Performance Golf Training 5:
Focus on Root Cause,
Do You Make This Common Golf Mistake?
If you are trying to address an issue with your swing, don’t make the mistake of trying to fix the symptom. Make sure you are addressing the real issue – what I call the “root cause” – because no matter how hard you try, you can’t fix symptoms without addressing the underlying issue.
In the prior newsletter we discussed a process for determining your top game improvement priorities by establishing a baseline performance level and then setting improvement goals (see Setting A Baseline). In this newsletter we extend the concepts of High Performance Coaching by examining relationship between cause and effect using a common swing issue as an example: the dreaded “over-the-top” move.
If you’ve been frustrated by an inability to make the swing change you want, it may be because you are trying to fix the effect, rather than the cause. It’s an important distinction, and one of the reason “tips” and friendly advice don’t work.
CURING THE OVER-THE-TOP MOVE
The accompanying video describes the over-the-top move and then shows you how this is actually a symptom of a fundamental swing issue occurring earlier in the swing: losing your leverage position. Losing your leverage position prevents you from initiating the swing with the lower body, and if you can’t initiate the swing from the ground up, your body compensates by initiating the swing from the top down, throwing the club “over the top.” The video also includes a drill to help you learn how to maintain your leverage position at the top of your back swing.
Here’s the other important lesson from this video: as is so often the case with significant swing issues, there may be two root causes: one mechanical, and one mental. In the video we discuss how your “intentions” affects your swing because of the way they orient your body. A “ball” orientation can orient you to the impact zone and stop your rotation, causing the club to swing out over plane. A target orientation, on the other hand, facilitates core rotation and allows the club to come through the impact zone on plane with the club face square to the target line.
Look for A Mental Root Cause Too
What has become fascinating to me in working with students – and one of the reasons I decided to study Sport Psychology – is that often the mechanical issue can be traced back to the mental issue. We’ve found that many times it is possible to correct the swing issue purely by addressing the mental issue. That’s why I believe the next generation of golf instructors will need to have an understanding of mechanics and the thought process behind them, and be capable of addressing both with equal ease.
Your take-away from this newsletter is the process:
1. Trace the symptom back to the root cause (usually a swing fundamental, either mental or mechanical),
2. Address the root cause fundamental issue by picking specific drills;
3. Practice the drills in 5-ball sets, rotating through drills;
4. Observe the results in your normal swing;
5. Repeat over time.
Remember that changing your golf swing is a process, not a one-time event. If you have an issue coming over the top, try the drills in this video. If your priority is focused on a different area of your swing or game, think about how you could adapt the process to help you address your specific priority.
Here are links to the entire High Performance Golf Newsletter Series. If you haven’t seen the videos I recommend you start with the first post on establishing performance baselines. Click the link below to get started, then look for the links at the bottom of each post to continue with the next video:
PS – If you enjoyed the article, please leave a comment below, and forward the link to your golf buddies.