January 2016

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Transfer skills



More and more PGA instructors are calling themselves performance coaches these days. It's one thing to have knowledge and ability to teach proper mechanics but it is essential that that we coach people how to access their knowledge when they are about to hit a shot. 

Putting yourself in the correct mental state to hit a golf ball is crucial for success. We know that the intellect, which  I call the CEO of the brain, cannot be micromanaging your actions during the motion. If it does, the motion will never be fluid. 

Makers of the FocusBand which monitors whether you are in the right state to hit the ball have great advice. They want you to ask yourself the following question before you hit the ball: "What would a great shot would look like?  Asking this question and letting your brain figure it out bypasses the intellect and lets the subconscious mind take over. The FocusBand folks refer to research that concludes that when the intellect is working at its most efficient level, it can perform about 40 functions per second. This sounds pretty amazing until they mention that the subconscious mind can perform between 11 and 30 million tasks per second. 

I don't know about you but I want my subconscious in control during the moment of truth. You hear tour players all the time talk about trusting their swings. This is tour talk for getting out of their own way so they can access what they already know how to do. You should access your potential as well. 





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zander Tip zone


mental game   strategy tip   short game

It's easy to be lazy when you go practice. You go to the practice facility with no particular plan. Chances are you might get worse which seems to defeat the purpose unless you are just out there for entertainment. You probably wouldn't use this approach in your business if you wanted to be successful.

Lets say you go to the short game area with a plan. You are looking to make better contact from uneven lies. You have taken a lesson and you know what to do. I want you to monitor your attention during practice. A simple 1-10 will do. After each shot, monitor the strength of  your focus. When your focus start to wander, its time to work on a different skill,  re-focus, or stop your practice. Time is precious so use it well especially if you are trying to improve. 

I always tell my students to do something today that makes you better than you were yesterday. Paying attention is a great start. 




One of my former teammates at Stanford, Mark Funseth, son of former PGA tour winner Rod Funseth, told me that his strategy when he wasn't striking it well was to shape all of his shots. This was and still is great advice. Obviously you need to know how to shape shots but if you do, I highly recommend this strategy. 

John Jacobs stated that a great ball striker was one that could predict the result before the event. If you are trying to hit a hook, you are probably not going to slice and vice versa. Knowing how your ball is going to curve is comforting and helps you mange your game around the course. Bubba Watson has made a pretty good living playing golf this way. 


One of the reasons players will miss the belly and long putter in 2016 is because those methods encouraged releasing the putterhead. This puts the energy in the head where it belongs. I define release as the clubhead moving from one side of the hands to the other. Locking your wrists causes a blocking motion which is the opposite of a release.
If you are one of those golfers who has been anchoring, my advice as you move to a short putter is to let it release and don't be afraid of some wrist action. Now I'm not advocating a wristy, flippy putting motion. Think of it this way. When you use a belly putter, the butt end always points at the same spot in your belly button or stomach. Imagine the butt end of the putter has a laser beam in it. When you finish your stroke, the beam should be pointed at the same place as where it pointed at at address and at the top of the backswing. This means you have released the putter. You may just be better than you thought. 






We are all in awe of how tour players can make a powerful swing and finish in perfect balance. Rory McIlroy is the first one that comes to my mind. His lifetime instructor, Michael Bannon, told Rory as a kid to swing as hard as he could and stay in balance. I ask my juniors to do the same and count 5 Mississippi or wait until the ball lands before they come out of their finish position. Thinking about holding your finish is a great thought out on the golf course. It helps you make more solid contact and keeps you from getting overly technical which you know is not a great way to play. Here's a great way to practice your balance. Hold up one leg and keep both arms at your side. Now close both eyes and try to hold your balance for as long as possible. You will feel your foot working hard to keep you balanced. Tour players average 20 seconds on this test according to the Titleist Performance Institute. Practice this every day for a couple of minutes and you will be amazed at how your balance and golf game will improve. 


Chris Gaines

Your Secret Weapon to a More Powerful Swing

When it comes to increasing drive distance, there are many variables we can consider. One variable we have the most control over and can affect every day is our ability to create the maximum amount of torque to apply to the ball.

