We talk to many young players and their parents who are under the misconception that if you want to be a great golfer, you need a great looking golf swing. That is, the style of your swing is what matters most. When style is the focus, you’ll hear things like, “your club face is closed at the top”, “you’re not on plane”, or “your finish isn’t high enough.”
Some golf coaches are guilty of this same kind of thinking. But the best coaches know better. The simple truth of golf is that the way in which your swing works (how it functions) is the key to better ball striking and lower scores. One thing we know for sure about the players on tour is that there are a lot of different looking swings – some pleasing, others not so much – but they all function at a very high level.
Since the golf ball only responds to the physics of the collision between the ball and clubface – what we call impact, it makes sense to focus on things that actually influence that small moment in time. With the help of technology like TrackMan, we now can measure the impact interval (which is only about 450 microseconds) for the full swing, short game, and putting and thus, have a better chance of influencing how the club and the ball interact.
That means that no matter how much time you spend working on your setup or your backswing or your mental game or your decision making, better ball striking depends entirely on controlling impact. So, if you’re a young golfer wanting to hit 300 yard drives, laser-like iron shots, or chips that grab and stop on the green, you better be able to identify and improve the following:
1. Where and when did I contact the ground?
2. Where did the ball strike the clubface?
3. Where was the clubface pointing at impact?
4. What was the path of the clubface at impact?
In summary, you must be able to connect your ball flight to impact by knowing the answers to the questions above. Once you do, you’ll be in position to start to change and control your ball flight like the best players in the game. As experienced coaches with the right technology, we can be a big help in guiding you through this process.
It’s been almost six months since I originally wrote this blog and I felt that it was important enough to publish it again. There’s absolutely no doubt that if parents follow the simple guidelines outlined below, they can help their children have a positive sports experience. On the other hand, over-involved parents that ignore the advice of experienced coaches and advisors can have the opposite effect on their children.
Here’s the original blog published on December 4, 2016.
I'm the first one to admit that it's hard to figure out the appropriate role to take in helping our kids navigate youth and competitive sports. If you're like most parents, you struggle to find a balance between being helpful but not overbearing. You want your kids to experience success but you know you can't do it for them. It's hard to see them fail but you know that life is tough and challenges provide valuable lessons.
Take comfort. if you're willing to consider and address the issues I've listed below, you'll be on your way to becoming a better sports parent. These guidelines have been developed from the latest research and almost two decades of experience in coaching youth sports. I hope they're helpful.
Jeff Isler shares his observations, insights, and experiences on the game of golf and those that play it at a high level.