If you’re a golf instructor, and you have access to the Tathata videos, you should watch the Day 8 video, even if you do nothing else.
Since I bought the DVDs, they allow me skip around and watch what I want. I’m not doing that, because I believe in the power of sequencing when it comes to learning a movement and mastering it. (In fact, I had them change the online settings to turn off the “look at anything” property, because it was easier to take the tests that way.)
But if you’re a golf instructor, you should really go to Day 8 and watch his analysis of the great swings, even if you do nothing else with the program.
Peter Kostis and his Konica Minolta BizHub Swing Vision Camera not withstanding, and not withstanding the many YouTube videos that look at different aspects of the swing, Bryan Kepler does the best swing analysis I have ever seen, bar none. In particular, he shows some important swing elements that are commonly misunderstood — and that are generally taught in a way that only serves to pass on the misunderstanding.
On Day 8, he shows the greats performing those movements — Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tiger Woods, and many more. If you’re teaching golf, you owe it to yourself to watch that video, to better understand the movements you’re teaching.
Surf the Knees
Around the 30:10 mark, he starts looking at common misunderstandings, including what he calls “surfing the knees”, and shows the greats doing it.
That movement turns out to be a pretty important detail! In most all of the golf instruction I ever had, it never came up — so I was laboring under one of the common misconceptions that afflict the vast majority golfers.
The GolfTEC series identified the need for it, in order to shallow out the club so it can’t help but travel an in-to-out path, but that series never really succeeded in getting me to do it. For one thing, I was trying to break an ingrained habit of long standing. For another, I never really understood exactly what it was I needed to do, or when to do it.
I began to get the move around Day 4 in the Tathata program, as a result of the movement patterns that were being trained and ingrained as part of the process. And that, I believe, is the major reason that I finished my day at Metropolitan with the same ball I started with, and never hit one banana slice all day — after only 4 days! (See My Best Game Ever.)
Important for Teachers
Movements like “surfing the knees” are so widely misunderstood that they’re rarely taught. As a golf instructor, you no doubt developed a pretty decent swing. But you may have done so without ever being taught that particular movement.
If you were taught it, you’re one of the lucky ones. But most of the instruction I’ve seen has used terms like “bump the hips” or “twist the hips” — neither of which is an effective description for what is actually happening in that movement. So even if you have that move, odds are that it’s because you discovered it yourself, not because you were taught it.
In fact, given that you have the confidence to teach, it is pretty nearly a certainty that you have a decent swing. So I’ll bet you actually have the correct move — one you developed after many hours on the course and at the range. But without an analytical framework for understanding of it, the odds are that you don’t teach it, either. And leaving it out probably leaves your students struggling — likely for a very long time!
I’m particularly focused on that one move at the moment, because it’s a move that was missing in my swing. GolfTEC identified the need for it, but it was Tathata that put it there. (See GolfTEC vs. Tathata.)
And that’s just one move. There’s a lot more coming up. Heck, I’m only halfway through the Day 8 video, and there are still another 52 days left in the program!
So, if you’re a teacher, please make it a point to review Day 8, to be sure that what you’re teaching matches the techniques used by the best players in the game.
On behalf of your students, I want to thank you for doing that! Because while we will never perform at the same level those guys did, we can at least attempt to emulate them. But if the people who are teaching us never really understand what those guys were actually doing, we’ll never know what we should be doing, and our attempts at emulation will be doomed from the outset.
Bonus Extra: Day 5 Stretching
Just in case you’re not entirely sure that Bryan Hepler is, in fact, a consummate athlete, you should try the Day 5 “Stretching” program — which also includes a strength component. I have to admit that my early impressions were a bit off. I was happy to learn what he had to teach, but I didn’t think he looked like an athlete — until I got to Day 5.
I’m not ashamed to tell you: That day kicked my butt. And here was Bryan demonstrating position after position with his two helpers, all in real time. His flexibility and strength were both pretty darn impressive — not to mention his stamina. So if you were to watch one other day, I’d suggest Day 5. You find it as impressive as I did.
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