A Beginner’s Tale Continues: The Science Behind Swing Improvement
By Mike Errera
Connecting “Feel” to Data
In the initial chapter of my K-VEST journey, I recounted the dramatic results I experienced over the first few days and weeks of using the system. Now I’d like to pull back a bit and explain the changes I made in order to achieve those improvements so rapidly.
In my first use of K-VEST, my hands were reaching peak speeds well before impact. By definition, then, I was decelerating through impact. The change I made next was based simply on a thought. I thought about speeding up after impact. The bodily feeling was strange, but the result was undeniable. This speed felt extremely late to me, but the numbers did not lie. My graphs started to show that I was reaching peak speeds at impact. The result was drastic and immediate. It was shortly after the session that I realized that you can easily justify swing changes when your evidence is measurable. More importantly, I learned that you can reinforce teaching feeling with numerical data.
In my next session, I decided to try to improve swing sequence, starting with my lower body mechanics. Through my education from the Golf Academy of America I understood the concepts of “Load and Explode” and “Push off the Back Foot.” Yet understanding something and being able to put it into practice are two different animals. Every time I would try to use either of these concepts, I ended up losing my posture and standing up through impact. This led to inconsistent contact and weak fade shots.
From “Loss of Posture” to “Load and Explode”
After reviewing my K-VEST statistics, I was able to figure out why these concepts were not working for me. I learned that my weight was moving too far towards the outside of my trail foot. This led to excessive sway, loss of posture, and poor timing.
To improve in these areas, I changed my address position by slightly kicking in my right knee, towards the ball, at address. This shifted weight onto the inside of my right foot. My focus throughout the swing was to try to keep the weight on the inside of my right foot and to rotate everything without letting my right knee extend out of its position at address.
My goal was now to keep the trail hip inside of the trail foot. I imagined that my trail leg was a brick wall that could not be moved, set in a braced and stable position. Keeping the weight on the in-step of my trail foot held my trail leg in a stable position. Interestingly, this sensation feels like you will be more on top of the ball instead of behind it.
The swing instantly felt more powerful, and the proof was in the K-VEST numbers. My weight moved into my left side much earlier and my sequence problems were corrected. This change in biomechanics also made my reverse spine problem disappear. And after checking my clubhead speed with my 6-iron, I noticed that my speed was up to 88 mph and it felt effortless. I finally felt what it is to load and explode.
An Effective Drill—Without K-VEST
A great drill to reinforce this feeling simply requires a tennis ball that’s cut in half; a golf ball can be used if you do not have half a tennis ball handy.
- The goal is to apply as little pressure to the ball as possible. The in-step of your trail foot should be firmly planted on the ground while the outside of your trail foot is elevated off the ground (resting on the ball).
- Get into a setup position where the tennis ball is on the outside of your trail foot. Try to take practice swings in which you do not squash the tennis ball. If you do squash the ball, then your weight has moved too much to the outside of your foot. This will result in sway, loss of posture, and poor sequencing.
- When you are able how to take swings without squashing the ball, you will have learned how to swing with a stable trail side. This will improve your sequence and timing, and give you effortless power.
Okay, that’s it for now. Thank you again for joining me on this beginner’s journey, and I look forward to the next time I can share my progress…
Mike Errera is a fourth generation educator degreed from West Virginia University with golf-specific education through the Golf Academy of America and TPI. He currently runs the Golf Performance Center with his wife, Charlotte, in Estepona, Spain. They are also the Head Instructors at Dona Julia Golf Club in Casares. Their instructional video series can be found on the Dona Julia website: www.donajuliagolf.es or on the club’s Facebook page.