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Jimmy Ballard Connection and One Plane Sw

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J. R. Ryan View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 April 2005 at 6:57pm

Hey Chuck

This is a great site.  I am a teaching pro and have been for 25 years, I have found the Connection theory by Jimmy Ballard to be the most successful method for both me and my students.  I did however tape Jim Hardy on the Golf Channel in the fall of 2003 and found his one plane swing very intriguing.

  I did find a lot of similarities between the two methods, the arms around the body in the backswing, I have a hard time accepting that.  I have noticed that quite a few PGA Tour players are hitting balls with either a glove, headcover or even stuffing their sleeves under their arm pit to get what I felt was more Connected than One Plane.  The two to me go hand in hand for the most part anyway.

  Being a big Ernie Els fan, I thought with his high left arm at the top of his swing he was more of a two planer, but his swing has become more rounded, similar to Tiger.

  The one thing that I really like about Ballard is the no angle backswing, ( the club pointing to the center of your chest on the takeaway until the left arm is parallel ), and the firing of the right side with the club returning to the center of your chest ( Springing The Shaft ) at impact resulting in dead straight shots.

  Both my students and myself hit the ball very hard and very long doing this with very little effort.  Learning to fire my right side properly has resulted in me hitting drives that are unbelieveable in distance.  I feel that starting the downswing with the lower body or the core is the way to max out your distance and accuracy.

  I am interested in your opinion Chuck about the similarities between Ballard's Connection theory and the One Plane swing.  Afterall Peter Jacobsen did say at one time that Ballard was the greatest teacher of all time.

Hope to pick up your new DVD in the near future.

Thanks Chuck

John Ryan

 

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agent.5 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote agent.5 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2005 at 8:22pm
May I add a further question:

How does Ballard's "hitting with the three right arms" reconcile with 1PS?  I swing better if I focus on turning the knee and the core, and keeping both arms very very soft.
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Chuck Quinton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chuck Quinton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2005 at 10:05pm

This question has come up several times to me in the past and I still have not had time to become familiar enough with Ballard's ideas to present any educated commentary on them. I do have an understanding of his basic ideas, but I wouldn't want to post something here that I may not fully understand. I have taught a couple of students who used to work with Ballard, including Lee Janzen's best friend this year at Bay Hill who told me that he didn't like Ballard's ideas because he couldn't hit the ball "out of his own shadow", as he put it. If my understanding is correct, and judging by your post, I think it may be, Ballard doesn't want the arms to get behind the body but wants to maintain the connection. If I am correct here, then this would seem a bit strange to me given that he learned from Sam Byrd who worked with Hogan and played baseball. Byrd based his swing theory on a baseball swing, and the arms are always a bit behind the body in a powerful baseball swing through impact. If you maintained connection of the left arm and swung on a flatter plane while keeping the club in front of your body, the swing would be very short and, thus, lack power. In the one plane swing, the arms freely swing behind the body and across the chest and maintain that position passively through impact.

Ballard's students were not known for being powerful golfers during his hey day and that is a theory circulating in the rumor mill of why he has fallen out of popularity. It sounds like you haven't experienced the same loss of power with Ballards ideas, so I would be very interested in learning more about them from you as it sounds like you would be an educated and experienced source of knowledge. Because this has come up several times from other forum members and it sounds like there are many similarities between the two theories, I would be open to putting up a new forum category specifically to discuss Ballard's theories. I welcome your input. It might be a good opportunity to compare and contrast the two swings for everyone's benefit.

-Chuck



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Chuck Quinton View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chuck Quinton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 April 2005 at 10:17pm

I'm doing some homework now and came across some interesting stuff from an old Golf Digest article that I've posted below:

Grantland Rice, the poet laureate of American sportswriting, once proposed to Byrd a book on the differences between his golf swing and his baseball swing. "It's going to be a darn short book, Granny," said Byrd, who merely altered the plane to account for the ball being on the ground and not in the air. Renowned teaching pro Jimmy Ballard, who later studied under Byrd at an Alabama driving range, says to imagine a table top. "Sam just took that baseball swing and tilted the table to hit a golf ball," Ballard says. "He used exactly the same swing, and the club always went directly down the line. From flat and level to a tilted plane. He never changed it."

Byrd's action, according to Ballard, was rooted in a lesson Byrd got from a famous teammate. "Babe Ruth taught him to bat, to hold a towel under his left armpit and to take batting practice by shifting to his right leg, then to his left leg. The towel made his elbow stay down going through the ball. It promoted a flat, level swing. Good hitters will never let the lead arm separate and drop the towel."

