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The Epiphany - Page 3

post #61 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCski View Post

If I follow the instruction to simply lift and tip my right foot(without doing anything else), my mass (indoors or on skis) will begin moving (falling) to the right which will put me on my BTE of my left ski when done on skis. Even if i focus on even pressure across the bottom of my foot, my point of contact with the snow will be the BTE (and some portion of the base along that edge depending on snow conditions) of the ski. If I extend that leg, I will be pushing off of that point of contact.
Exactly. You don't even have to push from your left leg, just slightly extend, and only as much as needed to mountain contact with the snow.
post #62 of 112

Welcome home Joan,

 

Good thoughts.

post #63 of 112
Thread Starter 

Thanks, David. 

 

I like your Zen master story, yogaman.

 

What happened to me with golf was I got very frustrated at my inability to progress and I started to hate it. It was a real quandary because my husband is a golf nut and I have been his main golf buddy, and I wanted to share his passion for the game. but my attitude was getting worse each time I went out. That all changed when I finally started doing -- purposely --  what Rusty's guy Bob Toski said:

Quote:

the lead hand is the director, and all other motion flows from what that hand is doing.

 

 

The weird thing about breakthroughs, aka epiphanies, is how long it can take a person to make a critical breakthrough in performance, and how instantly it actually happens. Once I had a feeling to go with the words, I could recreate it. Before then it was just one of many things to think about, now it's the Prime Mover of my golf swing. Now I can hope to be a pretty good golfer someday, and being a contender has brightened my attitude considerably.  

post #64 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Just checking in. I really appreciate the thoughtful replies to my epiphany, which was like a bolt of Eureka! when it came to me, but is hard to perform consistently. My lifetime of right-dominance keeps asserting itself. Here's a thought:

Habit is the single greatest obstacle to learning.  

Not a golfer, as will become obvious in a second. If you're right handed, why not just swing lefty, so you can lead with your dominant hand? 😮
post #65 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Not a golfer, as will become obvious in a second. If you're right handed, why not just swing lefty, so you can lead with your dominant hand? 😮

 

Ever try throwing a ball with the opposite hand that you're used to? Or kicking something with the opposite foot that you're used to? 

 

Same reason. While the left hand (for a righty) may be important, for most people, the overall swinging motion naturally makes you righty or lefty.

post #66 of 112
Switch hitters in baseball? There are players that bat and throw from different sides. Ambidextrous basketball players that dribble and shoot with both hands? I shot with my right hand but dribbled better with my left hand.
post #67 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by XLTL View Post

Switch hitters in baseball? There are players that bat and throw from different sides. Ambidextrous basketball players that dribble and shoot with both hands? I shot with my right hand but dribbled better with my left hand.

 

Well, yes. That's why I said "for most people". ;)

 

And you CAN train yourself to switch handedness. In some sports it's almost required. Soccer players often learn to shoot with both feet (though typically one is always going to better than the other). Lacrosse players need to be able to play equally well either handed too (though again, one way is typically better than the other.)

 

I have a friend who used to golf left handed and now golfs right handed. But that's awfully rare. 

post #68 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbostedo View Post

Ever try throwing a ball with the opposite hand that you're used to? Or kicking something with the opposite foot that you're used to? 

Same reason. While the left hand (for a righty) may be important, for most people, the overall swinging motion naturally makes you righty or lefty.
Just try folding your arms opposite of what you normally do and see how strange that feels.

Takes effort and drive.
post #69 of 112

A personal opinion and view:  a golf swing is essentially and under-hand or side-arm throw. 

 

The advantage of using the throwing arm as the "rear or back" arm is that the golfer has already learned a "throwing motion" (*see note far below).  Throwing is a whole body motion most people hard wire into their brains while growing up.  It's easier to overlay existing whole body motions with new requirements.  And humans don't naturally throw from a backhand.  (Which is why the two-handed backhand was developed in tennis.)

 

The process of overlaying an accurate and powerful "throw" onto the arcane requirements of a golf swing is referred to as "golf instruction".  It's efficiency is often in dispute. 

 

 

DETAILS and BLATHER -

The reason the "front or lead" arm should be in control of the golf swing is so the clubhead impacts the ball with the body and applied forces at a peak of force and direction.  The tip of the lead shoulder should be in line with the ball as the lead arm is completely extended with throwing action nearing completion, aka "the release".  This alignment event actually takes place with the arms at different lengths - lead arm is stretched and rear arm is still bent while uncoiling in the throw.  This alignment - lead arm and shoulder in line with the ball at impact - also provides a 3D alignment for the entire whole body motion, the weight shift and a timing point for the release, that is hard wired in the brain as a "throw". 

