EFFORT!

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Downswing lead-arm parallel to ground: From the top of Tiger’s backswing, a lot of wasted effort results in getting the club to this position, which is finally one where his hands and the club are in a position of Maximum Gravitational Potential Energy and can do useful, TARGETWARD WORK (application of force over a distance). 

With the terrific squat maintained at this stage by Tiger (OUCH say his back, hips and knees) hip/trunk rotation will be difficult and/or highly contrived, not natural.

Downswing club parallel to ground: The hips have spun open to a great extent, while the shoulders have stayed closed. Such a position requires exaggerated forward-flexion along with torquing of upper- and lower-spine in opposite directions (not to mention the neck in a third!) and causes a lot of low back issues.

Downswing pre-impact: Each golfer’s brain makes its own most-convenient compensations to allow a reroute-of the trail shoulder from internal rotation and a rotation of the pelvis from a lateral flexion (side-bend). Here, Tiger arches his spine to create space for the trail elbow to straighten in a manner closer to that elbow’s design.

The trail knee juts out, a sign that if the arms were to straighten right now the club would not be delivered sufficiently ‘from the inside’ (see previous post for more on this topic). When the trail knee and thigh are pushed forward so much, the trail shoulder arrives at the ball ‘internally rotated’, as indicated by very rounded shoulders at impact, and thus a ‘BS’ impact. [According to this blog, unless the club arrives well from the inside, a ‘bludgeon’ or ‘smother’ results, not PURE IMPACT see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UosXcURDg0Y]

club arriving from the inside

Biomechanics

Impact: The combined length of the lead shoulder and arm at impact is a sign of better utilization of ground-reaction-force and makes a longer lever – some term it ‘going normal’. Both are indications of better distance potential. HOWEVER, from the deep squat that Tiger gets into, there is not enough time to straighten out the torso maximally, so at impact he does not have as much height as he possibly can with a straighter starting posture and less squat-jump (the ‘jump-up’ part needs a very strong and young golfer to accomplish along with everything else a downswing must, within a 1/4 of a second!).

Also, the quantity of motion each body part has, eventually gets transferred to the ball. This ‘quantity’ is termed ‘angular momentum’. In a swing in which the trail shoulder or hip move nearer and further from the position of the golfer’s spine at address, the direction in which the ‘quantity of motion’ acts continually changes, much like spinning top gains wobble.

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In Conclusion

INCONSISTENCY and INJURY BOTH result from both excessive, useless motion AND from poor joint positions. It’s all very well to say ‘move the body thus’ or the ‘let the club do such-and-such’ However, the MIDDLE JOINTS such as the hips, knees, elbows and wrists get badly ‘jammed’ in the process. The 21st Century golf instructor needs a very sound understanding of not just the biomechanics of limb/whole-body structure but also of joint/segment level structure and function.

Tiger’s has chipping ‘yips’? Nonsense!

Tiger’s chipping ‘yips’ – Hello Golf World, you need some ‘Anatomy 101’!

The whole golf world is commenting on Tiger’s ‘yips’. A word I’d save only for neuro-musculo-skeletal issues. Such as when there is a physical twitch with the trail hand during the down-stroke.

Tiger has the chipping ‘yips’? Utter rubbish. It’s the fact that human muscles can only do certain things and move in specific directions and no-one in golf has bothered to understand that – all golf ‘fixers’ do is ‘work out’ to strengthen and stretch muscles at alternate joints and expect to wave a magic wand that makes everything problem disappear.

So here’s an explanation that even the least scientifically-educated of those who feel free to comment on the situation can understand.

Think of Tiger’s current issue as being one of someone in a ferris-wheel suddenly deciding he wants a merry-go-round ride. In Tiger’s case his ferris-wheel is a triple-whammy situation.

So what’s ‘ferris-wheel’ about it? His arms swing ‘out’, but the ball needs to be approached from the inside. His left side drops down, but his right side needs to be lower at impact. His right shoulder girdle is very elevated and needs to be down to release into the ground. And the through-swing does not have all day to ‘undo’ these movements.

