Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Don't Get Hung Up on Swing Thoughts

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Don't Get Hung Up on Swing Thoughts

Article excerpt

As players, we have all discovered that more shots are ruined by the mind than by our swing talent. The hardest thing in golf is to keep the mind from getting in the way of the body's ability to perform.

I've been asked time and again, what's wrong with Tiger? There are two things, I believe, that are impacting his struggle to return to form: He is thinking while over the ball about how to execute his current swing changes, and he's working on the wrong stuff.

I fear Tiger's struggles with implementing what he is being taught may serve as a harbinger to others to foster that old belief: "If I take lessons, I'll get worse before I get better, and it will take hours of practice before I actually see improvement."

That only happens when the teaching fails to first understand the player and then adapt one's teaching methods to meet the experience and attributes of the student.

A player as talented as Tiger, if focused on the right things, will produce intended ball flights almost immediately. For the past several years, Tiger's teachers have failed him.

If you get Tiger's mind properly focused, his objective will be to produce ball flights rather than trying to produce correct swings. My philosophy of teaching, and the standard golf instructors should be held to, is: If your ball flights don't immediately improve, fire the teacher.

I believe it is the obligation of the teacher to learn to alter and adjust his approach to each student.

You won't find Butch Harmon, for example, teaching Rickie Fowler the same stuff he teaches Dustin Johnson. Why not? Because they each came with a different mental as well as physical approach to the game. They think differently about their swings and how they produce a draw, fade, high or low trajectory, or control distance.

Butch doesn't change swings, he seeks to improve ball flights, consistency, predictability, performance routines and confidence. …

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