Pro's Tips To Keep Your Swing Fresh in The Off-Season
We recently sat down with our in-house PGA of Canada professional, Nicolas Drozdoski-Richardson, to talk about the off-season and how it can often be challenging for some golfers to maintain the quality of their swing during this extended pause.
By breaking down his typical day, he was able to offer some insightful tips to help you avoid that early season rust that tends to linger as we grow older. Nicolas identified five main components to maintaining the quality of your swing in the off-season:
- Stretching to preserve mobility
- Exercise to build speed
- Build your knowledge
- Visualize and breakdown your swing
- Practice when possible (with some drills for you to try!)
Nicolas believes that there is no better way to start the day than a quick stretch session. His preferred stretching method is yoga, but he added that regardless of what type of stretching you prefer, you should try to focus on your back.
Of all the advice he recommended during our chat, Nic’s pressed the importance of stretching. In his mind, it is the most crucial part of the day for any golfer. It’s the most efficient method to prevent your body from cramping up at any stage in your swing.
After properly stretching out, Nic will usually move on to some lightweight training. The purpose of these exercises is to activate the body by focusing on dynamic motions. Here again, he suggests you provide added interest to the way your train your core.
Training your legs will help you push off the ground at impact, but strengthening your core can help you gain speed in your swing. Ultimately, this gain in swing speed can also translate into added yardage on every one of your strokes on the course.
With the physical aspect covered, Nicolas turns his attention to expanding his knowledge of the sport. What we’re talking about here is the type of knowledge that can help you improve every single part of your game.
Nic credits some of the books he’s read over the years as one of the key reasons as to how he was able to take his game to the next level. In his own words, “some of the books have helped me shave 10 strokes off my game.”
Here are two books, which he considers as essential:
- Every Shot Must Have a Purpose by Pia Nelson, Lynn Marriott, and Ron Sirak
- Zen Putting: Mastering the Mental Game on the Greens by Dr. Joseph Parent
One of the methods Nic uses to work on his swing throughout the day is to analyze it with the help of mirrors. Using mirrors to look at your swing will allow you to focus on the specific positions your body goes through when you’re swinging the golf club.
As we never really get the chance to look at ourselves on the golf course, use this opportunity to look at yourself and take the time to identify the areas where your swing might be problematic. Don’t be shy and use a camera to record your swing in motion, or simply to have multiple angles at once.
According to Nic, using mirrors and cameras allowed him to visualize his swing better than ever and understand its complete mechanism. This newfound ability to break down each part of his swing now allows him to adjust quickly when he’s having swing issues.
The rest of his days are dedicated to helping golfers improve through coach sessions. When he’s not busy with students, he works on perfecting his own game, because after all, there’s nothing like swinging the clubs to keep the swing fresh.
Because of its length, the off-season break is your perfect opportunity to work on adjusting your swing and making any changes you would consider necessary. This elongated break will allow you to come into the new season ready to take on the course with your renewed swing.
Whether you’re looking to simply keep it smooth, or you want to completely overhaul it, you’ll want to practice your swing in the winter by any means possible. At this time of the year, your options are limited, but putting greens and indoor simulators will be your best friend!
You’ll want to take make most of those opportunities in the off-season and the best way to do so is by perfecting the finer details of your swing. To help you out, Nicolas came up with some of his favorite drills for you to try out this off-season:
The Baseball Swing
Since this is the perfect occasion to work on your swing, you might as well make the most of it by adding some speed! This is a weight-shifting drill where you’ll be starting from your regular swing stance. While moving your club into the backswing, you’ll also lift your lead foot, just as if you were to take a baseball swing. When you move into the downswing, you’ll also stomp the ground with your lead foot. This is meant to exaggerate your weight transition, but it will also help you build the habit of hitting up on the ball.
Against the Wall Drill
This drill aims to help you build more balance through your swinging motion. What you’re looking to do is use the wall to your advantage as a reference to know if there’s an issue in your swing’s sequencing. As the video below illustrates, your goal is to always have one side of your bottom touching the wall at all times throughout your swing.
The Gate Putting Drill
Working on your full swing is important, but you can’t forget about your putting stroke. To keep it fresh, you can turn to one of Nic’s favorite putting drills. While you can use tees if you’re able to set them in the ground, otherwise, you can use two other golf balls to mark the “gate.” The main goal of this drill is to practice your ability to make contact with the ball in a consistent manner.
Until next time,
The Golf Avenue Team
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