Monday, 3 March 2014
Let us start the macro analysis of Tiger Woods according to steps mentioned in the introduction. Disclaimer -- I am just an amator theorist and the idea of this analysis is being made from a purely subjective my own point of view as well as I do not expect nothing (except may be expressing some verbal/written gratitude in case it helps someone). My state of knowledge about Tiger Woods's state of health or his laterality is not big enough to be able to call it as something more than just theoretical speculations from my part based on observations. I will publish no photos to illustrate what I am talking about on purpose so that everyone has chances to draw one's own conclusions and put oneself in a role of a macroscale theorist.
It is to be pointed out that we have choosen Woods as the subject if this sample analysis not only because he is currently the most famous golfer, but also because his lead knee injury is being widely known. This makes it possible to sacrifice a few words to the initial stage of the macro analysis which forces us somehow to follow the ancient rule primum non nocere and to take very seriously into account a subject's state of health. In Tiger's case, we need to take into account serious problems with his left knee (the more he appears to be a LLD person which makes the whole issue tougher). Macro analysis must not simply take into account all scenarios (no matter how technically superior they are) that could physically burden this area of the body. We shall revert to it later on in the course of the analysis.
Now, the general goal must be determined. We are not sure what is Tiger Woods's opinion on what he needs most to achieve what he dreams of -- more distance or more accuracy -- however, we assume the latter. Why ? First of all, because he is not short at all by means of Tour standards; secondly, because we think that it is lack of accuracy and repeatability hurts his tee-to-green game the most. Therefore, we can go further at once to the stage of determining his dominant eye, hand and leg.
Relying on my experience only, it would be tough to find correct answer with certainity as regards the subject's eyedness. Tiger Woods behaves as a RED person during the backswing (his head does not turn sufficiently) and as LED one during the downswing/follow through (his head does not follow the body). Of course, either he can be ambidextrous or one of the situations is being choosen deliberately or forced. Much more probable scenario is to assume he is a LED person who e.g. wants to retain a peripheral vision during all the motion. It is also because he behave as a typical LED person at impact and during the early stage of the follow through phase. According to the info that is to be found in the net it confirms that he is a LED person. Thus, we have the first critical biokinetical error that we are going to describe in the conclusion part.
When talking about Woods's handedness the situation is easier since we have lots of proofs he is a RHD person taken from observing his everyday's life behaviour. It is to be confirmed also when observing his swing motion. No deep inside clubhead takeaway which is even rather on outside part, downswing plane over the backswing one (especially visible in the later phase) and visible slap of the right hand without a sign of the handle dragging. This area does not include serious biokinetical errors, yet still it could look better if there are no errors in other areas. We shall revert to it as well.
Even easier situation occurs while determining Tiger's footedness. It is clear as the day that his lead leg is "the bouncing leg" (mind you, this is the main criterium). His lead knee sufferred a lot during his carrer and, I am afraid, still suffers judging on slapping and jumping action he performs currently. This is the area that requires most dramatic change aimed at relieving stresses in this area. Unfortunately, we cannot count at all at creating more room for a rotational action in an ill joint which would be an instant cure but in rare cases and in strong healthy joints.
Now, it is the time for introducing the macro coaching based on the above data. The first things to be noticed are lack of any diagonality of the stance, lack of a good antithetic waggle and, finally, lack of trigger compression phase in the motion that would start a subconscious-guided cascade of biomechanical events. Instead, Woods performs rather poor handsy a bit too-outside takeaway that carries signs of a too active lead side in initiating the takeaway (what is strange a bit concerning his handedness). Next, he performs a backswing that is antithesis for an advantageous LED person backswing (think -- Hogan, Snead or young Nicklaus) -- not only he is not deep enough with his hips, shoulders and eyes/head, again, his lead side appears to be too active now in resisting the turn (observing his lead knee not bending inside a lick and his lead foot not rolling inside a lick). The result of all the above is unability to achieve great sequentiality of the motion both from the ground up as well as from the core out resulting in his inability to reach the EEP phase; this, in consequence, throws his rear elbow too much to the front, rear arm straighten too soon (to prevent an outside approach to the ball) and body pivot stall caused by overactive arms/hands that somehow have to save the shot and brings lots of timing issues into play. Instead, he should perform a more OTT motion from a deep backswing resulting with achieving the elbow plane earlier and subduing the motion to a much more effective pivot -- diagonal stance and natural LED person backswing would help tremendously here (and not only here). Not mentioning that the OTT move and playing with the downswing arc over the backswing one is natural for a human and not putting so much stress on the spine. There will be much more room for performing a subconscious-friendly powering of the swing motion, especially for a RHD person. Flared lead foot will ensure not only better overall body rotation without creating so big torques in Tiger's knee joint. He should also experiment with toes of his lead foot so that the jumping/snapping action is reduced and let his lead knee be in a lesser danger.
That is all for the beginning and it is the absolute must in my opinion. Not only it should make the whole motion more timing-proof and subconscious-friendly but also the overall look will resemble more of old masters of ballstriking. Of course a correct diagnosis would require confirming the data as well as personal consultation(s) enabling to tune up the analysis and help to the subject.
Finally, there is a time for checking if Tiger Woods's motion contains all 5 common denominators for the great ballstrikers, as follows:
(1) -- pivot guided motion from both the ground up as well as from the core out without stalling of the pivot in the wide impact zone -- not quite, but close enough to achieve it thanks to some macro adjustments described above;
(2) -- balance in the coronal plane maintained without a sign of early extension -- yes, practically we can agree it is the area not requiring interventions (thanks to the adjustments it will be really optimal);
(3) -- transverse plane compression after transition with a muscular effort to use ground forces (both vertically as well as horizontally oriented) as well as possible -- definitely OK, even appears exaggerated;
(4) -- plane shift to the elbow plane as early as possible resulting in rear humerus being supported by the pivoting body and rear forearm supporting the shaft -- not quite, but close enough to achieve it thanks to some macro adjustments described above;
(5) -- as small as possible rate of clubface closure in the wide impact zone -- not quite, but close enough to achieve it thanks to some macro adjustments described above.
Please forgive me being so critical and harsh on the best golfer of today, but the measure must be different than in case of an ordinary amateur. Hence these brutal conclusions. However, if Tiger Woods happens to read this he should think about it, the more, personally I am not even his fan (far from it but I can appreciate his greatness as a golfer) and what I am doing now is not something I earn money for a living from -- thus, it is as objective as it can be. If he wants to win more and fulfill his great goals he should take into account such a macro perspective of biokinetics. I simply find it disturbing that a player of such an enormous talent (that such e.g. Hogan would have dreamt of) and possibilities (that players of yesteryear were surely deprived from) is totally lost with some lights in the tunnel that are more than just another fatamorgana offered to him.