 

Because accuracy is paramount (club face center to ball center) the alignment needed at impact is best controlled by the lead arm and that side of the body.  (It is the same kind of physics, for example, that means front wheel drive is more stable while rear wheel drive offers more performance.)  The lead hand and arm controls both the radius of the swing, it's direction, and alignment . 

The back hand and arm provide most of the force.  The body provides support and balance to the applied forces and direction.

 

** (Note - a throwing motion is an intricate whole body motion that includes a weight shift, a specific elbow to wrist relationship in motion on the throwing arm coupled with a simultaneous rhythmically timed balancing action of the opposite arm, an elbow and wrist action used to project an object in 3D space toward a target with speed and force, external target awareness, and the subconscious navigation process to actually aim and strike something.) 

post #70 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 And humans don't naturally throw from a backhand. 

 

I hadn't thought about that, but, it's rather brilliant. Thank you. 

post #71 of 112

Then throwing a frisbee wrong handed ought to help tremendously.

post #72 of 112
Thread Starter 

The dog is going to love this new drill. 

post #73 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

Then throwing a frisbee wrong handed ought to help tremendously.

 

Yeah !!   As will a single-handed "old school" tennis backhand.  Try to match a golf shot trajectory - high into the air and landing on a selected target.  Keep in mind the arms make different, yet complimentary, actions in an actual golf swing. 

 

Keep your focus "down the fairway". Fairway or green is always the target. It is what we aim at, what we throw to... not the ball.

Focus, aim and complete your throwing action to the target.   This idea helped me reduce a lot of tension and misplaced force in my swing - softened and redirected the hit impulse.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
 

 

I hadn't thought about that, but, it's rather brilliant. Thank you. 

 

.... too kind!

post #74 of 112
Unfortunately golfing epiphanies based on mechanical swing thoughts rarely hold up over time. They do represent a significant breakthrough and are often the final piece of the puzzle that allows us to play good golf. Unfortunately, that puzzle is always changing, and eventually your isolated swing thought will no longer work. That's OK, because the real epiphany is that your are capable of playing great golf. What you have to do is find a way to make your swing sustainable and reproducible. Many good golfers cycle their swing thoughts to keep their game fresh. Today it may be leading with the left side, perhaps next week focussing on weight transfer or hip rotation may work. The main point is that you have now seen the light, and can envisage yourself as a good golfer. Congrats.
post #75 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

Unfortunately golfing epiphanies based on mechanical swing thoughts rarely hold up over time. They do represent a significant breakthrough and are often the final piece of the puzzle that allows us to play good golf. Unfortunately, that puzzle is always changing, and eventually your isolated swing thought will no longer work. That's OK, because the real epiphany is that your are capable of playing great golf. What you have to do is find a way to make your swing sustainable and reproducible. Many good golfers cycle their swing thoughts to keep their game fresh. Today it may be leading with the left side, perhaps next week focusing on weight transfer or hip rotation may work. The main point is that you have now seen the light, and can envisage yourself as a good golfer. Congrats.

 

True. 

 

And why the whole body movement (throw) and target focus helps.  It is difficult - washing out the habit of chasing swing patterns while changing swing thoughts.  Comes and goes. 

post #76 of 112

That's like how many skiing improved enough to pass L3. I cycled my turn thoughts as I constantly fixed some things and broke others. Although I kept returning back to find the same old things broken again, every cycle through the list I managed to add something new and every cycle included a "think nothing" phase. Eventually there were enough new thoughts to "get me there", After my level 3, I went through 3 seasons of "think nothing" phase that corresponded to a blank slate equivalent of "now you;re ready to learn to ski". Strangely enough that did kick my skiing up another level (at least according to Hoser). With my move to teaching out West and being able to ski full time, the focus now is on visualizing the next level of performance.

 

This my third season of golfing full time. I change my swing thoughts every week. I've made improvements, but I've yet to come close to feeling like I own a technique for more than a couple days.

Arrrrrg - pirate golf!

post #77 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by doski View Post

True. 

And why the whole body movement (throw) and target focus helps.  It is difficult - washing out the habit of chasing swing patterns while changing swing thoughts.  Comes and goes. 

I really like the right handed throwing analogy and have had it many times. I have to be very careful not to throw from the top, which ends up in an over the top move, but the throw from the bottom. They key is delaying the throw until it is underhanded or side arm, as you suggest. I love the extra power it generates when you time it right.
post #78 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post

That's like how many skiing improved enough to pass L3. I cycled my turn thoughts as I constantly fixed some things and broke others. Although I kept returning back to find the same old things broken again, every cycle through the list I managed to add something new and every cycle included a "think nothing" phase. Eventually there were enough new thoughts to "get me there", After my level 3, I went through 3 seasons of "think nothing" phase that corresponded to a blank slate equivalent of "now you;re ready to learn to ski". Strangely enough that did kick my skiing up another level (at least according to Hoser). With my move to teaching out West and being able to ski full time, the focus now is on visualizing the next level of performance.

