2010 Updates

February 2010

 - by Kelvin Miyahira

2010 UpdatesHappy New Year Everyone,

With all the holidays, I've been too busy to write a good column for this month so I've decided to do a little update on some of my findings for those of you that read or have read some of my old columns.

So let me start by doing some housecleaning of old ideas that Rick and I no longer feel are valid. Then I'll update everyone on some of our latest developments and lastly, I'll recommend some training aids for everyone to help their games.

#1 - Speeding up tempo for the sake of speeding up tempo is not the right path to hitting far and straight. While I realize that speeding up one's tempo can give instant results in clubhead speeds due to faster loading of muscles, the downside to that is transition time gets shorter. Shorter transition time means losing or removing ultra important micro moves which create more power and proper sequencing.

At the end of the day, we all want to hit the ball farther and straighter, so if this is you, let's not get carried away with just a fast tempo. Now if you can get all the micro moves and go faster in tempo, you'd be Jamie Sadlowski.

#2 - Many people feel (and I once did too) that improving one's technique does not play a role in increasing one's clubhead speed. That is wrong. We can increase clubhead and ball speed of a golfer by ADDING micro moves that weren't there. We did a complete makeover of Jesse Petersen's swing in a couple of days in August and he was almost fully ready to compete by the end of October at the World Long Drive Championships. The proof is that he went from ball speeds in the 190's (when he was struggling) to having the highest ball speed in Mesquite. He had a whopping 220 mph ball speed as measured on Trackman (many others have had higher ball speeds recorded on less accurate technologies) and led even Grand Champion Jamie Sadlowski who had a high of 217 mph ball speed. So improving one's swing can certainly add both clubhead and ball speed.

#3 - Performance training is still not a well understood subject. After all these years (almost a decade since invention), there are only two things that really can aid in speed and power of an athlete; one is illegal and potentially deadly as Chicago Bears linebacker died suddenly a few weeks ago. The other is the SpeedChains, which is legal and effective but largely ignored by the strength trainers in the US because it is over their heads in terms of why it works.

So let me make this one simple statement that everyone should understand. If you want to be fast, you must train fast. What is the definition of fast? Fast means it must be at least as fast as in your event speed. It doesn't mean that you can do a bench press with 225 lbs on the bar and do it as fast as you can and think you're doing something positive. If your arms aren't moving at around 25 mph as it does in a golf swing, chances are you are slowing down your movements.

This simple rule of thumb also applies to learning a golf swing. Perhaps it is necessary to learn some move in slow motion so you can get it right. But once you know how to do something slow, it is time to take it to your high speed because doing it a million times slow and correct, has NOTHING to do with doing it correctly at high speeds. Why? Nerves control movement and slow nerve pathways are different from fast ones. Just imagine Jimi Hendrix picking his guitar strings at breakneck speeds and you trying to learn to do it. Once you know what to do, training slow isn't going to help you at all.

This brings us to an important point, besides a real speed training device, what is truly effective at developing speed and power? Performance enhancing drugs. If there are still people who believe that weight training is the magic pill and don't want to hear nor see the truth, read this following quote from Mark McGwire's steroid supplier.

When asked about McGwire's goal for taking the array of steroids he recommended and provided to McGwire, convicted drug dealer Curt Wenzlaff said, "As anybody -- bigger, faster, stronger."

"Let me put it to you this way. If Paris Hilton was to take that array, she could run over Dick Butkus."

So there it is in plain English from the man that supplied this effective array or cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs to help Mark McGwire break the home run record.

So for all of you out there "training" to hit the ball farther by lifting weights, the magic pill for speed and power isn't in those weights you're lifting. It's in the syringe.

#4 - Several years ago, I wrote a great review of the K-Vest and biomechanical techniques. But, I am sorry to say that it is not worthy of my recommendation anymore. High speed cameras give a truer and fuller picture of the realities of the golf swing vs. incomprehensible biomechanical data that pales in comparison to what we can see and learn from high speed video.

It's like going to an automobile mechanic when all your car needs is an oil change and he attaches his computerized diagnostic system to your car. The "computer" says your car needs $1200 in repairs for your ignition system. What are you going to say? "It sounds kinda serious so I guess you should fix it." Cha ching!

But the main problem with the biomechanics for golf is really in the antidotes provided. Virtually every cure involves either ignorantly reducing micro moves or restricting motion so that you swing like a robot. There's nothing wrong with swinging like a robot if you're Iron Byron and hooked up with pneumatic hoses, valves and a have lot of compressed air.

What's even worse is the use of deceleration as the panacea to improve kinetic or kinematic sequences. So if you've been told to decelerate in order to swing faster, ponder for a moment and run for the hills. You're about to get punk'd.