This "connection" became a huge part of Ballard's teaching and was adopted by other instructors and players. (World No. 1. Vijay Singh often can be seen hitting practice balls with a towel or headcover tucked under his left arm.) Unfortunately, says Ballard, "every baseball player is told he's got to change his swing." And that makes a successful transition to golf difficult. "Babe Ruth wasn't a very good golfer," Ballard says. "Sam could hit his 5-iron farther than Ruth hit driver, and it drove him crazy. Ruth didn't use the same swing."

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will573 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2005 at 6:28am
I have Ballard's book "How to perfect your golf swing" which is his golf bible. Ballard based his methods on studying the swing of all the great ballstrikers and describing what they do. Connection and maintaining the basic triangle with butt of shaft aimed at center of chest with one piece takeaway are two keys. He uses Hogan,Snead,Player and all the greats as examples of players who execute this action. On the downswing ,he says you must coil into the brace of inner right leg and move behind the ball and it's ok to slightly move head to right to get behind it. He then says to fire off the right inner foot and knee TOWARD ball. He uses Gary Player as an example. This firing off the right side was something Hogan refered to as his "secret" and he said he did not put it in his book because he didn't want to help his opponents. I have learned the 1ps with much success from Hogan's book and now Ballard's book has been like a confirmation of many things Hogan spoke of,though swing plane is not an issue with Ballard as long as you have connection. I have read Hardy's book but will reserve judgement until I give his method a try.
Ballards methods are similar to Hogan's and stress maximizing distance. He stresses maximum coil with big turn to the right side and then firing off it. He talks of achieving max power in many parts of book and gives practical examples to show why using your whole body produces so much more power,like a baseball swing or firing a medicine ball off you right side.

"Getting off my right side was something I got from Jimmy Ballard" -Johnny Miller

"Jimmy Ballard knows the golf swing as well as anyone in the world" -Bill Kratzert
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J. R. Ryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2005 at 11:37am

Hey Chuck

Like you, I altered Jimmy Ballard's connection theory a little, like you did with Hardy's.  I have my students concentrate on bringing the Capital Y,( the arms and club ) they have formed at set-up, back together with no independent movement from the hands and arms to create an angle.

 Once they get the club to parallel to the ground they move their left shoulder a little sideways and hinge their wrists to form an L position.  From there they rotate their shoulders until the left shoulder is over the right knee,( or as comfortable as they can get it, the spine leaning a little right like it started when you put your right hand on the club) to me this is the power position, the Loaded Position.  Ballard does not elaberate on this move.  I compare this loaded position to a baseball batter, a pitcher, a tennis player, hockey player, football quarterback casting a fishing rod, in all these fore mentioned you have to coil around your right leg to get any kind of power and distance.

  From here you start the downswing by simply uncoiling your body ( Firing your right side ).  Newton's law was for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so if your legs are the last thing to move in the backswing, the unwinding would start with the legs in the downswing.  Yeah the arms may lag alittle bit but the faster you move ( or unwind ) your core the faster you will move the golf club.  Springing the shaft is a tremendous power move, a very similar move to squaring a hockey stick to a puck, squaring a bat to a ball, an axe to a tree.  It is not a pulling of the arms independantly and then a flip of the hands through the impact zone, no power there at all.

  Then you get to a nice full straight balanced finish.  One other key Chuck if when you come down from the top of your swing if  both elbows are facing the ground and they face the ground when you are half way through, you will hit dead straight golf shots every time.  If your left elbow faces out, (towards the target) you will hit a big slice.  You can prove this to your self by holding a club in front of you about waist height with your left elbow facing down, turn your arm so your elbow is facing to the left of you, check on how that effected your clubface.

  I could go on all day about how I teach and how successful my students have been with this method.  I have yet to have one person tell me that they don't hit the ball very far, my people hit the ball a mile with very little effort.  Basically just by loading up properly and the head moves in one of two ways, by either rotating to your right a little, or a little laterally to the right.  Try doing any of those other sports that I mentioned earlier by keeping your head still, then tell me how much power you have.

  I have people coming from up to 300 miles to see me and they want me to help them get more distance without sacrificing accuracy. Maybe by adding my twist on the Connection theory, it's probably why I have never heard of people hitting the ball short.  Some people do think too, when you talk about Connection, that you have to hold both arms tight to the body, no way.  There is absolutely no power there at all.

Sorry for the long post but I am pumped about talking to you about this, hopefully you can give me a call someday to discuss this further.

Thanks

John

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chuck Quinton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2005 at 12:43pm

Excellent posts you guys, this is great stuff.

Will573, I have a question for you regarding pointing the club at the center of the chest. I can only assume that this is meant more to mean pointing at the center of the body on the takeaway rather than literally the chest. If you pointed the butt of the club at the chest, you would have to have your arms extended straight out in front of you like Moe Norman with the wrists straight. Did I misinterpret this?

