Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Vision and the Yips - Part 1

Ten years ago, we implemented a vision test as the initial portion of our fitting and instruction protocol. You can find the test we use by clicking the following link. https://bargolfinstruction.blogspot.com/2018/04/vision-and-putting-finding-your-best.html

This vision test became necessary as we began using technologies to measure different parameters of the putting stroke. Our clients would argue with the calibrated location of the putter relative to the target. “This doesn’t look right,” became a common lament. By using the test, we found that eye position relative to the ball was a bigger contributing factor to aim and stroke path direction than putter appearance. Basically, if your eyes are out of position then nothing “looks right”.
The following analogy would demonstrate a typical example. A right eye dominant player with his eyes directly over the ball, and utilizing a parallel alignment to the target line, will often claim an accurate line to the target appears left. Regardless of how an accurate reference appears, one thing we know to be true is that you will try to hit the ball where you perceive the target to be. Even if you aim the putter accurately, your subconscious will still judge your aim as faulty and try to correct.

So how does this apply to the yips? It manifests itself over time. Putting is easiest when you simply roll the ball where you are looking. Of course, this is only successful when you are looking in the correct direction. Obviously, if your perception of target is different than the actual location some amount of compensation is necessary to get the ball on line. Most of the time this means manipulating the putter face with your hands. And so, it starts. Overtime frayed nerves can’t handle the required compensation and the stroke gets shaky.

A Suggestion for more Accurate Vision
If you try the vision test and find you have a problem seeing the line, try standing taller. This is an photo from the BioMechSports website.
It is very rare when we administer the vision test that we find the posture where the player sees it best to be more crouched than where they see it best without a putter.  I have always said that one of the great advantages of the anchored, broom putter technique is that by standing taller you have a greater area of vision and can see more of the line you have chosen for the putt, without moving your head. This expanded field of vision can have a calming effect. Later on we are going to discuss finding a new third point of connection in putting to replace anchored systems, I like those putters built to allow you to stand taller. We have had a great deal of success in helping pre -yip shakiness using conventional putters by making them longer, with a flatter lie angle. IN NO WAY IS THIS SUGGESTED AS A CURE! Just a piece of the puzzle. As always, make your comments below or send personal questions to my email address.

Next up. Using body alignment to solve the visual puzzle.

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