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As I return from Orlando I would like to share with you my experiences from the Golf Magazine Top 100 Summit. I was honored to be invited to speak at this event and given the opportunity to present the science of rotation alongside my co-presenter Lance Gill. Our Rotational Power lecture was well received and sparked a lot of questions from coaches looking for a deeper understanding of how the physiology of rotation affects the golf swing.
There were so many amazing presentations but I thought I would share with you some of the highlights and topics that resonated with me personally. The theme set out by the hosts Mark Blackburn and John Tattersall was #MakingTheGameBetter. It started with the scene from Top Gun where Goose and Mav are introduced to their commanding officer. “ You are the best of the best gentlemen…….. “ With great power comes great responsibility. The future of golf requires the leaders to share and collectively grow the game. This set the stage for an amazing 2 days of sharing and passionate debate over technique, science and coaching philosophy.
Without any further adieu, here are my highlights:
- James Leitz speaks on Living the D-Plane and starts off with a brilliant animated video of him coaching a student who knows everything and is completely oblivious to their own ball flight shortcomings. It was hilarious. James has an amazing ability to demonstrate complex concepts using diagrams, models and anything else he can get his hands on to help describe the science of ball flight.
- Chris Como looked at Ground Reaction Forces and had the ingenious idea to jump off a high dive platform and perform a golf swing in mid flight. This essentially removed the use of the ground to create rotational forces. What ensued was entertaining and educational. Apparently you need the ground to play golf. Good thing for golf courses! Im sure Como is still trying to get the water out of his ears.
- Joe Hallet really impressed me. He shared stories of how he worked through challenges with his players and more importantly how he learns form his players as much they learn from him. One of the quotes I loved from him was he wanted to “make training harder than golf”. Joe reminded me of an old football coach I had that led the most grueling practices I ever experienced. He would tell us that you need to practice so hard that playing the game on Sunday feels like a day off! Hallett’s LPGA players are strong, well conditioned athletes as Joe is passionate about golf fitness and it’s contribution to golf performance. In fact he said that when in a time crunch, his players would give up practice time to fit in a workout. His practice routines challenge the player’s abilities and pushed them to progress beyond their expectations. What I got most from his presentation was how humble, authentic and caring this amazing coach is.
- My favorite presentation of the whole summit came from Dr. Bhrett McCabe. His topic was Behavior Change for Golf. He framed his lecture by sharing a personal story from his days as collegiate pitcher. The story outlined how he faced fear throughout his career and how it lead him to become a Sports Psych. The fear he spoke of was not a fear of failure but instead a fear of success. Wow! If he succeeded on the mound it would create expectation and place him in situations that he was uncomfortable with like pitching against the best. His story telling ability mixed with a refreshing perspective on maximizing mental performance was amazing. What I loved about his talk was he doesn’t focus all his energy in getting a player in “the zone” but instead prepares the player for when it goes bad. This is so refreshing because players are rarely in the zone but regularly experience hardship and loss of confidence or self-belief. This is when you need coping skills and help from your sport psych. This requires an accurate appraisal of the situation at hand and an appropriate response to that situation. An appraisal guided by emotion is largely inaccurate compared to what is reality. This man is the future of Sport Psych for golf. Look out world!
Well there you have it. Thanks to Mark Blackburn, John Tattersall and David DeNunzio for their hospitality and for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event. I learnt a ton, met new friends, and leave with a new found passion to do my part in #MakingTheGameBetter. Cheers, Coach Glass