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Chi-Power Golf Part 17 - Understand your swing in slow motion

Jayne Storey’s chi-power GOLF is based on simple, timeless principles which are proven to enhance your mental game and help you perform your best on the golf course. Here she explains why “slow-motion” practice was of benefit to arguably golf’s greatest ball-striking genius, Ben Hogan, and how you can use it to groove your own ‘signature swing’

The Tai Chi approach used in chipower GOLF is echoed in the practise method of Ben Hogan, who famously used a slow motion swing to develop what is arguably the most archetypal swing of them all, one which has been extensively written about and emulated more than any other.

To get a picture of Tai Chi in your mind, just recall those images you’ve seen of groups of people in the park in Beijing, wearing what appear to be white, silk pyjamas and moving almost imperceptibly in slow motion.

This practice of moving slowly is adopted throughout the East, where even an everyday activity such as walking is slowed right down to become a method of meditation in Buddhist monasteries.

So, how can this approach improve your game and where did Ben Hogan get the idea of moving slowly from? Hogan practically invented the notion of practice in golf and his level of dedication (which is as legendary as his actual swing) resulted in Tiger Woods saying that Hogan was able to understand his swing probably more than most players will ever understand theirs.

Hogan performed a slow motion practise swing precisely because by slowing down he was able to feel, sense and become aware of what was working and what wasn’t in his swing – even to the point of jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to practise in front of the wardrobe mirror as a sudden inspiration took hold, before heading out onto the range early the next day to groove his new level of understanding.

As with most Eastern techniques that were once thought of as a bit left-field, moving in slow motion has now been proven by Neuroscience to have specific benefits due to its particular effect on the brain and the mind~body connection, such that the neural connections associated with movement are known to get stronger, as more detailed and refined information becomes available to the brain to build the movement map.

As well as Tai Chi, the Feldenkrais method and more recently Z-Health also employ the use of slow, mindful movement as a primary means to develop coordination. Champion athletes from many sports use the slow movement approach in training sessions, notably Jonny Wilkinson in rugby and Monica Seles in tennis. By slowing down you can sense differences in muscular effort, which in turn increases your brain’s ability to correct any postural and movement imbalances.

Your proprioceptive map – the physical areas of your brain responsible for sensing and controlling movement, develops stronger neural linkages in response to slow motion activity and the resulting sensory feedback that occurs. Seen in this light, the term ‘grooving’ your swing really should be taken literally. Understand your swing by performing it slowly will help you groove a swing that is as consistent as your own signature. Constant repetition of the 1.8 seconds that make up a typical golf swing offers neither the time nor the space for you to develop the qualities of attention and awareness that are essential to improvement. Slow, gentle movement can make your internal swing map that much clearer.

The Slow Motion Swing Drill

Set-up to the ball and take a few deep breaths into your centre. Swing as slowly as possible staying relaxed throughout the motion, breathing normally.

Take at least one minute to complete your swing, without resisting the slowness or anticipating the finish.

Time yourself using the stopwatch function on your mobile. A minute is much longer than it seems.

Fully engage with the balance and rhythm of your swing, paying particular attention to your lower-body (feet and legs).

Feel how your upper-body (waist, shoulders and arms) responds to your lower-body when you relax, as opposed to deliberately moving through various swing positions.

When you can comfortably take one minute to perform your swing, try it with your eyes closed! This will really test your 3D proprioception map!

To learn more about Chi-Power Golf, visit www.chipowergolf.com where you can find out about personal tuition, talks and workshops, and also sign up for a free newsletter, "The Mindful Golfer".

To contact Jayne Storey, ring 07986 447250

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine





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