Bull 3D Philosophies
Bull 3D believes there are four main questions we should always ask when attempting to solve swing and injury patterns - using 3D biomechanics to identify:
- Is it the body structure/frame that is making the swing breakdown?
- Is the swing making the body frame adapt (common in injury occurrence)?
- What are the swing, club, ball, segment, joint, muscle, etc. reacting to?
- How do we make sustainable, responsible change in golfers?
With these questions at the front of our mind when working with players, using the concept that there are no swing faults just patterns, highlighting where the first breakdown lays and what it is being influenced by is crucial in understanding what the swing, ball, club, body segment, joint/muscle, etc. are reacting to. With this philosophy in mind, a swing comprises three main components - initial breakdown, compensation (how the player moves around the problem) and recovery (how the golfer finds impact and make it all work). This will allow us to identify where the problems lay and what they are being driven by. Below is a diagram showing typically what the swing/body breakdowns are influenced by:
Let's look at each of these in a little more detail.
What players are exposed to, read, observe etc. will influence their view of the world and how bodies function in swing. Therefore, misconceptions are hugely influential in why golfers move and swing in the way they do. Effectively, the player is reacting to a misconception which they are simply attempting to move around to make the swing work. This is where clear language is crucial, as often using common phrases - such as 'shoulder rotation' where in fact it is actually the ribcage that rotates around the spine which is what rotates the trunk - can influence the player's view of movement. Words often create the problem, so using clear language without pollution is vital in allowing the player to self-discover and be able to understand how they see/feel the move rather than being driven by a slightly misguided term.
In short, if the body doesn't have the ability to move in the way that the golfer would like it to, it will simply find a way of accommodating the move elsewhere. We know what the task is in golf and we will use all available resource available to complete the task. For example, if there is insufficient thoracic spine rotation available, then the body will self-regulate and ask other segments to do more to accommodate what the thoracic spine isn't currently able to do. Therefore, the segment that is having to compensate will often be seen as the bad guy, although it is simply compensating for the segment that is not able to do its job properly. This can be a common cause of injury, as the recovery moves that players use to move around problems often then cause overload around muscles, joints etc. which results in injury. Therefore, to solve the problem you often have to work away from the problem!
Trying to change outcome measurements without understanding what process the player moved through for the outcome measure to be calculated. Figuring out why you do what you do is a far more powerful and responsible way of developing.
Invariably, you become your environment. The environment players practice in, surfaces they hit balls from, etc. can often lead to the player learning to move in such a way that best accommodates their environment. Understanding how this impacts on swing function/dysfunction is crucial as the breakdown may well be reacting to environmental factors.
Do we actually know what we are trying to achieve? Understanding precisely what the task is, how the segments, joints and muscles work and interact to problem-solve is vital in producing swing function.
This can be hugely influential, especially in younger, developing players. Often they use incorrectly fitted clubs (often the fit takes place before postural awareness is developed, so the fit accommodates poor body awareness and structure), therefore they learn to move around poorly fitted clubs which then results in the body learning and hard-wiring movement patterns. Typically, players will go for fashion over function and have clubs that look good rather than being designed for the task in hand.
In light of this, when looking at making swing improvements relate back to these influences and always ask the question, where is the first breakdown and what is it being influenced by? This may help you in problem finding and solving in a much more effective way.
Thank you to Martin Joyce (www.martinjoycegolf.com.au) for his input in helping produce this document. Information and/or imagery not reproducible without prior permission from Bull 3D.