Learning New Movements

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We know that the golf swing is difficult to learn in part because there are so many moving parts.

Indeed, it is a complex motor skill that involves multiple limbs and segments and learning them all at once is quite the challenge. In 1967 Soviet neurophysiologist, Nikolai Bernstein, identified this problem and described a strategy in which motor learning researchers now refer to as freezing the degrees of freedom. His solution was to control or “freeze” the many degrees of freedom associated with the coordination demands of that skill.

In golf, this involves holding some joint rigid (i.e. “freezing” them) while performing the skill. Often I start beginners off with one arm only drills to manage the movement of one limb segment at a time. With practice, the “frozen” joints will begin to become “unfrozen” and operate in a way that allows cooperation with multiple segments.

Short pitch or chip shots are another great way to freeze degrees of freedom. These swings contain critical elements of the full swing in them (center contact, weight favoring the front foot by impact, no scooping of the wrists) but without the full backswing or follow through. By working on your short shots, you are inadvertently using this strategy.

Even accomplished players can benefit from this isolation drill as a diagnostic to see what each limb is doing – particularly those who have played for a long time and want to break a habit or play a different sport that has a different movement. In either case, this player may want to alter an established coordination pattern. What is interesting is that as hard as it may be to overcome distinct movement biases (those who play tennis regularly know what I’m talking about), it is indeed possible to overcome them but it takes a lot of practice. Isolating degrees of freedom is a great way to practice – even in your home without a club or a ball!

The beginning learner (or even an advanced learner who is making an adjustment to an existing movement), solving this degree of freedom problem is critical part of the learning process. The next time you are warming up, try building your swing in stages and check your technique as you go. You might be surprised how well you can self-diagnose.

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You’re on the range. You’ve seen the alignment rods. You wonder how to use them...... With the @theopen coming up at @royalportrushgolfclub it will be interesting to see the players aim. With hardly any trees or other visual markers to use, they will have to find intermediate targets on the fairway. Many players do this already but it becomes a must for those who don’t. Here I’m using @bubbawhips 💕 for practice. I think having two is helpful because the first one you use to set your target line (where you want the ball to end up) and the second one set parallel to that on the ground. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ 💙 Apparel: @jlindebergsport ⠀⠀⠀ 🖤 Hardware: @titleist @scottycameron @vokeywedges 💚 Kicks: @gfore
Are you, or do you know someone who is thinking about starting golf? . Whether it’s you or someone you love, encourage it! This game is incredible at bringing unlikely people together whether it’s on the golf course or in conversation. There is no way I would have met the great Christine Lagarde @Christinelagarde (former head of the IMF and next president of the European Central Bank, Forbes Top 100 most influential women in the world, #3) and Jane Harman (former congresswoman from CA, and now head of the Wilson Center). These two incredibly bright and inspirational women, were so much fun to teach. What an honor and privilege to have had that time. . Happy Bastille Day! 🇫🇷 @christinelagarde @jlindebergofficial @jlindebergsport
So this was a fun round.
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Brilliant moment in sports. Umpire steals the show during Invitation Doubles | Wimbledon 2019 https://t.co/S3EZpHR1PV via @YouTube
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Lots of ways to make the club move. https://t.co/3mFos4gxz8