Mirror Work

In Articles on July 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

One of the great difficulties in learning how to improve your swing is that out on the range you can’t see yourself do it. And since you can’t see yourself do it, you’re assuming you’re doing something correctly or perhaps incorrectly by feel alone. Meaning you miss a lot.
The obvious answer is to use a reflective surface so you can watch yourself, and I’m going to tell you today that if you’re interested in really improving your golf swing you need to make this a significant part of your training. I’ve worked a lot in front of a mirror and it helped me create a good swing quickly when I started and it helps me continue to build that swing correctly as I continue to learn.  Sometimes I get lazy or pile laundry in front of my full length mirror and skip mirror work, and I start to get sloppy.

My recommendation is do 20 to 100 slow motion swings in front of a mirror or reflective window on every training day. Focus on what you’re worried is off in your swing or on making sure you’ve got your fundamentals sound for whatever club or clubs you’re working on that day.

Personally I like to look at particular joints and make sure they are all behaving the way I want them to in order to do this. I’ll watch my lead knee to make sure it’s bending without my hips sliding, my back knee to make sure it’s not moving at all, my lower torso movement, and of course my elbows, wrists, and especially the action of the club (which you can consider an extension of your own body).

I don’t have a lot of points of concern for my swing (certainly you’ll have your own personal ones for your specific swing), but to share: I make sure my lead knee bends out simultaneously with my takeway and is largely done moving by the time my club shaft becomes parallel to the ground, my back knee moves as little as possible, my hips do not sway, my arms and torso form a single simultaneous takeaway, my club shaft is parallel to the target line when I take it back, that my lead arm stays stiff, and that my back arm guides my hands back along the same path I’ve specifically practiced thousands of time to form that “triangle” you hear golfers talk about (hopefully you have heard about it because that’s not much of an explanation).

Anyway, my point is those are the things I focus on because they’re important to my mind in having a good swing, and when I do them correctly I do take a good swing. By doing slow motion swings over and over again in front of a mirror you can watch each thing on your personal swing list and make sure you’re doing them the way you want to, which in turn burns the correct motion into your “muscle memory.”
Also when over time people tend to develop bad habits, which are really mismovements your brain is making without you realizing it. Mirror exercises keep you on track or put you back on track if you develop some bad habits.
So remember, try and spend some time on your training days doing slow motion mirror work and focusing on your personal swing fundamentals. I talked about mostly backswing in this post, but of course follow through and make sure you’re performing your downswing correctly as well. If you don’t have a full length mirror they do sell cheap ones at Target or similar retailers that can be a bit thin but still work fine, or also if you go outside and find a highly reflective window that works to practice in front of as well.

I realize this is a pretty simple concept and most every reader probably doesn’t need it explained in great detail, but the thing I want to emphasize is DO IT. Really make sure you spend the time doing it throughout your training regimen and don’t stop as you get more advanced because you think you don’t need it anymore. It’s a crucial element in having your practice make you better.


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