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So, being such a great athlete, he realizes he’s coming down too steeply at the ball and makes a downswing compensation – rotating his right shoulder around, and thus making the right arm the radius of the swing, and ‘smothering’ the ball (the club does not connect with the inside right quadrant of the ball), giving it too much run. An attempt at jumping into a merry-go-round!

All he needs is less of a ferris-wheel backswing with respect to all the three factors described above. His motion involves trail arm abduction with flexion, trail shoulder-girdle elevation and lead lateral flexion use a bunch of muscles as prime movers (agonists), when some of them should be stabilizers and others should actually not be involved at all. It is vital, also, to position both lead and trail shoulder-girdles appropriately at the outset of the swing itself, so the club follows a similar path back and through in order for the awkward latissimus dorsi’s origin and insertion to not get separated in the wrong direction. For all those to whom this (intentionally obfuscating and confounding) paragraph was double dutch, how about some Anatomy 101? Just so you understand the situation based on what the body is and is not capable of doing before passing judgment?

What made a Mouse out of a Tiger?

The System that made a Mouse out of a Tiger

Where to begin? Full-swing or short game? Everything was so un-Tiger-like at the 2015 Phoenix Waste Management event. Under pressure, his full-swing simply went back to default mode based on what he’d been doing for the past few years.

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Imagine a mouse which has been in a rat trap for a long time. If the cage door is open, it does not simply run out of its cage. It looks around, sniffs around, and then might either bolt from the cage or run right back inside straight into its comfort zone. The mouse has no way of knowing what is in its best interests – freedom and perhaps a new set of survival problems, or the cage and lifelong captivity.

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The problem lies not with any of Tiger’s coaches or himself, he is still one of the greatest golfers ever. The problem lies with the entire ‘traditional’ golf swing system. ‘Traditional’ here meaning any backswing which involves a simultaneous horizontal rotation of the body and vertical movement of the arms; requires the lead side to drop down in the hip, knee and ankle and requires a lot of forward bend of the body to achieve the latter. These aspects are true of all swings being made today whether they are ‘traditional traditional’ or ‘stack and tilt traditional’.

Basically there is too much movement involved, in too many directions, which must happen all together. Whatever combination of moves the golfer tries to make results in a slightly different set of start-of-downswing compensatory moves, and herein lies the problem.

The golfer’s brain must decide which to accomplish first in the limited time span of the downswing – slide sideways to bring body weight into position; or drop the trail side down; or rotate? Then the brain must decide where the arms and wrists must be in relation to all that body motion. Under pressure, when muscles contract faster and more forcefully because of an increase in hormone levels, everything changes.

The ‘traditional’ golf swing requires the golfer’s brain to make too many choices. What is required is a movement of very limited choices, with most of them being accomplished before the backswing even begins, and one move leading to the next in a domino-effect so the brain has very little to control.

Simply put, why do more than needed? Why lift the trail side up only to drop it down? Why drop the lead side just to lift it up? And so many more ‘whys’.

Let’s take a look at what is actually needed for downswing success. The body (legs, hips, torso, shoulder girdle) produces the power and club speed, and the arms (shoulders, forearms and hands) control club path and face and thus direction. The only link in their roles, then, is the shoulder girdle. Where the shoulder-girdles face, there go the arms.

It is thus obvious that it is mainly the body’s position at any given time which can control both itself and the direction of motion of the arms. Why not position the body in advance  of the start of the backswing so that all that’s left is for the arms to move where they now have no choice but to move, and from where they cannot interfere in the role of the body?

All body parts should be set for their downswing role – of harnessing the by-now-famous ground-reaction-forces! Then all the arms have to do is move within a limited ‘channel’ which assures they will arrive at the ball from the inside and at the correct angle.

The ‘traditional’ golf swing must go  – and soon – before golf loses even more popularity than it already has, and before more and more leading athletes succumb to injury because of too many conflicting moves during the downswing.

The mouse will never run out of it’s cage when faced with the prospect of an unknown future, and thus the Tiger might never roar again.

Tiger Woods and his Swing Coaches

Tiger Woods and his Swing Coaches

 

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As any undergraduate course on the subject will explain, the purpose of studying sports biomechanics is three-fold:

  1. To understand the mechanism of injury of sports movements, and then rectify the cause (by either reducing any loads which are beyond the ability of various body-tissue to tolerate, or by improving the endurance of said tissue)
  1. To maximize efficiency by having greater economy of motion
  1. To maximize performance by more efficient positioning of body parts

How should a good biomechanical approach be applied to Tiger Woods’ swing, which currently needs to have greater efficiency AND less potential for causing injury?

