Golf Vs The Other “Sports”

I was actually working on this post below when Laser commented on the previous posting – serendipity!

Laser said:

“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.

Sound familiar?

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!”


Or you can download the very latest MCS  video “MCS – Dropping The Hammer , Part 3 of the MCS Golf Swing Trilogy**


5 thoughts on “Golf Vs The Other “Sports”

  1. Laser

    I should go hibernate for a while, but I can’t resist commenting on your great free-throw technique. Surely, somebody must have told Shaq to “put some leg into it.” But, he never caught-on, except for some short & streaky spells.

    Here’s why a lot of athletes have great form: those who don’t have naturally great form quit. Comparatively, I don’t think athletic teaching is that big of a factor (except maybe as applied to mainstream golf instruction, where it shortens careers and causes people to get worse). In other sports, I don’t think I’d rate coaching as high as hard work and determination …certainly below innate ability.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I can’t resist commenting on your great free-throw technique.

      Thanks for the kind words – I’ve been blessed, having spent my youth playing sports, and I’ll tell you something about my free-throw shooting, if you like technical things:

      I decided to try out for the junior varsity squad at the end of the 9th grade after watching a documentary on Dr. J during the NBA Finals that spring.

      My friends laughed, as I hadn’t played or even tried out that year. Nonetheless, I was obsessed with the notion and fashioned a home-made basketball backboard which my old man put up in the back yard, and I spent the summer practicing my dribbling and shooting.

      I tried out for and barely made the junior varsity in the 10th grade, and rode the pine most of that season. However, I would get the old man to drop me off at the high school on his way to work, and I would dribble, shoot and work on my free-throw shooting in the empty auxiliary gym until first bell. Some times, I got chased out (“you’re not supposed to be in here!”), other times I would get in a good hour before class.

      Later that season, while sitting at the end of the bench during a game, there was a brouhaha between the two squads, and when the dust settled, there had been some ejections and our team was awarded 5 technical foul free throws.

      The coach looked down the bench and for some bizarre reason, said, “Watts – get out there and take the free throws.”

      You can imagine, I wanted the earth to swallow me at that point as I made my way from the bench to the line, wondering what I’d done to get singled out. Likely, he’d heard me grousing about the lack of floor time and figured I would be chastened by missing some free throws beneath the klieg lights.

      To end the story, I simply did what I’d done for hours in the empty gym, and I drained all five shots. I’d have been happy with 3 or 4, but really, if you can hit one, it’s the same motion repeated.

      Fast-forward a few moons, and I set a school record (different high school), scoring 50 points in a senior tournament game against a big school. During the game, while I was shooting a set of free-throws, the net came back up and wrapped around the rim on the first shot, as will happen when you get a nice “swish.”

      The poor ref was rather short and was jumping up and down, trying to pull it down, and without thinking, I took the ball he’d just tossed me and casually flipped a free throw up and in, dislodging the net.

      My center was standing a few feet away and shook his head at me, saying, “Dude, that was too cocky… you’re gonna miss the second one now…”

      At that point, I realized it looked as though I was showboating, which I never did. I smiled at him and said, “Nah…” and drained the second one.

      So, if you watch an NBA game and one of the teams isn’t making their free throws and you hear a dim shouting – that’s me, yelling at the television.

      Free throws are free points, and I get steamed when the Raptors are going 12 for 18 in free throws and lose by 4 points…

      And that’s what working on technique will do for you 😀

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