This my third season of golfing full time. I change my swing thoughts every week. I've made improvements, but I've yet to come close to feeling like I own a technique for more than a couple days.
Arrrrrg - pirate golf!

Yes! Thinking of nothing is the ultimate swing thought. That's a true expression of unconscious competence.
post #79 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post
Yes! Thinking of nothing is the ultimate swing thought. That's a true expression of unconscious competence.

My problem is that works ... until it doesn't. When "no swing thought" doesn't work the result is usually a bad miss instead of a good miss.

post #80 of 112

That's funny, for me, the opposite is easier.  I have to have something in mind. 

It's better when it is external (target) versus internal (move the hip like this!), especially on course.

 

I suspect Rusty doesn't expect each turn in a run to be "perfect" in each and every exact motion.  

 

The same is especially true in golf.  A perfect swing can always create a bad shot.   A perfectly acceptable swing can have either a terrific or truly bad result. 

A poorly struck shot can end up near the pin.  We don't need to "change our swing" or "correct our fault" after every perceived error. 

Sometimes our perception is wrong ("bad result always equals bad swing") or even misguided ("this is not the swing fault you need to correct, move along").

 

And sometimes the universe is just screwing with us. 

post #81 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

That's like how many skiing improved enough to pass L3. I cycled my turn thoughts as I constantly fixed some things and broke others. Although I kept returning back to find the same old things broken again, every cycle through the list I managed to add something new and every cycle included a "think nothing" phase. Eventually there were enough new thoughts to "get me there", After my level 3, I went through 3 seasons of "think nothing" phase that corresponded to a blank slate equivalent of "now you;re ready to learn to ski". Strangely enough that did kick my skiing up another level (at least according to Hoser). With my move to teaching out West and being able to ski full time, the focus now is on visualizing the next level of performance.

 

This my third season of golfing full time. I change my swing thoughts every week. I've made improvements, but I've yet to come close to feeling like I own a technique for more than a couple days.

Arrrrrg - pirate golf!

 

This.  

 

For me, I create and modify a list (far too long, often) of things I want to incorporate into my skiing.  In the past I would choose a number of those things on the list and try to keep a single focus for a run or two, then do the same for the second thing on the list, and on through the day.  But what I found is that I'm good if I'm still thinking about that single focus when I get to the bottom of the run.  Our mountain is crowded; there's too much stimulation and I get side-tracked easily, and sometimes don't realize I've forgotten that I was going to focus on this thing for this run.  Maintaining any focus is therefore issue #1, for me.

 

Issue #2 is keeping the mind on that one focus.  I've found that having two or three in mind is better; cycling through them for a run or two, maybe alternating back and forth with every three turns, means my mind to do what it insists on doing (leave the current focus) while there's still control of where it goes next.  Counting turns (1,2,3 - change focus, 1,2,3, - change focus) is very helpful.  

 

Reviewing in writing how that went at the end of the day is very very good; it means there's a record of what's getting worked on.  Mindless skiing doesn't need to be planned, because it happens on its own so often.  Attention Deficit and all that.

 

I've found there are several measures of progress.  #1- Being able to keep control of the focus pretty much all the time is a success.   #2 - After a while I can "bundle" two alternating focuses together and call them one because the start happening together with all that practice.  They can be conceived of as one unit now; this is a big success because....  #3 .... once that happens, I name the new focus something easy to remember, and alternate that with something else that's been hanging out on the list but not attended to.  Eventually the singles get bundled together in groups, and the alternations of bundled things end up covering more territory.  

 

Fatigue doesn't manifest itself physically for me.  But when my mind wanders repeatedly now, that's a pretty reliable indicator of time to quit.  

 

Some days I choose to do a vague focus all day long, something holistic like "ski it easy, move with grace, be one with the mountain," a pleasant version of mindlessness.  It's good to check in every now and then on these days, to bring the mental surveillance cameras online, check the monitors to see if the things I've been focusing on over the last few weeks are in play.  It's a "pop test."  If yes, then time for fireworks, and a celebration later.  Stuff's getting embedded!  

 

Epiphanies are something different.  They are the sudden realizations that come in the midst of doing something in a new way, then mentally comparing it to the old way.  Shazaaam!!!  Sudden realization floods in about the relationship of the new to the old, how the former is so much better than the latter.  The new way often happens during one of those mindless times when there is no program directing what's going on.  So mindlessness and focus are both necessary.  

 

But then I don't play golf.  