A general description of what the above three aspects mean with respect to golf is followed by Tiger’s particular problems, below:

INJURY:

Firstly, improving the ‘endurance’ of body-tissue is not enough, especially because some tissues with less blood-supply are less amenable to, and do not benefit from, training. After all, most golf-fitness programs work at trying to reduce the scope for injury and simultaneously to improve performance. They are based on strengthening those body parts (muscles) which produce power-speed and stretching other body parts which need greater flexibility (once again mostly muscle). HOWEVER these programs are all flawed because they are based on the swing-mechanics of the best players in the world – which are themselves flawed.

Fitness programs should be based on an ‘ideal’ golf swing, which should be one devised from ‘first-principles’; working backwards from the laws of physics and biomechanics which govern ‘ideal’ impact (ie. arriving at the ball from an inside, shallow path at maximum speed).

Fitness programs should NOT be based on what is traditionally considered to be a ‘good’ swing, because all traditional ideas have evolved from the SUBJECTIVE, NOT SCIENTIFIC, thinking of leading players and teachers.

Injury mechanism should purely be assessed by looking (from a rear view) at a golfer’s top-of-backswing position and then at his impact, and just-past-impact body positions. When doing this one can count how many of the following joints change their direction of motion from the top of the backswing to the start of the downswing:

Cervical spine, rest-of-the-spine, trail shoulder, trail elbow, trail forearm, trail wrist, lead shoulder, lead hip, lead knee, lead ankle.

If a golfer’s change-of-direction (mainly because the golfer accelerates at maximum speed during the downswing) requires very many of these joints to be repositioned during the LIMITED TIME SPAN of the downswing, the golfer can only be successful as long as his rhythm remains smooth. It is known that in an aroused state (ie. one of anxiety) such as that seen during competition, the fight-or-flight response kicks in, and the hormones secreted as a result make the muscles contract faster and more forcefully, so that with the best will in the world a golfer cannot help but slightly mis-time body-movement sequences, resulting in unreliable results. Similar mis-timing takes place under conditions of fatigue, when the brain cannot handle many complex movement patterns regardless of how often the patterns have been repeated in practice. (For example do you walk or talk as efficiently when exhausted?).

EFFICIENCY:

The very same extra-movements-in-a-short-time-span which cause injury also cause inefficiency, and not only under conditions of arousal or fatigue. If two people who can run equally fast were to be in a race, and one of them took a few steps backwards before running towards the finish-line, the other one, leaning forward and running in a straight line towards the finish would surely win. EXTRA movements which require to be undone before the joints are in position for their roles in the downswing, waste time and increase the potential for inefficiency.

For instance, when the right side/trunk (of a right-handed golfer) is lower than the left at both address and at impact (simply because the right hand is placed lower than the left!), what earthly sense does it make for the right shoulder to be higher at the top of the backswing? Contact is never as pure as when the right trunk/side stays lower than the left throughout the backswing. Besides that, the great concept of ‘ground reaction force’ (GRF) which is being made so much of these days, has to be ‘artificially’ increased! This can be seen in the work of some coaches, who encourage their students to squat down then jump up to increase GRF. GRF is optimized when the left arm is able to be fully extended as the radius of the swing. However, many golfers are unable to drop the right side of the body down AND straighten the lead arm, IN TIME FOR impact.

MAXIMIZING PERFORMANCE:

In the full-swing in golf, maximizing performance means hitting the ball as far as possible, in a straight direction, and with ideal trajectory for the club being used. There are only 3 biomechanically proven ways to increase distance – the stretch-shorten cycle (recently proven controversial), ground reaction force, and a sequential summation of forces. Of the three, the latter is also responsible for straight direction, and simply requires the lower body to rotate before the upper, allowing the arms and club to be the last things arriving at the club, so that each successive moving body-part adds to the forces generated by the previous one.

