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I was fortunate enough to be apart of the 2013 Southern California section PGA Spring Teaching Summit this year along with Titleist and I learned a lot. This year Mark Blackburn (fellow TPI certified) presented on golf instruction and he brought up some great info on practice that I would like to share with you here.

I was impressed when Mark suggested the idea of practicing your swing without a ball. His reasoning was such that when we practice the golf swing we are practicing fundamentals (grip, alignment, posture, backswing pivot, and downswing pivot) . When we miss a shot its typically one of those factors that contribute to the miss hit. His goal as an instructor is to teach his students to understand where they went wrong so that the student can better self correct.

Fundamental drills such as grip, posture, backswing, etc are feel related therefore we should take the time to practice whatever cues we are given to better feel what we need to do. Mark’s suggestion is to practice these things without a ball to promote better focus on feeling what we need to. When we place a ball down on the range and hit it the distractions of ball flight, path, distance, etc over power our feel and we may or may not learn what we are trying to learn as a result. All that being said our practice sessions should include time for fundamental training (no ball practice), as well as ball striking practice. I have been using it and I am enjoying the outcome so far.

Try this the next time you go practice:

30 minutes session example

1) Fundamental Practice 1- Backswing NO Ball

2-3 min practicing backswing pivot. Feel your trail hip load every time you take your backswing.

Take a break for a couple of min to refocus, check your phone, etc

2) Fundamental Practice 2- Downswing NO Ball

2-3 min practicing downswing movement. Practice feeling a weight transfer from your trail leg into your lead leg through the downswing.

Take a break for a couple of min

3) Ball Striking- Random Shots

For the remainder of your time, pick a different club and different target for each swing.

Practicing this way is great because you take some time to develop feel with your fundamentals. Now remember what I listed above is just an example. I know my issues are in my backswing and downswing so I have been focusing on these drills. Your needs maybe different so add in what you are working on instead (grip, alignment, posture) and work with those with NO Ball to start your practice session and to develop a better feel. After your fundamental practice take random shots (varying clubs and target) rather than hitting the same shot over and over again. This is a great way to practice ball striking, after all you never take the same shot twice on the course.

**Edit** Mark just corrected me via twitter and said he does use the ball for some of his Fundamental Drills such as down swing and alignment, but at the summit did mention the using some drills without. I am waiting to hear back from him for some more clarification, but I do like the idea of no ball practice to develop feel.

***Edit*** Mark suggested using the ball in some fundamental drills particularly downswing and alignments

I would like to thank the Southern California section PGA for having RFK Training at the 2013 Spring Teaching Summit this year and I would also like to thank Mark Blackburn of Blackburn Golf for allowing me to assist you out there. I hope I am relaying your information out well!

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Gray Cook (creator of the Functional Movement Screen and advisory board member of the Titleist Performance Institute) is a well recognized leader in the area of rehab, post rehab and performance training. I recently came across a great video clip that he put out regarding Stabilization Training. Its a quick video but its packed with a lot of great info. I use reflexive stability to help my golfers out all the time.  At the end of the day, golfers need to be in good alignment and a good position to have your brain reflexively fire to give you integrity. If you are out of position and your primary movers (aka mirror muscles) are firing to stabilize you, they cant do their job of moving leading to poor balance and mobility and ultimately compensation.

Check out the video below for some more info on it!


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