I was actually working on this post below when Laser commented on the previous posting – serendipity!
“I’m going to go out on a limb and submit that 2-D photos have limitations in teaching because people performing athletic acts aren’t picturing how an outside observer sees them.
That’s a field that’s overdue for study: somebody should ask football place-kickers, baseball pitchers, bowlers…and golfers what they’re thinking about…”
And what I was working on at the exact time:
Here’s a thought that popped into my mind the other day while watching a different sport on television – why is it that other sports can go nearly an entire broadcast (and many times do) without one mention or observation on “technique?”
Think about it – how many times has baseball paused coverage to show you a replay and then go into an exhaustive analysis of the technique of the action being replayed?
How many times has an announcer asked for a replay of the touchdown run in a football game and then described the running technique of the man running down the field?
I know I’ve seen a little of that watching baseball with the swing, but aside from that… practically zero – except for a couple – cricket and track & field.
In cricket, when it comes to bowling technique, I’ve heard great breakdowns on technique, but the analysis follows a standard technique.
In track & field, especially at the world class level (college to Olympics/World Championships level), you are constantly exposed to the analysis of technique on a particular action, whether it’s the high jump or pole vault, and one thing will jump out at you if and when you next watch it, whether it’s these sports or even something in football or baseball:
There is a standard technique for world class performance, and it is pretty much invariable, no matter what the sport or action is.
I hearken back to my track & field days, and the lesson I learned – I could beat guys with much more athletic talent than I, because I worked so hard on the fundamentals and technique, that on a great day (for me), I could beat guys I had no business beating, in the long jump or 100 m.
I gave up my dreams of being an Olympian when I realized that, at a certain level, I was competing against guys with far more athletic talent than I had, but the same or better technique.
The end result – I got my doors blown off, and I knew that no amount of technical work could take me further than where I’d gotten.
I had done the same thing in basketball, obsessing and drilling on technique and fundamentals.
I learned this lesson in my teens, in high school, and there you see guys on TV, both analysts and players, who don’t have anything remotely approaching a fundamental knowledge of proper golf swing technique, and all the bickering about it just annoys me to the point of turning it all off.
Think of how many times you’ve heard analysts on TV arguing about a proper pitching motion vs improper, or getting into fights over the technique of a javelin throw or sprinting form – I’ll tell you how many times I’ve seen or heard that – zero times.
People should just understand that when I get frustrated with or disdainful of what we all have to watch on TV or read in magazines when it comes to golf – there is no standard for the swing, and because of that, anything goes, it seems.
I don’t come from the same world that these guys are apparently from – in my world, there is a proper form or technique that applies to any physical motion.
And anything that falls outside of that is unorthodox, and for most, that means improper.
It doesn’t matter that guys in golf are falling apart because of the harm their swing actions are doing to them – the point of the game, we’re told, is to get the ball in the hole, and in the fewest strokes. Period.
And that’s why golf is in the state it’s in.
In golf, it seems all everyone talks about on TV is technique and the swing – and here’s the kicker – they’re almost all to a person, woefully incorrect or uninformed on proper technique.
You can swing any way you wish, and you can even play the game at a high level with a swing that isn’t proper or mechanically-correct – as long as you’re scoring, no one will say anything bad about that swing.
Or, even worse – you’ll get the old bait & switch where, if a player is playing and scoring great, it means that he has a great swing…
“Nothing Wrong Here…”
And that’s where I object – strongly.
I’ve said before that I’m not a golf instructor, nor do I wish to be – I’m a swing analyst, I focus on motion, and when I object to a certain thing a swinger is doing, it’s because I see something improper, inefficient or flat out dangerous in what they’re doing.
And it goes two ways – an improper swing can pose an undue risk of injury, and in a sport, you have enough to worry about without risking injury needlessly, and that’s where I get very vocal, and I make no apologies for it.
Second, you can have a swing that, although it isn’t a big risk for injury, is still improper, and will lead to consistency/performance issues.
Streaky players for the most part are those who have been gifted with enough talent to achieve a very high level of performance at time, perhaps even a lot, but usually have an unorthodox technique that is the reason they’re streaky.
Golf is full of streaky players, because they have very weak fundamentals on their swing technique, so when they’re on, they’re on, but when they’re off, they absolutely stink.
So, Laser has a point in his comment, which ties into my point – someone should ask these guys, because we don’t know what they’re thinking about their technique, and the reason we don’t is because the technique is pretty standard, and it’s either good or bad.
If it were like golf, there would be a different analysis on every single pitcher or bowler or place kicker, and we don’t see that, because there’s only one way to make an optimal athletic motion.
There’s good, there’s bad, and there’s optimal, which is the standard.
And until golf gets to that point, it will forever be the haven of charlatans and snake-oil salesmen peddling their wares, which are the latest “tips” on how to hit a ball.
There should be only one way – the proper (optimal) way.
Within that proper way, you will find infinite variations, as you will in different track and field sprinters – but you will never find more than one “optimal” way to do it, and the analyses in other sports always approach technique from that angle.
Want to learn more about the MCS Golf Swing Theory? Try one of DJ’s “Secrets of the MCS” video shorts available via download.
“Dropping The Hammer!”