Developing both strength and mobility in the appropriate areas facilitates the increase in power output. For today, we'll focus on two main areas: strong, stable hips, and a mobile thoracic spine. First, we need to ensure our hips are stable enough to hold their ground as we rotate at the torso.

To develop strong hips, front squats or deadlifts will be two movements we'll emphasize in training. Front Squats: The load is placed in front of your chest/shoulders and torso remains upright. Use hamstrings to pull hips down between hips. The goal is for the hips to reach knee height or slightly lower without a movement compensation at the lower back.

Deadlifts: The load is placed as close to the legs as possible, and is between mid-thigh to mid-shin height (depending on current level of hip mobility). Ensure hips are loaded with the weight prior to pressing through feet to stand. The goal is for the load to stay close to the body and for the movement to be isolated in the hip socket - meaning the torso does not bend or become excessively loaded.

Next, we need to be able to safely rotate at the thoracic spine--a.k.a ribcage--to help generate the torque needed for a powerful drive. To develop this movement ability, we'll focus on T-Lunges. T-Lunges: This unloaded (bodyweight) movement is performed by stepping forward into a lunge and placing both hands on the ground near the instep of the front foot. Then, with the elbow closest to the instep, reach towards the sky. Once the hand clears the thigh, begin reaching with the hand. The front foot and opposite hand remain flat on the ground and push down to keep the hips stable. Exhale at the top of the range of motion and attempt to contract hips and obliques to further pull into rotation.

The hip strength generated from front squats and deadlifts, combined with the ability to rotate through the thoracic spine will improve the amount of force potential that can be applied to the ball. Try adding 4 sets of 6 front squats, combined with 4 sets of 6-per-side T-Lunges to your training sessions two times per week. On two other days, add 4 sets of 6 deadlift variations, combined with 4 sets of 6-per-side T-Lunges. Stay consistent with this practice for four weeks and then test to see how your range of motion and drive distance improve over that time.

Send me your results and questions at chris@performancegaines.com. Happy power swinging!




Throw for Power
health tips

#1 Most Common Golf Pain and How to Avoid It

Back Pain is the #1 Most Common Golf Pain. The golf swing puts the greatest amount of stress on the back, so it is the most common problem for golfers. It is estimated that at impact the amount of forced pressure is usually six times the golfers body weight when the club head strikes the ball which impacts the entire muscular system. Strengthening is the key to injury prevention.

Back pain may be caused by numerous issues all reacting simultaneously off of the spine during the swing rotation movement. It may be disc-related, arthritis-related, a stress fracture, weak core muscles not supporting the spine in specific areas, poor swing biomechanics, posture issues among other possible causes. If acute pain is present see a medical professional.


For Upper Back Pain: On average the Thoracic Spine (Located between the Shoulders and Lower Back) must complete its rotation of 140-155 degrees. If the muscles surrounding the spine are rotating properly the player’s shirt buttons should be pointing directly at the target after the turn. If not, then the Lat’s (Latissimus dorsi muscle) must be stretched or released from its shorten position and the pain can be prevented.

For Lower Back Pain: This usually follows a pattern from not being able to neutralize the Lumbar Spine (Located from the mid-back down to the hips-pelvis) and it pulls on other weak lower back muscles during rotation. Learning fundamental positions for a neutral pelvis is vital. This plays a very important role in energy production, kinematic sequencing, transitioning power and injury prevention. Below are excellent strengthening exercises and stretches to prevent back injury.


Side Plank (Core Muscles) Hold For 20-60 Seconds – Three Sets:


5 Days A Week Prone Plank (Upper Back/Core) Hold for 20-60 Seconds – Three Sets: 


5 Days A Week Lat’s (Latissimus dorsi muscle) and Hamstrings Thoracic Spine and Muscle Stretch with Hamstring Stretch – Three Sets: Hold 7-10 Seconds – 5 Days A Week

Written by Sidney Silver, TPI Golf Medical & Fitness Expert

Written by, Sidney Silver: TPI Golf Medical & Golf Fitness expert. www.SilverSportsTherapy.com    (415) 932-6775

Written by, Sidney Silver: TPI Golf Medical & Golf Fitness expert. www.SilverSportsTherapy.com         (415) 932-6775


Written by, Sidney Silver: TPI Golf Medical & Golf Fitness expert. www.SilverSportsTherapy.com (415) 932-6775