IMPACT/RESISTANCE TRAINING FOR VELOCITY
We have to have impact/resistance and that impact has to be significant! A golf ball isn’t enough. It doesn’t shock the system. You have to hit something that ‘hits you back’. When you do this the SAID* principle kicks in along with some serious core bracing. This leads me to my keys for VELOCITY TRAINING and rules for IMPACT:
the impact/resistance has to be safe
the impact/resistance has to be significant (more than a ball) and
properly applied to the golf swing
the impact/resistance needs to allow a follow thru
the training needs to produce the correct SEQUENCE (swing and
geometry of golf club/ball contact)
the swinging motion you employ needs to shed all inhibition in the
golfer and the golfer needs to swing at 100% speed/power. (aka take off the governor on the system)
Plus these 2 additional concepts:
Regarding Duration and Frequency: Less is More
Ideally, we need to also train Unilateral/Both Ways
Let’s break down the VELOCITY KEYS
1. SAFETY FIRST
You would think that SAFETY goes without saying, but I’ve found that many trainers and golf coaches don’t fully grasp the concept of safety. When you do your training, it needs to allow you to go full speed but not torque you in a way that can injure you.
Although I’m not discussing training in the gym in this book, trainers everywhere are totally breaking this rule. They are sacrificing safety in order to get some performance benefit. This is a mortal sin especially when you consider that most golfers are over age 40 and ‘beat up’.
We need to shed inhibitions for Velocity Training and the best way to do that is using a protocol that is safe for the body.
2. SIGNIFICANT & PROPERLY APPLIED
The body works on SAID. You need Increased Demand! If you just hit balls, your body quickly adapts and there is no adaptation. If you just make ‘air’ swings, there is no demand and thus no adaptation. If you swing a heavy club, it has momentum (something you don’t have with a real club). So, the question must be asked: is this training proving a resistance that wakes the body up? The tricky part of this rule is to find the balance between significant, safety, proper application and 100% effort.
3. FOLLOW THRU
Every golf swing you ever make with a driver will have a follow thru. We need to simulate how you will handle that follow thru when swinging for speed against resistance. You need to know where you’re going (finishing).
We want your training to have a direct effect on your clubhead speed with a real golf club. But we need to take that one step further, we need a direct effect on ball speed/direction. Thus, when we train, we need to produce the correct sequence (as well as training for speed) If our velocity training doesn’t promote (or we don’t utilize) the correct sequence, then we are on the road to disastrous ball striking and possibly injury. It will do us no good to swing faster if that speed comes with poor sequencing. You might hit it farther, but it will be farther offline!
If your velocity training does have the correct sequence, then you get the double dip of SPEED & SEQUENCE. This combination is beyond powerful, because it will directly transfer to your real swing.
The training protocols you use need to be done at 100% effort and also need to require you to find ways to challenge that effort (increased demand). If too much precision is necessary, you won’t be able to give 100%, so there is a balance that must be found in the training. For example, hitting a ball requires too much precision for speed training. On the flip side, swinging so hard that you lose your sequence also won’t work.
You need some type of feedback/device/resistance that gives you the feel of:
100% effort Correct Sequence some precision
These 3 parameters allow the 100% effort to directly translate.
Other concepts for speed training:
6. LESS IS MORE
When doing any training for speed (whether for the golf swing or for other sports), there is a tradeoff between speed and endurance. For example, sprinters are strong/fast/powerful but can only produce that speed for very short amount of time. Marathoners don’t have much power, but can run at a decent pace for 2+ hours.
The training should reflect this and because we’ve laid out the importance of sequence/safety, QUALITY IS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than
QUANTITY. I’d rather see 5 swings at 100% with great sequence than 25 swings at 85% with not so good sequence.
As a general rule I like to see sets of 5 reps for your sets, and limiting the speed work to 2-4x per week around 20-30 minutes per session. The frequency/duration of your training sessions will really depend on your current golf fitness level as well as other factors in your life. So, if you are Long Drive Pro at age 25 and you’ve competed in college athletics, your program will look different than a 50 year old man with some minor injuries and a full time job. That being said, you both will need to maintain quality!
7. UNILATERAL/BOTH WAYS
In the 20+ years I’ve been coaching for speed, I’ve found that most golfers are deficient with one or both arms. They are also imbalanced in the body as a general rule. Thus, we need to train each arm individually as well as swing the opposite direction.
When we do this we still want to apply all our rules to the training. I’ve found that if you can increase the 1 arm speeds and get them somewhat similar in speed, you will increase your overall swing speed.
If you test golfers for thoracic mobility (aka shoulder turn), they will usually have more rotation in the direction of the downswing. This is due to years of unwinding with force. By swinging in the opposite direction (swing as a lefty for a RH golfer), we can open up the thoracic rotation and improve their current backswing. So that is an added benefit that occurs while balancing the body at the same time!
All of these parameters directly work on the subconscious mind, your 6th sense. That is why when you can put them all together the transformation (increased speed) is immediate. The subconscious can instantly put information together!
So, for a recap, we need a swing speed training protocol that has a resistance or impact that is:
Allows a Follow Thru
Like a swing with the right SEQUENCE
Gets you swinging with 100% effort
Let’s look at different training tools/modalities through the lens of the Speed Protocols
The Tour Tempo SpeedBall Kit:
1. yes 2. yes 3. yes 4. yes 5. yes
It totally fits the model and this is why golfers start to increase clubhead (and ball speed) when they train with the SpeedBall!
Let’s take a look at each.
1.The SpeedBall is completely safe. The target is soft/flexible and doesn’t stress the joints at impact.
2. The Impact is definitely significant an you start to train your subconscious to get ready for the massive collision and how to handle that. Your body responds with the Super Stiffness that McGill talks about!
3. You get a complete follow thru with the SpeedBall, just like a real swing
4. It’s exactly like a real golf swing and you don’t have to do anything different for your sequence, so you can get both Speed & Sequence at the same time.
5. Due to the size of the target (you can’t miss), you can go 100% with no fear of missing or miss-hitting.
Another bonus to training with the SpeedBall is that it easily allows unilateral work as well as training from the opposite side.