TIGER’s PROBLEMS:

 

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  • All his recent coaches have supposedly worked on reducing his distance to control his direction, yet made his swing more violent! They have reduced his distance yet not improved his directional control – how ironic!
  • The latest coach has erroneously reduced the length of his backswing and made it more compact. When the backswing is reduced too much, so that the club and hands are not even at around 10 o’clock (in THIS BLOG 10 o’clock means without any wrist-bend) – their position of maximum gravitational potential energy, the body has to exert force to start the downswing, rather than it beginning with the force of gravity alone. This force throws off the correct sequence of the downswing
  • The swing coaches have also made his swing increasingly more compact (as seen by an increasingly more flexed/bent trail elbow and excessively flexed lead hip, knee and ankle), which means all the OTHER joints which have made movements surplus-to-requirement now have to unbend and untwist within a very narrow space. A ‘wide’ trail elbow creates a longer lever for more power, and also has to straighten out less when arriving at the ball!
  • According to a former coach, Hank Haney, Tiger himself has always believed that the squat-jump gives him greater power-speed. Yet, common sense tells us that to jump up and down in an essentially back-and-through movement is absurd. Do baseball pitchers jump up and down on the mound in order to throw the ball forwards faster? In slightly more technical terms, if one intends to put ‘x’ amount of force into an object, then makes a glancing blow – instead of a full-on one – at the object, one only puts a portion of intended force into the object, and the rest into the ground or the air around the ball!

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  • He has been overloaded with ideas of across-the-line, laid-off, swing plane, palm-vs-finger grip etc. etc. ALL club movements are merely the result of body-joint movements – after all, the club does not move itself! THEREFORE the entire concept of swing-plane is redundant. The ONLY requirement is for the club to arrive at the ball from a slightly inside path (to connect the right-inside quadrant of the ball), and this becomes a non-issue if the lead upper-arm maintains a similar, slightly-inside path, during both back- and through-swings
  • Those of his former coaches who believed ‘rotation’ to be an important element of power-creation gave him a ‘lateral flexion’ instead! A TRUE body-rotation during the downswing can only come from a similar movement during the backswing, which in turn requires not only trunk, BUT ALSO HIP, rotation.
  • His fitness coaches have bulked up his upper-arms and chest (some sports chiropractors term this ‘mattressing’!). This prevents his arms from swinging freely during the backswing and prevents his having an ‘ectomorph’ body type, ideal for golfers as it provides long, slim, wiry-strong limbs, which have better leverage and less ‘inertia’.

The MINIMALIST GOLF SWING is able to:

  1. Reduce injury potential by placing all joints – at the top of the backswing – IN POSITION for their role in the downswing, so that no re-routing is required before target-ward motion can begin
  2. Maximize swing efficiency by minimizing the numbers of joints moved, and minimizing their directions (planes) of movement
  3. Maximize swing performance (maximum distance, straight direction and ideal trajectory) by ensuring a without-volition downswing summation-of-forces

IT ACHIEVES these ends by

  1. Being the only swing in the world which creates TRUE rotation of the spine AND hips for more power
  2. Separating the roles of the body and arms, as the former requires to move in a merry-go-round or horizontal plane and the latter in a more ferris-wheel or frontal plane, and when combined result in less efficiency
  3. Cutting out all extra movement so that contact with the ball is much purer and no effort is wasted in connecting with the ground or air around the ball
  4. Always positioning the club so that it arrives at the ball – WITHOUT VOLITION – from the inside, at a shallow angle and with maximum speed

In CONCLUSION, a 21st Century golf coach MUST have academic-based, in-depth knowledge of anatomy, rehabilitation and biomechanics (preferably also exercise physiology and exercise testing-and-prescription) in order to coach top athletes. The causation – or at least exacerbation – of several of Tiger Woods’ injuries can be linked to specific unscientific-in-anatomy movements he has been taught over the years.

See the ‘about’ section of this blog to understand the type of credentials required.

What will Tiger do next?

What will Tiger do next? 

What he will do next we do not know.

What he should do, is first sue Butch Harmon.

Then sue Sean Foley.

Butch should be held responsible for the exacerbation of his knee injury (see knee injury in the ‘walking the talk’ section of this blog). Sean for his recent elbow injury.

