That principle is that a swing model must be mechanically-sound, or else it shouldn’t be used, let alone taught or encouraged.
That is an element sorely missing in Modern Golf Swing Theory, as coaches and players alike will freely admit many times that the model they use is harmful to the body.
That is unacceptable, or should be, if a coach or teacher is worth their salt. To knowingly teach a harmful technique is malpractice, and I don’t know if it’s worse when the coach or teacher doesn’t even know that the technique is harmful, but that would be worse than malpractice, in my view.
So, Mike Divot linked me in a comment to an interesting article with regards to the baseball swing and training, and while I read it, I was saying, “If this is about training the baseball swing, I hope I read something about technique in this piece…”
And I wasn’t disappointed. You can read the linked article if you wish (if you’re into baseball, especially) but my big “Aha!” moment was when I found the part on technique, and I was very pleased to find myself strenuously agreeing with it.
It’s from the Florida Baseball Ranch’s website, and I’ll give you a couple of paragraphs from the piece, which is titled:
How We Use External Focus and Feedback To Train Our Athletes (Part 1)
… the Bernstein Principle states, “the body will organize itself in accordance with the overall goal of the activity.”
It doesn’t say it will always find the “best” or the “safest” way to accomplish the goal. This is where the coach comes in.
The coach’s most important role is to ensure the athlete’s movements are within the boundaries of safety. After that, coaches/instructors who recognize efficient movement can use motor learning precepts to guide the athlete toward discovery of more appropriate patterns.
The underlining and bolding are mine, and I had a reaction, reading that, similar to this:
Now all joking aside, that is a beautiful concept, wouldn’t you agree, my friends?
Nikolai Bernstein, if you’re not aware of him, was a pioneer of sorts in figuring out proper motion, but that bolded text, which isn’t part of his principle, is what really jumped out at me when I read the FBR’s article on training the baseball swing.
Now, I wonder how many modern golf swing models out there would withstand that kind of test – “The coach’s most important role is to ensure the athlete’s movements are within the boundaries of safety”??
I wonder where Tiger Woods would be, if he’d had the benefit of that philosophy when he was looking to make swing changes:
In fact, I wonder where many of today’s players’ careers might have gone, if they’d also received the benefit of that philosophy.
Hind-sight will tell us, when the golf industry returns to a more mechanically-sound frame of mind following the inevitable demise of the modern swing school.
That’s why I was so enthusiastic about Brandel Chamblee’s book “Anatomy of Greatness,” when it came out and I was asked to give it a read and let people know what I thought of it.
That’s because Brandel investigated why so many modern swing players are hurting themselves so early in their careers, and his determination (like yours truly’s just a couple of years into my swing blogging) was that the restricted-hip back swing is detrimental to the body.
So, it wasn’t just a book expounding the benefits of swinging like the greats of the Classic Golf Swing era, it was a road map to returning to a safer way of swinging.
And there can’t be anything wrong with that…
So, some of us are on the right track with regards to what constitutes an effective method of swinging a golf club.
The track is, you must protect the physical health of the swinger above all, before you even get to coaching or teaching a swing model.
Let’s hope the modern industry gets there as well, sooner than later!