#5 - The classic golf instruction of restricting motions is alive and well. Recently a guru is seen pitching a product that braces your right knee on the backswing. And what will this do? It will restrict your knee motion so that it builds up too much tension by the top of the backswing and cause an unstoppable stretch shorten cycle of firing off early in the downswing and potentially over the top.

#6 - The camcorder is dead. If any serious golfer wants to learn about his/her golf swing, get a Casio digital camera. While the high end EX-F1 camera at $1000 price tag might be a bit much for some,  on the low end, the Casio EX-FS10 is selling for under $175 on Amazon.com and is the best little camera that shoots 210 frames per second with good high speed shutter vs. standard 60 frames per second on normal video camcorders. It even shoots HD video so why buy a Flip camera when this little camera can do that too.

#7 - V1home software can run these high speed videos and do side-by-side video analysis. You can even buy some of the 300 frame per second videos of PGA tour pros they have in their library for just a few dollars more. Do not buy JC Video software or systems as they try to get more money from you to run the high speed videos. Plus, they have poor customer service. So stick with V1 home and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

#8 - Prior, I was not a fan of medicine balls because they are too slow to do real speed work. I still feel that's true. But we have developed a great exercise that helps to train transition precisely because it is slow enough for transition training.

#8 - I have even found ways to use rubber tubing. While it is still primarily a linear resistance device, there are some parts of the golf swing that are linear. One can learn awareness of some moves by using the resistance of the rubber bands. I have developed a little training exercise for the upload move of JS by using a golf cap, a couple of grommets and some rubber tubing.

#9 - For you people that need to learn to putt better, Tim Winey's Direct Hit training aid is really cool. By putting his special ball with a disc attached beneath, it will show you whether you are hitting putts with slice or hook spin. Many other training aids show you how to aim or guide your stroke, but what good is a perfect aim if your ball doesn't start on line and has sidespin?

#10 - Phil Mickelson's short game DVD and book are great IF you already know how to use your hands correctly. He uses his "hinge and hold" method to do all kinds of shots (lob, pitch and run, spinners) all with the same basic stroke. Though you do have to know how to supinate, wrist bow and ulnar deviate in order to do his stroke (because he can't explain what he does), it does appear to be simpler than using Tiger's more complex methods (takes more practice to perfect his "flip on demand" style).

#11 - This reminds me, my impact device, now called the Impact Snap Device, is going to be ready by the end of March. It went through many versions, improvements and now I am very pleased with it. All of the movements are fast when performed in a normal golf swing. Therefore, my old one disobeyed neural learning laws. It was slow and showed how to perform the moves in slow motion or for a soft pitch shot, but as we know, this has nothing to do with a high speed swing. Thus, the new very fast impact training device was born.

#12 - We have found over 30 micro moves that only the truly elite possess. It will take time to go through each of them but I will do so just a few at a time. Rick has also created a timeline that details the timing and sequencing of each of these micro moves. From our standpoint, this extreme detailed analysis is extremely important so that we (maybe just us) understand the stretch shorten cycles that are triggered by a preceding move. Once we understand the big picture, we can share the micro moves within that framework. And we really have found one HUGE move that is probably responsible for more swing errors than any of the others. What's more important is that this move might be the one bad move that low handicap golfers make that cannot be easily overcome. It is probably the nagging source of problems that you may be facing and has never been written in any book, magazine or DVD. So we shall reveal this one big move in a couple of months.

#13 - We are also close to a unifying theory of the golf swing. Rick and I have been corresponding with the father of the Spine Engine theory, Dr. Serge Gracovetsky. He took one look at Jamie Sadlowski's swing and knew instantly that he swung different from all the golfers he'd seen.

Prior to seeing JS' swing, he thought all golfers were disobeying the laws of the spine engine theory. Here's his quote from awhile ago. "And this is why I said a long time ago (when asked during a conference how I could improve the golfing of a 50 years old man) that he should stay on the beach with the girls and hire a younger student to golf for him."

Through reading his papers and understanding the movements of the spine, we have learned quite a lot in a short period of time. It will take some time to gather more data but initial impressions are that he is right on the money.

#14 - It does not matter if Tiger plays or not. As we've seen from his swings at the PGA Championships in Minnesota, he's losing micro moves and speed. It's really quite amazing that we have witnessed the dismantling of the greatest golfer of all time right before our very eyes. But then again, we have seen this before with David Duval heading south due to the usual suspects DL and HH.

But it's never too late to change as Phil Mickelson is on the rise as his HSBC Championship victory signaled that he's ready to overtake Tiger. Since working with Butch Harmon, Phil certainly has gotten his swing together and is swinging like the old Tiger.