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Incidentally, Sean is completely correct about not moving so much – it reduces a golfer’s margin for error. Weight shift, folks, is passe. See how Tiger Woods’ swing has evolved from that of his early coaches’ to the present one. He has successfully cut out too much lateral movement – which is good. He has done so, however, without correct top-of-backswing joint positions – which is bad. A compact swing is truly ‘economy in motion’ as Bruce Lee might say – very important for an explosive power move. However, the more compact the moves, the less room there is for the poor-joint-position-compensatory-moves to be made!

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So, Sean Foley is right in theory, but wrong in practice. Here’s why:

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From the top of this position, he must drop down (laterally flex) the entire trunk – vertebra by vertebra (a frontal plane move), while at the same time straightening his knee (a sagittal plane move), as he tries to rotate his body – lower body first, to produce speed and deliver the club to the ball from the inside. Not to mention that his right wrist extension (backward bend) will have put his right arm into internal rotation, which he will have to put into external rotation (so as to save his elbow) along the way.

Now, he has to do all this in the 2/100th of a second he himself says the golf swing takes. EVERY move made from his top of backswing position onwards is his brain’s own way of finding a compensatory method for all these multiple joints to all untwist and un-bend, all together, in synchronization, and in the limited time of the downswing, to  present the club to the ball at maximum speed and from the inside.

So, Sean’s brain has found a unique way to undo all the very many backswing moves he has made. Imagine his brain thinking, “I should drop the body down two and a half inches to bring the right side down, then I must make the hips rotate first, the shoulders next, I must make sure the wrists remain maximally lagged, and also I should try to put get right shoulder into external rotation so the right elbow does not arrive at the ball in a manner it cannot act efficiently from (ie a ‘valgus’ position).

Sean’s student Tiger’s brain, has found its own unique compensatory mechanism to reverse all his less-than-ideal top-of-backswing positions, most especially the lifted right trunk. His brain drops his entire body vertically downwards. To compound this problem, the world of golf claims that such a movement is good, because it is like the counter-move-jump you might see a basketball player do. After you squat you can jump up higher, because as you squat your thigh muscles stretch, then can contract more powerfully while pushing up.

In my opinion, the golf swing should have neither side-to-side movements (eg weight shift) nor up-and-down movements, they simply reduce the time within which a golfer must unbend and untwist a lot of stuff, while trying to make a merry-go-round-like pure transverse-plane body rotation.

When you’re injury-riddled beyond bearing, and you’re embarrassed to be  hoping to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus while being the wimp your unknowing former pros have made you into – unable to use a driver – consider the Minimalist Golf Swing, Tiger.

Should Tiger be the Favorite for the 2013 Open Championship?

 Should Tiger be the Favorite for the 2013 Open Championship? 

You be the judge:

Tiger played with pain in his elbow at Merion and will go into the Muirfield Open without having played much competitive golf in between. Can he win, should he be the favorite. YOU be the judge, with an informed opinion.

Below are screen shots from a three month old video. His right side drops so much (right trunk lateral flexion), that post-impact his left shoulder goes into internal rotation (a bit of a chicken-wing, one might say), which, because both hands are locked onto the club (closed kinetic chain) forces the left wrist into extension (bending backwards).

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All of this conspires to put pressure on the outside (lateral side) of his left elbow – the muscles, tendons or ligaments can be subject to strain/sprain.

It is criminal how all of us golf teachers are let loose on the world with not one iota of human movement training. Someone should sue someone, seriously. (see my ‘walking the talk’ piece on knee injury and how Butch Harmon TOLD Tiger to quickly rotate his left knee out of the way and then straighten it up (or so I read in Hank Haney’s book)! In the same article see what Tom Watson tells people to do with the right knee – exactly the movement which caused Fred Funk’s right knee replacement from osteoarthritis of the outer (lateral) side of his right knee!

The US Open, TIger Woods, his knee, and now his elbow

Tiger Woods Knee and now Elbow (or is it wrist) Injuries

See the post before this one first, please.

It is NOT about Tiger. He IS the most supreme athlete in the world, one whom a worthy coach could make into a super-human performer.

Worthy meaning one who has at least a basic understanding of every single topic related to golf – be in anatomy, biomechanics, injury causation, the psychology of sport or exercise physiology. Not to mention fitness and nutrition.

