Building Golf Motions Like A Snowball
By Greg Schulze
This piece isn’t designed to describe the details of each golf shot, but to ask the reader to consider building their swings from small to big motions following proven motor skill research.
The SNOWBALL LEARNING THEORY states that motor skill development should start with small motions (putting) and build into larger swings (chipping to pitching to full swings). “There’s a putt inside every chip, a chip inside every pitch and a pitch inside every full swing.” By following the snowball theory, the swing is built gradually and efficiently into the full-sized swing.
Putting is the core to golf and the beginning of golf’s add-ons. ALL bigger swings in golf will have the putting stroke “inside them.” The best imagery for the most efficient putting stroke is the “Y” formed by both arms and the putter shaft. The most efficient putting stroke begins, maintains, and finishes with the “Y” and maintains a stable body.
Chipping is an ADD-ON to putting. With a slightly different set-up, simply add some wrist hinge to match the amount of arm swing needed in the backswing and add some hip pivot in the downswing.
Pitching (always higher and usually longer) is an ADD-ON to chipping. Simply add more arms swing, more wrist hinge and a NEW source of energy, the stretching of the muscles behind the lead shoulder. Allow greater hip pivot in the downswing for greater energy.
Full Swing is an ADD-ON to pitching. Add even more arm swing, wrist hinge and body coil to complete the backswing. Allow free and full hip pivot followed by free arm swing in the downswing-into-impact and finish facing the target.
By following these add-on prescriptions, your full swing will eventually ONLY have the minimum required moving parts without sacrificing any of the energy desired. This efficiency of motion is why you might watch the players on TV and react with “they make it look so easy!” Don’t always start your practice session on the range. Start on the putting green and follow the add-ons listed above. “There’s a putt inside every chip, a chip inside every pitch and a pitch inside every full swing.” Just as a snowball starts small, but gets bigger as it rolls down the hill, building your golf game should follow the same “add-ons” progression.