A Good Rehearsal Swing Boosts Your Game

A Good Rehearsal Swing Boosts Your Game

By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Tiger Woods knows how important it is to make a perfect practice swing: ‘Practice swings,’ he says, ‘help reinforce my swing keys and promote good swing thoughts. Rehearsal swings have helped me with one of my main goals while I play, i.e., to fully commit to every swing.’

‘If you make a cursory practice swing without full commitment, it’s a wasted motion. I see the same thing among my amateur playing partners in the pro-ams. I also see players make practice swings that don’t fit the intended shot. That’s a real waste of time and energy.’

Golf’s GPS

There are two reasons Tiger is correct. The first is the “GPS” trace. Located throughout your body are tiny sensors that make up the golfer’s proprioception system (GPS). The sensors report to your brain what is going on in their district — what the joints are doing, what’s happening in the stretch receptors in the muscles, how much force is being applied as you hold your golf posture, etc. Your brain needs this information to make a coordinated swing. Even though most of your proprioceptive adjustments are unconscious, you can train this super-sense through a practice routine that installs it in your motor memory. You can promote the proper use of your GPS by using rehearsal swings, one of the simplest intervention strategies. This practice motion improves your movement intelligence by using the proprioceptive trace, an after-effect that lingers in your sense memory.

Swinging a weighted club leaves a trace in your sensory tracking system that makes your driver feel incredibly light. Likewise, when you make a perfect practice swing, that trace will remain long enough to cue up your real swing.

Brain security

The second reason Tiger is right on about the efficacy of practice swings has to do with your brain’s warning center. Your golfer’s brain goes on scan while you play, as it looks for assurances that everything is OK, i.e., all the challenges are being managed. The brain’s safety center is located in the amygdala, a walnut-sized piece of tissue designed to warn your brain when a threat/error is detected. It provides full-time security before and after the swing, but it also monitors during the swing using swing keys you have installed through practice. In addition to their other functions, swing keys provide notice to the amygdala that the swing plan is progressing as programmed. Basically, you want the amygdala to monitor your swing keys as proof that your plan is unfolding correctly. When this is the case, there is no alarm and therefore no need for compensations.

Takeaway: Both swing keys and rehearsal swings provide a valuable service by promoting commitment before, during, and after the swing. When you play golf with a calm amygdala, it makes golf seem so easy.

A Good Rehearsal Swing Boosts Your Game

A good warmup programs the brain for the upcoming challenges.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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