As golfers develop new motor patterns through consistent focused practice of the proper drills at slow speed, there will undoubtedly be a period where there is a big difference in the motion that can be performed at slow speed versus the motion that is performed at full speed hitting a golf ball. So the million dollar question is ‘how does a golfer close that gap?’ First we need to understand why there is a gap to begin with.
The difference in the slow practice swing and the full speed shot comes from a lack of awareness. When we move at higher speeds we lose the same quality coordination and awareness that we have at slow speeds. The reason that it is beneficial to do thousands of reps at slow speed and slowly add speed is to be able to transfer that awareness and ultimately the new motor pattern. We can all agree that the ultimate test is to hit a shot at full speed and see how the movement pattern was. If the movement pattern that you wish to see does not show up then where do you go from there? Continue with the reps at slow speed and add speed slowly, paying attention to when and where the movement changes.
There are stories of Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, and many other great players doing countless slow motion swings in practice. This is the best way to truly grasp a new move and history shows that it can be very effective. Many of you have seen Tiger Woods suddenly stop in the middle of his downswing because of a distraction or some other reason. That is a perfect example of the highest level awareness at the highest speeds.
Take your time and go through your slow motion swings. Add speed slowly and you will start to understand better the forces at work in the golf swing and the challenge of taking a new movement pattern to full speed. Many times you will discover that your level of commitment is a big part of the equation as well.