Best Junior Golf Swing Tips
At the golf academy our summers are full of aspiring juniors looking to take the next step in player development. Each week we entertain nearly 50 young people from across the globe, many traveling from Europe, Asia and all places in between. Out of the 350 or so players we coach each season, many exhibit similar patterns in movement and performance. Below are 6 of the most common and important characteristics we see in young players looking to develop a more efficient and repeating golf swing.
Feel the Face
The best thing a young golfer can do to set up their road to success is understand the correlation between hand placement and shot making proficiency. The hands are the only connection to the club, making them the primary mover of the shaft and controller of the club face. They also play a huge role in producing ample club head speed. Hold the club in an unreasonable manner and you’ll be fighting to create a playable direction, height and distance on your golf shots. Once a sound connection is in place, the next step is fine tuning the “pressure” the hands apply to the grip. I consider this element to encompass more than just pressure applied by the hands, but also the level of softness and mobility within the surrounding joints. As a rule, I like to have our juniors think of grip pressure as being “secure” in the fingers, with flexible wrists, arms and shoulders. Advanced gripping fundamentals heighten the player’s level of club head awareness, allowing them to intuitively produce an unlimited numbers of shots.
Plan Your Attack
For many juniors, properly controlling the bottom of the swing is a big issue. We spend a lot of time helping players understand the differences in low point and angle of attack on tee, fairway and green side shots. In general, players will find the best results creating a slight upward hit on tee balls, contrasted by a small amount of downward strike on fairway shots. Green side chip, pitch and sand shots require a shallow attack along with more emphasis on utilizing the club’s “bounce” to regulate depth of strike allowing the club head to slide effortlessly through the turf. Players who understand these basics elevate their golf performance IQ becoming more empowered and creative shot makers.
Fancy Your Footwork
Whereas the hands are the only connection to the club, the feet are the only connection to the ground. Good footwork begins with basic foot placement which aids in supporting proper rotation, balance and rhythm. Many juniors with experience in other sports such as baseball are inclined to position their feet too perpendicular to the target line or even toed inwards at address. For many players, this relationship limits rotation, while creating too much lateral movement both back and through.
Our first order of business in the footwork category is training players to flare the feet out evenly a little to each side. With the toes turned outwards, the hips move more freely maximizing rotation, while supporting a consistent incline of the upper body to the turf. As the downswing sequence begins, this flared positioning supports the player’s ability to put pressure onto their front foot, while the trail foot rolls inward before pivoting to the finish.
Head Over Handle
Every kid is looking for more distance. Sometimes the desire to hit it big creates a massive swing length that ends up working to their detriment. In most cases, I’m never concerned seeing a junior swing the club head a little past parallel. In certain circumstances, however, this relationship may diminish the player’s ability to produce speed, especially for juniors lacking in strength. When a player over swings, the club head drops “below” the height of the handle at the top of the back swing. This relationship can make the club feel “heavy” making it difficult for the athlete to move quickly. In these instances, we coach students to think “head over handle.” This means shortening the back swing to a degree where the swing finishes short of parallel, flipping the head to handle relationship. A head over handle position, makes the club appear lighter, allowing the golfer to more easily add pace to the swing.
Swing In Synch
A big theme in many lessons is sequence of movement. The issue most prevalent for juniors is activation of the lower body too soon into the down swing. In the effort to hammer the ball, a common occurrence is lifting the trail foot early, while driving and tucking the backside beneath the body. Although this may “feel” powerful, the result is often an inconsistent bottom to the swing along with a variable ball flight. The key to developing both distance and accuracy is exercising “patience” within the delivery sequence. As coaches, we want plenty of “oomph” from the body. It just needs to occur at the right time. A core concept is teaching an acceleration of the arms, while remaining more grounded with the feet in the early stages of the downswing. This sensation better synchs the arms and body into the strike, timing the eventual release of the heel and extension of the hips appropriately for maximum distance and accuracy.
MTT ACADEMY is an integrated program training young athletes in golf performance, mindset, fitness, and nutrition as well as offering strategies in tournament prep and college support. The program is open to a limited number of participants with age and handicap restrictions factoring into our selection process.
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