So, you’re asking, get to the point, WHAT ABOUT his knee and elbow/wrist?
Well, he has such a violent movement starting down (wasted, actually, as the golf swing is surely meant to be a back and through movement, propelling the ball target-ward, is it not?), that as his body is trying to rotate to produce maximum power from the ground up, his knees and wrists have to straighten out from awkward positions, at great speed, and when they cannot ALL unbend and untwist in time, WHAM, something gets left behind, or comes in the way, and he has injury.

SEE the two detailed analyses in the Walking the Talk section of this blog.

And yet the ‘experts’ (tom Watson included) among us say that his up and down movement is great (it’s called a countermove-jump and produces a lot of upward propulsion for basketballers) and other things about his movements are great too, and similarly look at other superior golfers to show us what we should be doing. Ironically the same movements that the pros might get away with for longer can create injury in slower-moving, less adept people in less time.

The moral of the story: this is the 21st century folks, get with it, get a swing which takes into account NOT ONLY how the club needs to be delivered for maximum power and straight direction BUT ALSO how the human body can do it best.

The US Open and Tiger Woods

The US Open and Tiger Woods

One MGSS fan texted, “hey I was looking forward to your comments on the US Open, as I enjoyed your remarks after the Seniors’ Championship so much”

So, my friend Tom, my response is, “Tiger did not win”, why would I care about the rest of the field.

I’d predicted in a facebook forum of the National Golf Academy of India (and, to an extent, hoped) a month ago, that when the going got tough, Tiger would not do well. Why would anyone be mean enough to ‘hope’ such a thing? For purely selfish reasons.

I have dedicated myself to being worthy of being Tiger’s next coach – or at least getting the opportunity to explain to him my study and research of over 18 years. What does ‘worthy’ mean? It means acquiring knowledge well beyond what even the leading golfer of the world might need to succeed – my Masters in Sports Science and Nutrition has given me information on anatomy, biomechanics, orthopedic assessment, exercise physiology, exercise testing and prescription, fitness, nutrition, sports psychology, research methods. A 21st Century golf coach has to have at least primary-physician qualifications, cannot simply say, “My student can go to so-and-so for fitness or someone else for a chiropractic adjustment”. BECAUSE those people do not understand golf enough to tell what might cause the ball-striking or injury problem!

(See the section ‘Walking the Talk’ in this blog for my orthopedic physical assessment class project – 10 pages include how golf and tennis elbow injury can be cause in golf. Coming soon how knee injury such as Tiger Woods’ and Fred Funk’s are exacerbated by a poor-mechanics golf swing).

Well, when I first ‘came out of the box’ and started telling people that is was the ambition of my life to be Tiger’s next coach they laughed. Not so much any more, they respect my understanding and knowledge of the golf swing (sadly no PGA of the world tells a teacher WHAT to teach – wannabe teachers are given ONLY Gary Wiren’s LAWS, PRINCIPLES and PREFERENCES and then have to GO FIGURE. Many peripherally useful topics, but NOTHING on WHAT to teach. How do I know? I’m a member of four teaching associations!).

In fact many say, forget Tiger, he’s finished, find someone else. NO Tiger is NOT FINISHED. He is the world’s most supreme athlete, has the mental and physical skills and the work ethic to be the best, at the highest level, again. When he plays badly it is not about him, it is about someone-up-there saying “I’m the one controlling you humans, don’t think it’s YOUR great skill or talent that’s making this happen”.

Tiger is, however, running out of time. He cannot afford any more injury and no-one in his coterie even realizes that it’s exacerbated by his golf swing. Coterie, from now on, be aware that if Tiger has more injury or cannot play at the highest level, it is because YOU, his TEAM, do not allow any information from people like me to be filtered down to him. Sure you get lots of such information from lots of people, can you not tell based on credentials or years in the business?

How DARE all his previous coaches mess him up so badly as to tell him to reduce his distance in order to gain consistency (which they have not been able to give him yet), or get him to a stage where he cannot use his driver, AND use effectively enough to be a weapon of mass destruction. One told him to move his left knee out of the way and straighten it quickly. I’d have sued that coach for future ACL injury, but the poor man does not have any background in human movement!