Edited by LiquidFeet - 10/11/16 at 3:31pm
post #82 of 112

@nolo

 

Check out this video tip from Hank Haney. Does it fit with your epiphany?

post #83 of 112

Haney "proper release" demo and discussion is good as well.

post #84 of 112
Thread Starter 

I think it's all about the grip -- I don't grip with my right hand hardly at all, whereas I used to grip mostly with my right hand. Now it's the opposite for all strokes, and what a difference! I theorize that because my entire left upper body is weaker than my right, this forces me to use better body mechanics -- e.g., the back of my left hand is in the right place at impact because I'm not overgripping with my right hand.   

post #85 of 112

In skiing, the equivalent is alignment. If you're not aligned, you have a fundamental disadvantage to being able to perform. If golf, grip is part of the 3 fundamentals that most golf instructors start with (grip, stance and alignment). For beginners, a too weak or too strong grip can be the root cause that influences their swing errors that keeps them at the beginner/intermediate level. But grip is different in that sometimes some pros change their grip on purpose (e.g. tighten the hold for shots out of thick rough, or weaken or strengthen the grip for draws/fades/bunker/flop shots. 

 

In racquetball, I had a similar epiphany in my first racquetball lesson. The one thing taught for the entire lesson was to watch the ball all the time. This seems like a ridiculous waste of learning time. But it was amazing to learn how much time I was actually getting out of position in certain situations where a focus on keeping the ball in view (instead of assuming where it was going to go and trying to anticipate getting into the right position) helped me be in the correct court position more. Getting into a better position was all I needed to do to hit better shots (vs swing mechanics or shot selection). Watching the ball 100% of the time was all I needed to do to get into better positions. Learning when and where to watch by turning your head and when to watch by turning your body made a huge difference. Finding out how often I was not actually watching the ball was the first step. It turned out this stupidly simple epiphany was pretty complicated.

post #86 of 112
Thread Starter 

An epiphany is something like "the key that unlocks all the doors." I suppose it differs depending on the individual, and I suspect it will relate to something fundamental in most cases. 

post #87 of 112

I once had an epiphany that lasted for three days. When it was all over, I couldn't remember a thing.

post #88 of 112

One recent epiphany I’ve had is this: although I’ve loved skiing bumps for many years, there was always something I felt I was doing wrong. Too much effort was going into it and although it’s my favorite thing, not to mention unavoidable where I ski, something was always off. Pointing my tips down as I roll over the top of the bump always stymied me. My body just didn’t get it, trying to push my tips down.  I asked my last instructor about this, how you do it. Standing there, all he did was to pick up one of his feet with no effort: his toe went down, his heal up. It happens naturally when you pick up your damn foot! No pushing tips down, they just go down when I pick up my feet. From that point on bumps became delightful, not delightfully-physically-challenging. It’s the simplest change in mindset, away from effort, toward the effortless. I see that trying harder physically is often not the answer.

post #89 of 112

I've had two skiing "epiphanies" the past two seasons, both of which I got from other sports.  Probably neither one will be earth-shattering to the rest of you, but they've helped me:

 

1.  Ski light.  I got this from running.  A lot of (untrained) runners pound the pavement.  Some of their energy is going vertically down rather than forward. Also, have you sometimes passed a runner and heard him/her scrape the pavement with every step?  They're dissipating energy -- converting it to friction -- that their own body has created and which could have been used for forward motion.  What you should do (as my son's XC coach explained to him and he to me) is to visualize yourself gliding lightly forward across the surface.  It's helped me in running, and skiing.

 

2.   Focus on where you want to go, not what you want to avoid.  I got this from mountain biking.  I've known and tried to practice this for years in the biking context, but it wasn't until last season that I realized that it applies to skiing glades and moguls as well.  (Related to this: supposedly, when the pitching coach walks out to the mound, he avoids saying to the pitcher "don't throw a curve", but instead says something positive, like: "throw your heater".)

 

$.02... 

post #90 of 112

I had an epiphany playing my keyboard tonight and I hope to be able to tie it into skiing.  In the effortless mastery zone.

 

I closed my eyes while I was playing (which we all sometimes do) and I started to notice how much more melodically I was playing.  I had no problem finding the right notes, in fact the mental act of imagining where that note was made my playing more from a creative well vs. when I'm looking at the keyboard it's more of an intellectual thing.

 

I went back and forth - eyes open, eyes closed.  Then I played looking forward, never down at my fingers, around the room, etc.  Similar to playing with eyes closed.

 

The epiphany being that doing something from a focused zone from the imagination*, rather than from a controlling intellectual level yields a better result.

 

Definitely can't wait to ski this season with this in mind.

 

*can't really find the right word here.  maybe it's from a visualization.  

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