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How Should I Practice?

How Should I Practice?

How do you practice your swing? Did you know that how you practice can affect how you learn?  What we do can either help gain/retain skills or hinder your progress altogether.  With that being said, there are a couple of different ways we can practice to acquire or improve a skill and they are:

Blocked Practice-

We’ve all done it, gone to the range got a large bucket and went after it hitting the same club over and over again mindlessly.  It great when you are first starting out as it teaches/trains the left side of the brain which is responsible for sequence and order. Left brain training really likes order like: A, B, C, D… and is great for someone just starting out or really trying to refine a feel but will quickly lose its effectiveness if over used. Great for training how to grip the club, or setup routine, but quickly loses effectiveness when hitting shot after shot.

This is a photo of Roy Khoury and Tim Mitchell, PGA Roy_Khoury_Fitness

Randomized Practice-

Random practice is practicing how you would play. So you can either use playing a few holes as random practice or even use a range session to practice different distances or shot shapes with the same club, or utilizing a different club per shot. Random practice is more like actually playing golf, and actually helps you build the ability to problem solve while working on your skill.

When you are new to a sport or movement its good to challenge the left brain in repetition, logical and objective goal setting.  When you are proficient with your task, random practice helps challenge the right brain and its creativity, thought and performance. That being said, both types of practice are helpful for acquiring and improving your game, they just access different parts of the brain and challenge you in different ways, so its good to understand both and how both can help you.  See how it works for you!

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Golf WRX

1 Leg Hip Hinge

Golf WRX Article- October 1st, 2016

Load and Explode

As you may have seen, I have been featured on Golf WRX with another article. This article is titled           “3 Drills to train a more efficient turn in your golf swing” and is all about creating a better stretch-reflex.  To read the full article, you can check it out HERE.

The Article from Golf WRX

We have all heard the phrase “load and explode,” but what does that mean? Well, “loading” is all about stretching into the muscle tissue before “exploding” or contracting that muscle tissue to create movement. It’s my working theory that if golfers can learn how to better load few key areas (ankles, hips, and the core, to name a few), they can improve their consistency and performance on the course.

In the video, I offer three exercises that can help golfers train a more efficient turn in their swing. They use something called eccentric loading, a component of flexibility. Typically when we think of flexibility, our thoughts go to muscle length. While that is important, it is also essential to have good elasticity of that muscle tissue, which is what eccentric loading is all about.

The goal of eccentric loading is to create elasticity through a stretch reflex, so the exercises require golfers to focus on the stretch portion of the patterns, or “loading.” Doing so can help them learn how to better load their achilles/calves, lateral hamstrings, glutes, obliques and core, which can improve their ability to deliver the club on the right path and help prevent swing faults such as early extension, sway/slide and reverse spine angle.

Keep in mind that both muscle elasticity and length are important, and for that reason I always recommend that golfers see a certified golf fitness instructor for an assessment to address each golfer’s specific needs.

For more information on golf fitness and fitness in general, check outwww.roykhouryfitness.com or feel free to email me royfkhoury@gmail.com

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Warming Up for Golf

Lumbar locked trunk rotation

Golfers! Looking for a great warm up to do before your workout, or even your round?

Check out this quick, yet simple yet challenging warm up routine for you core!

It’s a great way to warm up your core in all 3 planes of motion:

  1. Flexion
  2. Extension
  3. Rotation

Give these drills a shot and let me know how you like them!

If you are interested in getting a evaluation and finding drills that are specific to your needs, we can set up either an in person or online session.

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Trunk Rotation

All 4’s Trunk Rotations

One of the places people struggle moving from the most is the in the thoracic spine (aka t-spine or the rib cage). This is the area of your spine between your neck and lower back that attaches to your ribs. This area encases your vital organs like the lungs and heart, and stomach and if it doesn’t move well it can affect breathing, and digestion, but I digress.

Can you arch your spine backward, round it forward and rotate it in each direction? If you can’t then certain movements, like the golf swing can become less accurate. There is a big relationship between poor trunk motion and poor swing paths.  Check out this drill called All 4’s Trunk Rotation too help improve your thoracic spine and rib cage mobility!  Try 2 sets of 5 in each direction and let me know what you think!

 

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Remodel Time!!!

After 2.5 years we are remodeling the studio! Stay tuned for more information on new classes, workshops and training!

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How to Create Rotational Strength

Lumbar locked trunk rotation

Learning to rotate through the proper areas/joints is something we spend a good bit of time refining with our golfers.  Learning to access the core and stabilize lower body against upper body movement- and vise versa- is pretty important when it comes to functional strength (click here for an article on functional strength).

