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Improve Your Golf Swing with Sensory Motor Learning

Oct 26, 2007
It's no secret that improving your golf swing can be exasperating and even seem impossible at times. It's also fairly obvious that thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people claim to know some type of "secret" for golf swing instruction.

But is there really a secret to improving your golf swing? The human body is capable of learning virtually any kind of behavior and movement, so why does the golf swing seem so difficult? Many people have problems with their golf swing or golf putt. Why? Because golfing actions are unfamiliar to most people (unless they have been doing them since childhood). There are very few actions that we do in golf that have any relationship to actions that we do in daily life.

What you need is a way to make the unfamiliar become familiar. What you need is way to make golfing feel correct from deep inside the core of your body's movement.

Golf Swing Instruction: Imitation or Learning?

Golf Pros and instructors often teach us the game by having us imitate other's actions - like their swing, putt, or hand placement. Imitation is "OK" for a start and we all have to imitate to some extent. But true improvement in your golf swing, true comfort while playing, and true mastery will come from you learning to be true to the often hidden dynamics of your own movement. This type of sensory-motor-learning is how you initially learned about movement as a child. It's less common in adults, but it is still possible to use it.

What is sensory motor learning?

Sensory motor learning is the best and most effective way to improve your golf swing. Part of the process is getting yourself into a relaxed and open state so that you can learn to feel the inner dynamics of your movement and how you can change them. This type of movement learning involves noticing the proprioceptive (feeling and sensation) core of your body's movement.

Now, that may sound like a lot of new-age mumbo jumbo to some people, but it's not. We are talking about sound scientific principles from the field of motor learning and human development. The problem is that the techniques and processes have largely been untapped by the golfing community.

Where do you begin the process of using sensory-motor-learning to improve your golf swing?

I am sorry to say, that you can't improve your golf swing by reading about the techniques or thinking about the techniques. You will actually have to do the techniques and get comfortable with the idea of trying some new and often strange movements. For instance, what if I had you lie on the floor and engage in an entire sequence of movements designed to improve the coordination of your head, eyes and neck? What if I told you to keep you eyes closed the entire time, so that you could have greater focus on yourself and your body? Would you be willing to do that? If not, you wouldn't be able to benefit from sensor motor learning systems. If you were willing to explore, you would find a whole wealth of new possibilities and golf swing improvement.

The most evolved practitioners of sensory motor learning are "alternative health practitioners" such as those who do the Feldenkrais Method, Alexander Technique, or Rolfing. The trick is to find someone who understands the needs and desires of golfers. But even if they don't, consider that a slight improvement in your ability to move from your core could unleash a whole new potential in your ability to improve your swing.
About the Author
Ryan C. Nagy, M.A. is a University instructor who uses the Feldenkrais Method and other sensory-motor-learning systems to dramatically unlock human potential. He has created several ground breaking audios in the field of skill acquisition and learning. See him at: My Golf MP3 and
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