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The Balance of Power
David Whelan and Paula Creamer

Create a stable base and the proper 'sequencing’ of your swing will naturally increase your speed...and add more distance through the bag.

The emphasis on the checkpoints you see across these and the following pages is on the importance of creating and maintaining the body angles designed to engender good athletic balance. A good swing is a blend of hand/arm action co-ordinated with the body motion, and the key lies in 'sequencing’ your moves efficiently. The reason Paula is able to generate quite significant clubhead speed through the ball is that the club, hands, arms and body all work in a good sequence. I doubt Paula could bench press 100 lbs but I can guarantee she can hit it 280 yards off the tee, thanks to the stability in her lower body that allows her to turn and swing her arms, hands and the clubhead at speed. Believe me, what girls lack in physical strength they can more than make up for in speed - but only if they swing in sequence and in balance.

TRY THIS BASIC PIVOT DRILL

Next time you go out to hit a few balls, try rehearsing this exercise with your practice buddy. The idea is that by simply placing my finger on Paula’s head, the better she appreciates the rotary body motion that characterises a good pivot. At the same time she is reminded to maintain her body angles as she turns to make the backswing. For my part, I feel no pressure whatsoever on my fingers. I hold her steady through the backswing and then let her turn through freely as she unwinds to face the target.

IT’S ALL GEARED TO BALANCE

Placing your hands on your hips is a good start when it comes to rehearsing your posture (doing it with your eyes closed further enhances the sensations you are looking for).

Basically, you want to feel your fingers on your hip joints - that’s where you should be bending from. This creates a good spine angle and gets you in a poised, balanced position you should then be able to maintain throughout the swing. The 'plumb-bob’ check simply confirms the good angles you are looking for (left).

Holding a club vertically from the inside the right shoulder, the shaft should just about touch the knees and point down to the balls of the feet.

 

ANOTHER VIEW ON GETTING STARTED

I mentioned the quality of the 'sequencing’ evident in Paula’s swing, and, once the set-up is taken care of, it all starts here. For Paula to initiate a good sequence (and to eliminate a common tendency to whip the club too far behind her body), she feels that the clubface is a little closed during the first few feet of the moveaway. In other words, she keeps the clubface looking at the ball for a brief moment (which is actually a pretty good thought for people who roll the clubhead excessively, to the extent they end up trapped and too much behind themselves in the backswing). Note that while the hands and the club can be seen to move inside the ball-to-target line, the clubhead remains outside the hands. That’s an important detail to monitor.

RIGHT HEEL UP IMPROVES RESISTANCE, INCREASES SENSE OF 'COIL’

Finally, a great exercise for anyone who feels they need to improve the sense of 'resistance’ in the right knee and thigh. In all my years of working with David Leadbetter, I must have seen dozens and dozens of world-class players stand on the range hitting balls using this drill. All you have to do is practise hitting shots with your right heel raised off the ground an inch or so.

That immediately makes you aware of the flex in the right knee, and the idea is that you maintain that as you transfer your weight onto your right side. Absorb the pressure in
your flexed right knee and then feel that you spring off that brace as you unwind. Keeping that heel off the ground gives Paula resistance in the lower body, so she is coiling upper body over lower body like loading a spring.

KEY CHECKPOINTS TO A GOOD SEQUENCE

When we work on developing and monitoring the backswing we look for the wrists to be full hinged (or 'set’) pretty much by the time the hands pass waist high. At the same time, we like to see the clubshaft bisect the right shoulder. These are basically safety checks that tell me, as an instructor, that the player is working within pretty neutral territory - all keys to a player’s repetition and consistency. As long as Paula moves through this position, simply completing the turn of her shoulders and torso completes the backswing move (above right). The clubhead, hands and body arrive at the top of the swing at the same time - again, great sequencing. The clubface is in a good position at the top, with the left arm, clubface and shoulder turn all singing the same tune.




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