When I am teaching golf, I often encourage my students to receive a video lesson of their golf swing. Surprisingly, many are afraid to use this tool, as they are afraid to see their own swings on video. Yet, I believe video analysis is the most effective tool in my arsenal.
The use of video gives tremendous feedback to the student. Occasionally, while I am teaching and moving a student through their swing the way I would like them to swing, they will say “that doesn’t feel right” or “that feels awkward.” Or, sometimes they will say they thought they really had done what I asked them to do on a particular swing, even though from my vantage point, it was clear they had not. Yet, when they see their own swing video, and then how I want them to swing on video, they know they need to make some changes to get better.
As a result of this, I now insist that the first lesson a student receives from me will involve the use of video. I have set up an indoor golf studio that includes video equipment and a golf simulator. The simulator provides feedback as to what the club is doing at impact. The simulator tells the student whether their swing path is inside out, outside in or square, and also indicates the angle of the club face at impact. Is it square, closed or open? An explanation in regard to the physics of ball flight laws will accompany this feed back.
Once we see the overall pattern of the swing path and ball flight on the simulator, I bring in the video camera. I combine this with the analysis software that I use. Analyzing the student’s swing in slow motion will reveal the swing faults of the student. This analysis then helps with developing a plan for improvement.
The advantage to using video over the standard lesson on the driving range is clear. When on the driving range, if a student continues to struggle with their ball flight without seeing their own swing on video, they will tend to dismiss the changes that the instructor is communicating. They simply move on to the next instructor to try and find that magic fix. This is why many instructors simply focus on trying to provide a quick swing fix, rather than communicate a plan for overall improvement in the swing. The problem is, that quick fix will disappear just as quickly as it appeared.
On the other hand, when a student views video of their swing, they receive substantial feedback regarding the faults they need to correct. If the student gets a good explanation of cause and effect from the instructor based upon what they see in the video, they will have more confidence in the changes the instructor wants to make.
Not only that, but a student can incorporate the use of video in their own practice. Many of the popular video analysis programs can be purchased for home use at a steep discount to what the professionals pay for higher end programs. A standard video camera and computer are all the equipment that is needed. Once a student understands the swing changes they are trying to make, the use of video can provide them feedback on their progress.
The bottom line is that video analysis is now the single best tool a golf instructor can employ when teaching their students. As such, the serious golf student should eagerly seek out instructors who employ this technology regularly.
Copyright (c) 2009 Scott Cole