Introduction from The Athletic Fundamentals of Golf

This book began as a brainstorming exercise as I organized my thoughts about my discovery. I had been working for years with a variety of golf students – different heights, weights, ages, flexibilities, strengths, weaknesses – when I realized that golfers, every golfer, could dramatically improve their game, their athleticism, and their fitness from exercises I’d been working on with the Med Ball.

I had been throwing a Med Ball (the old Medicine Ball of boxing movies, but not that sweat-stained leather version) in my workouts and as a training exercise to teach golf since the mid-90’s. I’d found that with virtually every student, the Med Ball was a very effective tool for assessing his or her athleticism and movement patterns. As I threw the Med Ball to my students and had them throw it back, I simply observed what was happening.

Time and time again, throwing the Med Ball exaggerated weaknesses, lack of coordination, inefficient movement, or demonstrated strengths. The Med Ball – a rubber ball of various weights available at most sporting goods stores – became my talisman, my eureka moment trigger in a lifelong pursuit of teaching everyone who picks up a golf club how to strike the ball as well as they possibly can.

It took me years of observing and experimenting with various exercises before the idea was triggered to develop a process to improve Sequencing and coordination. I was many years into throwing a Med Ball before I had the thought to identify a variety of swing tendencies with the Med Ball. Upon realizing that I could identify swing tendencies, I found that I could positively impact swing tendencies with the Med Ball as well. Initially my creative process was primarily driven by trial and error and deductive reasoning. As I identified the physics and natural laws that eventually turned into the 8 Athletic Movement Principles, the process became inductive – I could use the principles to think critically and creatively with respect to movement and golf technique.

Experiencing the feel of an athletic golf swing is a completely different experience than having the golf swing described or reading about it. The goal of this book is to help you use one simple tool, a Med Ball, to feel your golf swing. The sensations of balance, strength, power, speed, release, relaxation, arm swing, and leg action can all be felt using my Med Ball Exercises and applying the 8 Athletic Movement Principles.

If you have never really felt a strong, powerful athletic golf swing, the Med Ball Exercises will give you that uniquely pleasurable sensory experience. 

The seven Med Ball Exercises in this book will help you learn the 8 Athletic Movement Principles. The skills you acquire doing the Med Ball Exercises will transfer to your golf swing: how to move with rhythm, how to maintain your balance during the swing, how to develop skill specific strength, power, speed, accuracy, endurance and coordination to help you be the best golfer you can be.

The Med Ball Exercises described in this book have been used to help my students learn how to move athletically and powerfully, Sequencing movement that is similar in timing and motion to the golf swing. The exercises have the effect of exaggerating the sensations of motion in various parts of the golf swing and they will help you to:

*Ingrain the feeling of a powerful, correctly Sequenced movement

*Learn efficient golf technique

* Build your physical capacity to support your golf technique

The benefits of the Med Ball exercises are fully realized when golfers perform a large number of correct, quality repetitions in conjunction with golf skill training. It is a common practice for my students to move back and forth between the Med Ball Exercises and golf swing practice several times in a single training session.

I believe that technique is driven by movement so I would define an 8 AMP Golf Swing as a movement based technique within the parameters of the 8 Athletic Movement Principles. I’m most interested in how an individual moves within the principles and how he or she applies the principles – critically and creatively. 

This fully integrated exercise and technical training program will build your physiology and coordination as you develop your skills and understanding. From this standpoint, training and skill development for golf is quite similar to training for a discipline like martial arts, track and field, or a musical instrument. As the general skills and capacity build, very specific skills sets are also developed and optimized. Speed and power will also increase.

Golf is a game of skill, and skill is developed as a cumulative effect of correct, deliberate practice and preparation. Skill has a physiological basis. You must have the physical capacity to perform your skills for the desired duration to become proficient at golf. To perform consistently and at the highest level possible, you need stability of the required skills. You must be able to create enough energy, maintain focus for the required amount of time and handle the cumulative physical and mental stress of playing golf, whether it is for one

round of a tournament or a whole season. An integrated training program for golf should have at least three objectives.

  1. Building resistance to stress
  2. Conditioning with specific application to golf
  3. Skill specific training

Objective number one can be achieved by manipulating the volume and intensity of exercise during blocks of training and monitoring and controlling aspects of your lifestyle for a specific effect. This book addresses points two and three by providing you with a fully integrated golf training and skill development program. The Med Ball Exercises are simple, most people can perform very basic movements well in a short period of time.

My goal is to help everyone learn the golf swing and play golf with as little thinking as possible. The more often you perform the exercises correctly, the stronger your instincts will be to move in a powerful, coordinated fashion. The more you can learn non-verbally, the better. That’s what my 8 Athletic Movement Principles are all about.

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