Golf and Weight Training - John Wilson

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Credit goes to: www.Yourgolffitnesscoach.com

This is a letter from the Supertraining group moderated by Dr. Mel C. Siff at Yahoo.com posted by John Wilson.  This letter appeared as post #18,569.  I was so impressed with it that I had to post it here.

 

 

 

 

I have been struck by the similarity of Golf and Olympic lifting.

Crazy! Bear with me. I'll take some of my golf learning experiences
and apply them to Olympic lifting.

First let me point our that I am an expert in neither golf or Olympic
lifting, having taken up both late in life. Golf at 49 and Oly
lifting at around 58.

But I am a voracious student of both subjects and have had some good
coaching in both endeavors (thank you Eric).

So here goes.

1) Strive for Quality over Quantity in training.

David Ledbetter, certainly on anyone's top ten list of golf coaches,
says if you hit more than 40 balls in an hour of practice you're
wasting your time.

Think about it. That's one ball every 1 1/2 minutes. That's a long
time between swings.

What are you supposed to do between shots? Think about the last shot
and prepare for the next one.

Tommy Kono put it well when he said "Practice doesn't make perfect,
practice makes permanent."

Go to any golf range and you can watch guys with the most awful
swings hitting ten or more balls a minute - just grooving that puppy!

I've noticed from an Iron Mind training hall tape (Bulgaria 1998)that
the elite lifters do only 10 - 20 lifts (mostly singles) before
taking a break and moving on to their next routine.

Brief, and to the point.

2) Mental Preparation.

I once watched Greg Norman go through his pre-shot routine. He stood
behind the ball for a while - I believe he was visualizing his shot.

He then pulled out a club, stood behind the ball again, took a
practice swing (just one, not 5 or 10 like the tyros do), and
approached the ball.

After lining up the club and setting is stance he began a slow take
away - when a flash bulb went off.

Norman stopped in the backswing, stepped back from the ball, put the
club back in the bag and proceeded to repeat the entire sequence!

I believe this is dead-on similar to what the top lifters do. Watch
the way top lifters pace behind the bar, then stand quietly.
Notice how deliberate they are in establishing their grip. After
gripping the bar they usually squat in a seemingly "zoned out" state.

And so on.

3) Positive mental attitude.

Many top golf instructors hammer away at positive thinking. When you
have to hit over a hazard, DO NOT say to yourself "don't hit it in
the water."

As an experiment, say to yourself "don't picture the Eiffel Tower"
and close your eyes. What do you see? The Eiffel Tower.

Don't try NOT to see the ball going in the water - it won't work.
Your neuromusculare system picks up the image of the ball going in
the water and responds perfectly - hitting the ball into the water!

Instead, try to see the ball landing on the green over the water.

Pete George in a recent Milo article said he always believed he could
lift a given weight BEFORE he tried. Same story. If you don't thing
you can lift it, don' try.

Of course the top lifters fail and even Tiger hits the ball into the
rough. But I seriously doubt that either thought that would happen.


4) Start the swing or the lift slowly.

A remarkable thing about the pros is how easily they swing or lift.
At a skins game a few year's ago I was behind the tee when Fred
Couples was up.

There were people in front of me so I could only see Fred's head &
shoulders. I saw him swing the club. The swing was SO slow that I
assumed it was some kind of practice swing.

When I heard the crack and saw the ball sailing out of sight I was
dumbfounded.

On beginning the down swing, the great Bobby Jones said "you cannot
turn too slowly."

Both the golf swing and the Oly lifts happen with such speed that
attempting to control your body during the event is hopeless. Both
occur in less time than your body can react.

They say "trust your swing". It's simply impossible for your mind to
control your body, like "now release the clubhead", during the swing.

I would say, "trust you lift."

Tommy Kono insists that smoothness is a key requirement. If you're
trying to tell your body "now start the second pull, and try to
achieve a double knee bend" during the lift, you'll be anything but smooth.

5) Keep your training brief.

This is related to the first point, but the emphasis is different.

There's an old story (I've heard it several times) about a golf
hustler in the last century, around the time of Sam Snead, who
challenged a long-drive champion to a skin's game.

I've forgotten the names of the participants.

To "make it interesting" the hustler allowed the long-drive champ two
drives on each hole.

The long-drive champ, given this edge, took advantage of it and hit
his first drive on each hole with everything he had. If the first
drive found the fairway, why then he'd hit the second drive hard as
well.

To make the story short, the long-drive champ was out-of-gas after
the first nine - couldn't find the fairway with a drive to save his
life.

Hitting a golf ball does not require the strength of Olympic lifting.
But the fine motor control required can definitely go south as any
weekend duffer can testify.

My theory on this is that an individual muscle fibre is either full
on or full off. To exert more force, more fibres are recruited.

The fibres are just like people. The same people always step forward
when asked, and the same people sit on the hands hoping they won't be
asked to help.

The result is that something that requires fine muscle control, like
golf, relies on the "first string" fibres (the volunteers). When
they are tired, the second string just isn't up to the challenge.

Turns out, the hustler knew that very few people have more than 18 or
so full out drives in them.

Back again to Iron Mind's Bulgarian training hall tape. Here you see
some of the world's top lifters. What kind of reps to they churn out?

Maybe ten to twenty snatches (including warmups). A break. About
ten clean & jerks. A break. Similar or even less with the squats.

Except for the warmups, all lifts are singles.

6) Keep your arms & hands passive.

Nothing can ruin a golf swing or a clean quicker than getting the
arms involved too soon. Golf coach Ledbetter even sells a device to
strap your arms to your sides so you can learn to hit with your body
and not your hands and arms.

7) Don't forget to use Inter-abdominal-pressure.

Although the "exercise police" are constantly advising us not to hold
our breath during exercise - it seems mandatory for heavy lifting.

Golf isn't heavy lifting, but teaching great Jimmy Ballard claims all
the long ball hitters he knows could hold a dime between their cheeks
during a big drive (you know what "cheeks" I'm speaking of).

Tennis isn't heavy lifting either, but have you ever heard Monical
Seles or the Williams sisters play?

8) Remember, technique is more important than brute strength.

Goes without saying. Practice with light weights (or no weight) and
increase only as long as your form is perfect.

Davis Love III's father was a great teacher/player. His father
taught him to drive by requiring him to swing slowly and hit the ball
only a short distance. It's very hard to cleanly hit the ball only
50 yards with a driver (well, unless you top it, toe it, or wiff it).

When he could hit it beautifully 50 yards, then he could move up to
100 yards. And so forth. Davis is a great ball striker.

I could go on, but enough for now.

John Wilson
Costa Mesa, CA


Submitted by DMorgan on Mon, 02/27/2006 - 9:52am.

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