J.R. Ryan,

That's great that you've experienced such great teaching success. No matter what theories you teach or how you teach them, that's what it's all about - immediate and positive results. Like you, I have people travel to work with me for the same reasons, from as far away as Australia.

It sounds as if you might take a bit more technical approach to the backswing than I do as I don't teach a single position in the backswing. This has undoubtedly been one of the most important factors in my student's immediate success in learning the one plane swing. Everyone of them walk out of the lesson with a much simpler, clearer picture of the golf swing that frees their mind up from everything that ultimately doesn't matter. It's kind of funny really. Every lesson starts the same, me asking them what they're working on and why. Every single student but one (he had read my site and had a "head start") has mentioned about 5 things they are working on in their backswing. In fact, for almost all, that is what they've been working on their entire golfing lives, positions in the backswing. At the end of the lesson after they're hitting the ball properly, I ask them what positions we worked on in the backswing and they laugh - the answer is always none.

I've always felt very strongly that the golf swing is exactly that - a swing - not a series of positions linked together. This, too me, is a far too analytical approach to the swing that puts the concious mind in too much control. Most golfers never learn how to turn this part of the mind off in order to give control back over to the subconcious, which is far more coordinated when it comes to motor control. It's always fun teaching the engineers (myself included) who really want to understand every position in the swing. By the end of the lesson, they're new people, completely free of a dozen swing thoughts.

We'll have to get together and chat more about your ideas on the swing as they sound very solid and more importantly, it sounds like they work. Email me sometime and I'll give you my number. I saw your in Canada, I'll be in Toronto in May. If you're near that area, we'll have to get together and hit some balls.

-C

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J. R. Ryan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2005 at 2:00pm

Hey Chuck

That's interesting that you found my approach to the backswing more technical than your approach.  I strongly believe after years of watching golf swings that there is a few points on the backswing that need to be addressed.  One;  When you don't have the club pointing to the center of your chest on the takeaway, there's a good chance you will preset an angle which results in crooked golf shots, also when you start with the club pointing to the center of your chest all you have to do is simply rotate your body,(upper torso). Two; How many students have you taught that can't generate any kind of clubhead speed because they don't have any kind of wristcock or hinge.  They simply bend their left arm and think that that is a good wrist hinge. Three; You have to load up in your backswing, left shoulder over the right knee.  I agree that it may be a little more technical, but there are certain things that need to done in the backswing, than all you have to do is let it happen on the downswing.  If you check out Model Golf where they put 125 Pros in a computer and came up with the perfect model, you will see what I am talking about.  It is a one plane swing as well.  I use the pictures of the Model to get my point across to my students.  I have the Model Golf Swing Saver for my computer, it's cool.

  I guess maybe what I am trying to say is, I feel what I am teaching is the same things that the top players in the world are doing.  Look at Ernie Els two years ago when he said that to get more distance he concentrated on moving off the ball more.  I compare an older picture of him with the swing he had at the 2003 Mercedes. On my Computer Coach Pro, I was able to get this picture and then laminated it so I can show it to my students. With a box around his head at address and then at the top of his swing, the difference was night and day. I have people tell me that Ernie doesn't move his head.  Check out Jim MacLean's Y Factor ( the chart on how far the pros move their heads on the backswing) and you'll find out exactly what I am talking about. The short hitters hardly move their head, where the power hitters move an average of four inches.

  I could go on and on about this but enough is enough.  I would love to get together as I am only about three hours away from Toronto.  But I think the phone call would probably get us by. I teach in a depressed area economically so I'm not as busy as I would like to be, maybe I should move on, I don't know.  I am very passionate about teaching and learning new ways to communicate the swing, that's why I hooked up here with you.

Love discussing this here with you as you can see I am fascinated about what you have to say about teaching the one plane swing, I feel we are very similar on what we are trying to teach just different approaches.

Later Chuck

J R

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 April 2005 at 10:31pm

Chuck,

I find it very interesting that read your comments about how your unlock the "secret" for your students. I have been reading your site for several weeks now, and have spent many hours on the range. I think my swing is in worse shape now than for a long time. I feel mechanical, bound, and am hitting it 30 yd shorter with driver. I wonder if you have any advice on a simple swing thought?

Shawn 

 

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tinker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 April 2005 at 10:46am

As I have been thinking, well maybe obsessing, about recent swing decline, I realize that in an attempt to maintain connection of arms and torso, I have introduced a great deal of tension to my upper arm and shoulders (almost like pressing your upper arms to your torso during the swing) no wonder such power loss.



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