Q&A from readers: Stay Away From Balls, aka The Talent Code

 

For your daughter, the main thing I would recommend is to STAY AWAY FROM GOLF BALLS.  The ball is really what destroys athleticism, speed & power in beginners.  My daughter is 8 and is very athletic doing gymnastics/karate and has an amazing golf swing.  However, if I have her hit balls, her swing quickly deteriorates.  The reason for this is that the beginning golfer (or really all golfers) start trying TO HIT A BALL.  And when the brain just tries to hit a ball, bad things happen.
The solution?  Build the skill/movement first, then later hit balls.
There is a great book called ‘The Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle, get more info here  http://thetalentcode.com/
He describes a Tennis Academy in a small town in Russia that put out more Top 20 players in the late 90’s than the USA.  The juniors there had to do slow motion/motion training for 3 months before they ever hit a ball.  They had to practice for 2-3 years before they ever played a match.
Why?  This allows the brain/body to lock the athletic motion in.  Once that is locked in, it will use the proper technique when confronted with a challenge (i.e. the ball).  Without that training, the brain/body will just do whatever it can to hit the ball and as Ben Hogan quipped, all natural tendencies are wrong in golf.
So, do Y drills and L drills WITHOUT the ball.  Do them in slow motion if you have to.  Once the motion is correct, then bring in tour tempo.  From there, bring in the ball.  I guarantee better results and less frustration!!
Shameless plug: The Tour Tempo Speedball/Power Module is a great way to transition into a golf ball.  It provides great resistance for speed/power AND at the same time you can’t miss it, so there is positive feedback.  I highly recommend it for beginners!!

3 thoughts on “Q&A from readers: Stay Away From Balls, aka The Talent Code

  1. Ken Woody says:

    Junior, love the book on taking care of the back—unbelievable how these exercises can quickly shape up your core—and I find I can feel swinging coming more from the core—taught my wife and she loves the exercises/routine, also—keep up the good work! Go Ducks! best, Mr. Excitement

  2. JC says:

    But so much of keeping a young kid interested is making golf fun. How can you do this without actually using a ball. Even I get bored doing drills. The chances of my five year old actually wanting to play golf for enjoyment if I make her do nothing but drills without a ball is unlikely. This seems like a bad idea unless your child really wants to be elite or you are willing to make your child miserable because you want them to be a pro…almost always for the parents happiness or satisfaction over the child’s.

    • John Novosel Jr. says:

      Great comment! You bring up the dilemma for coaching kids (or any beginner) and It’s actually more important for a 5 year to learn the motion correctly (instead of hitting tons of balls)…..so how do you make it fun for them AND get them the motion? Even drills with balls really doesn’t do a ton of good (esp for kids) I’ve found that TPI has a great junior model: do fun activities that ‘groove’ the skills/patterns/motions the child needs. For example, throwing frisbees, jumping, bowling on the greens, etc…Then when you do go to the course, go ahead and hit a few balls, but that motor pattern won’t ‘take over’ since the child is doing other activities. and from what I’ve seen, kids are bored with hitting golf balls anyway, so not really a problem for them. Also, kids tend to love training aids and/or games.

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