Below is an example of what a basic mini program for Rotational Strengthtrunk rotation drill

Above is the start position for lumbar locked thoracic rotation.

Lumbar locked trunk rotation

Trunk rotation from a short kneeling position

The first drill focuses on mobility of the trunk (thoracic spine) which tends to be sticky for most people. It’s called a lumbar locked trunk rotation. The idea is to work for more rotation from the thoracic spine and rob cage while protecting the lower back.

 

 

In the finished position, you should push through the down arm to create extension as well as rotation. Remember the spine likes to straighten out or extend and rotate.

 

 

Oblique loading drill

This is a core drill to promote rotation through the lower body and core

 

The next drill is called a mountain climber with cross body rotation.  This is great drill to teach proper loading and unloading of the obliques.

 

Push Up Position (elevated)

This is starting point for this drill

 

 

I like this as a rotational drill for training upper body and arm stability with core driven lower body rotation.

 

 

 

These are 2 of the drills expanded upon, if you watch the video above you will see a couple more that require lower body stability and upper body driven movement.  This is a very short and basic routine but is pretty effective on checking off a lot of boxes for a golfer’s common needs for creating rotational strength. Feel free to reach out for an evaluation or a session specific to you.

 

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Functional Strength

Turkish Get Ups
Turkish Get Ups

Roy Khoury working with a juniors group class teaching get-ups

How do I obtain Functional Strength?

Do you strength train? I hope so. Strength is needed when building power especially for the golf swing.  If you aren’t lifting to improve your Functional Strength you might be strong but you aren’t going to optimize what you got.

What do I mean by that?
Functional strength- to me- means a couple of things:

  • Can you maintain a good spine position through your lifts?

I call it working on your “spinal hygiene”. Strength, and energy transference are highly dependent on you keeping a good spine through your sub maximal lifts. If not you will get stronger but it will be through cheating.

  • Do you train strength through all planes of motion?

The human body can move forward/backward, side to side, and in rotation. If you are an athlete, managing your body in balance and strength through all these ranges of motion becomes important. Depending on your sport, some planes of motion can be more important than other but guess what functional strength takes this into consideration.

  • Is your body in balance with strength?

To check balance of strength, one assessments I might start with is from the Titleist Performance Institute (www.myTPI.com). This test looks at the athlete’s ability to demonstrate strength, speed and power for golf (and all rotary sports really). We have metrics that allow us (TPI Certified) to know if you are in balance with upper body, lower body and core strength and power.

If have any questions, or would like to schedule your appointment, feel free to reach out!

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FOOT ACTION IN BACKSWING

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Last night I was working with a golf fitness client and we were talking about hip strategies (click here for a video example of a hip hinge with rotation) and how it relates to setup and backswing mechanics. After coaching his movement, we noticed his feet were not very stable and he was relying on his toes too much causing him to lose balance the same way he would in his downswing. That reminded of an article from Golf Digest titled “Jack Nicklaus: My Lifetime Principles For Great Golf”.

In the article Jack discussed his 6 principles that helped him through his golf career, and his 4th principle was on footwork.

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Jack quoted Jim Flick as saying holding the instep of your backfoot down keeps your right hip in check and I completely agree with that. Engaging the instep of the foot helps the hip stabilize in internal rotation (or in non-jibberish terms, working from your instep helps you pivot through the hip with sliding). In the same article Jack says ¦impact is a result of rolling your ankles back and forth which I also agree with. One drill I like using to teach this in is called Single Leg Hip Hinge with Rotation (seen below). What you will find in this drill is that as you hinge forward (first part of the drill) you need good balance throughout your foot, and as you rotation the hips open and closed (second part of the drill) you need to subtly roll your ankle very much in the same way you do in the golf swing to maintain control. If you have trouble with foot work, or sway/slide in your swing, I would suggest trying 5 repetitions on each side to build awareness of how the foot and hip relate to each other in rotation. Enjoy!

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(Click here for the video link)

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SOUTHLAND GOLF COVER (SEPTEMBER 2013)

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Roy Khoury of RFK Training was featured on the cover and interviewed by the editor of Southland Golf Magazine for the September Health and Wellness issue.

You can view the article (click here) at the Southland Golf website under the fitness section, titled Moving right along

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Roy Khoury of RFK Training showing a golf fitness movement for the cover of Southland Golf Magazine

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FUNDAMENTALS

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!