Saturday, 23 January 2016

Skipping Stones in Troy. OTT from Inside Revisited.

Some good things are currently happening in the world of golf swing instruction. Finally, some of teaching pros started to understand the OTT from the inside concept and stopped to see the OTT phenomenon through the prism of total negation. If I am to choose a good example, I sincerely recommend watching Bradley Hughes's YouTube vid called "The Inside Approach".

Talking about something fine to watch, I am personally a fan of Wolfgang Petersen's great epic movie "Troy". I've seen the 'Director's Cut' version recently and am under big impression both of the director's skills as well as his wise decision to release it. Watching carefully all before unseen fragments of the movie and having always my eyes open for everything that refers to human body movements, I noticed almost immediately a scene that contains a certain way of using the sword which appears on the screen only once, however, that was so different from all sword techniques I was accustomed to before. It reminded perfectly the correct application of the OTT from Inside concept. I let myself make two GIFs from some fragments of the great movie found on YouTube.

If we watch the Achilles GIF carefully, we can note that Brad Pitt's rear side motion was correct. His rear humerus leads the elbow joint and the forearm with wrist follow. The sword flattens its plane beautifully. Of course Achilles uses only his rear dominant hand hence the flattening is so drastic. Golfers should use both arms, often promoting a non-dominant arm action, but a correct usage of the dominant sector is crucial, however, the flattening is much less visible. Here it is how it should look like when using both arms from an another angle:

Going further, the notion of 'skipping stones' was and still is very popular in the golf swing instruction. It is used to depict the correct move aimed at the much desired goal of flattening the downswing shaft plane. It also seemed to be helpful in achieving the correct motion of the rear elbow joint forward at the beginning of the downswing. The truth is somehow a bit different. The golf ball is not at the height of golfer's elbow, it lies much below on the ground.

The 'skipping stone' analogy, although the cascade of biomechanical events is correct -- the motion consists of shoulder going from extension to flexion and from its external to internal rotation, arm abduction to adduction, elbow flexion to extension and wrist radial deviation and extension to its flexion and ulnar deviation -- it appears to be rather ill-advised to the vast majority of golfers that holds a relatively heavy and long stick in their hands. It is against subconscious minds of these persons and, therefore, cannot be either mastered even during many training hours or cannot ever become natural. Lowering the arms alone will certainly be of no help either in the process of creation of the downswing coronal balance compression a.k.a. squatting. If the spirit of the "Troy" movie is still here in this article, it is almost like a Paris's last weak try of swinging his Trojan sword in his duel against Helen's husband, Menelaos.

The solution is to bring the OTT element that is so natural to almost everyone of us. What we already underlined several years ago, it is high time to take the curse off an average golfer. Let's put an end to frustrating golfers. Let's stop frighten them with slices. They do not need to get rid of the OTT element at all. Hogan and Snead had it and were far away from slicing. People, however, should understand that although OTT is one of the most subconscious-friendly motion for a golfer it is difficult to perform it correctly with a heavy and long tool. We do need to care for a proper sequencing. This difficulty comes from urge to use the hands as force leaders, so to speak. The move must be performed from the core out with a proper work of the shoulder joint that should be externally rotated and not retracted at transition and remain that way for quite a while in the downswing phase. Such a biokinetical scenario is the only one I know that guarantees the rear humerus and rear elbow joint moving properly at the beginning of the downswing automatically. Please refer to the "The Arms Situation" series of articles for details. Of course we must remember that there is no proper from the core out sequencing without a decent pivot that all great ballstrikers had.