The next coach told him if he gets across the line to try to be laid off. BOTH ugly positions, NOT correct in science (most obviously because both make the club shaft parallel to the ground, a position which does not put the club in it’s position of maximum gravitational potential energy, but which of those pros understood basic physics?)

He needs a swing method which can help him deliver his club correctly (from the inside and at maximum speed) while positioning his body more appropriately based on what human joints are and are not capable of doing.

The Minimalist Golf Swing System works for all strokes not just the full swing, and Tiger neither gets 18 fairways and 18 greens nor is his putting always reliable. So, there’s a Minimalist solution to that too.

Many have asked, “If your method is so good, how come the pros do not use it?” Reply, “The method have taken 18 years to evolve, based on my increased knowledge and experience”. There are 2 pros using it, and winning with it already, even though they have not had more opportunity to work with me on it. Many amateurs are posting things about it on various forums.

Other nay-sayers say, “OK you think you have a method, there are tons of those around!” My answer:
GOLF PROS have the ability to connect the dots from having taught so many people but have no background in human movement science. GOLF SWING RESEARCHERS have little background in golf – either playing it competitively or teaching it to see mistake-patterns. Very few in the world have both backgrounds. Only one has both 24 years experience teaching golf, an educational background in anatomy, biomechanics and physics, years of conducting research on various aspects of the golf swing, a personal need to try to hit the ball better, plus the ability to think outside the box enough to wish to reverse-engineer the golf swing. Reverse engineer meaning start with an understanding of how the club should be positioned for best impact then work backwards to figuring out how the body can be positioned to deliver the club correctly, based on what the body’s joints are capable of doing. The result – better ball-striking and less scope for injury.

Isn’t it funny how we mere mortals are told by the ‘pros’ to swing like so and so, when that Tour Player themselves has mechanical faults? It is presumed, in all sports, that a top-level player is making the best action, when that is not at all true. ONLY reverse-engineering can give the best picture for what movement is ideal for any sport.

Now, if Tiger doesn’t hear of the Minimalist Golf Swing System soon, he can waive his useful career goodbye.

Tiger Woods at the Players’ Championship 2013

Tiger Woods at the Players’ Championship 2013

A chip shot on the 16th hole, round 3 – where Tiger made up-and-down for birdie

Tiger Woods

The frequently-asked question is: Will Tiger match Jack Nicklaus’ Majors’ records? The answer: not unless he can execute each shot with more precision – because the competition, once left far behind him in a cloud of awe, is now getting younger, as Tiger ages, and is no longer intimidated by him.

His chip-shot swing in biomechanical (kinematic) terms – imitate it to feel what I mean. The arms remain straight, the left side of the body drops down from ankle to knee to shoulders (ie the entire left side) during the backswing, and there is a slight wrist-cock. Result? His club is way outside the target line.

Now, with little time remaining to reroute the club so that it can arrive at the ball from the inside, PLUS the fact that the dropped left side of his body must lift (in order for the right side to be below the left), he pulls his arms and thus club sharply in. He cuts across even this tiny chip shot. AND to worsen the problem, he stands out of posture too early (and so misses a square impact in both vertical and horizontal directions) , thus increasing the amount of glancing-blow quality-of-impact of club and ball.

Tiger Woods Golf Swing

This causes a tremendous amount of inconsistency in ball-flight, with differing amounts of spin and differing amounts of across-the-ball-ness.

Tiger Woods US

He now leaves himself a long-ish putt, which fortunately for himself he makes. Can he sink putts of that length 10 times out of 10? As Majors’ level pressure piles on?

No Minimalist Golf Swing – not enough Majors, Mr Woods.

Anyone reading this please try to do a bicep curl either behind your back or to your side. Sure you can do it. Is it as efficient as when you do it in front of your body? No. Your elbow is bent by the biceps (among other muscles), and is designed to bend in the sagittal (forwards and backwards direction) plane.

I rest my case. Enjoy the rest of your non-Minimalist Swing golf career, Tiger, and never know how good your ball-striking could’ve been. Most of the world in content with mediocrity, anyway. So, it seems are you. What kind of Majors wins would they be, playing defensive golf and never even using a driver?

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