Magnus has just arrived home after a couple weeks of practice and training in southern Spain. After taking a short break at the end of the season he felt it beneficial to be able to work on the game a little without having tournaments around the corner. In this article we will discuss what he worked on and why, documenting and highlighting the changes using video. I was able to help him with the changes by using EDUFII, which allowed for slow motion analysis and a quick transfer of data via the cloud.
Despite all the information available and all the methods of analysis, coaching will always have a unique opinion based aspect to it. As an example no one would ever teach a swing like Jim Furyks but it is worth almost $62 million…so why not? Making changes should never be based on preference or looks, but on actual effect. You may disagree with some of the points below but that is the purpose of the post – we want to stimulate discussion. No swing is perfect but the changes below will create the biggest impact on Magnus control of his ball flight.
As good as video is for analysis there is still some data that will influence or assist your understanding of the changes. Magnus swing speed with driver is 115mph, and with a high ball flight – a launch of 13 degrees and a spin rate 2600. He is 6 foot 3 inches tall and carries his 7 iron 170 yards on average. Iron play is a strength of his whilst inconsistency with driver has negatively affected many tournaments for him. He works extremely hard on his game with a holistic approach, working closely with a physio, a psychologist and has received detailed coaching in the last few years.
For him a coach can be everything and nothing. A coach can help him improve his swing and create a new ball flight or better control. But the coach cannot teach him the experience he lacks as a relative newcomer to the game. With only a handful of amateur seasons under his belt Magnus turned pro last year to experience the game at a high level. European Tour School was a great learning experience in September but his putter let him down badly. Read how he has changed his putting in his post tour school trip to Mike Kanski here!
Magnus has been on a very steep learning curve with his game and has made many changes over the last couple years. As a Scotland Rugby under 18’s representative his hand eye co-ordination is without question, he has a high level of physical perceptiveness and awareness when learning. He can handle a little more information and make changes quicker than a golfer who has played a similar style of game over a long period. With that in mind, he made more changes to his swing than would be recommended (in a period of less than a month) for the average golfer. This also comes after a period of stability in technique lasting a few months ie no changes have been made lately.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
It is important as a coach to have an appreciation of the knock on effect of any changes made. Before making these changes you must understand the players tendencies. The better the player the greater the detail that is required. Since Magnus was coming off a period of stability with his technique, it felt very automatic and the good and bad shots were similar day to day. If this wasn’t the case, less changes would have been made. The reason being that until a certain level of automation has been achieved the player will adapt to create a certain ball flight.
As an example a player may achieve a new backswing position in a lesson and as a result his impact position will change as he adapts to his new backswing. How much he changes or adapts can’t be known so it is wise to keep on that one topic before anything else can be coached. This ensures that the new change becomes a habit and he does not revert to what is comfortable.
MAKING A CHANGE
The way a coach communicates an idea to a player varies hugely with many different ways creating success but in my opinion some are better, or more efficient, than others. In summary it is not necessary for the coach to explain his whole method and reasoning for a change to a player, even if he asks, as this can be detrimental to performance on the course. In all sports an instinct, an awareness and an ability to visualise will trump knowledge as a player will do what feels best, or most natural, for themselves rather than doing what they think they should. A coach should leave the player with a feel and image that creates the change. Drills are very helpful in reinforcing this feel.