Overspeed training is not a new concept in sports. Sprinters will run downhill or incorporate bungees to teach their nervous system to adapt to higher speeds. Baseball pitchers use weighted balls (some lighter, some heavier) to improve arm speed and durability.
Over the last decade, golf training has modernized to include many similar principles. Thanks to the work of companies SuperSpeed and TPI (see GIF), golfers are aware of the importance of eccentric contraction, rotating in both directions and decelerating to accelerate.
Gone are the days of swinging multiple clubs at once to increase distance off the tee. Put simply: To improve speed you have to train FAST. At every level of golf, distance is a massive advantage. Pros and amateurs work hard off the course to improve their clubhead speed, including Billy Horschel who treated his followers to a glimpse of his SuperSpeed workout (which incorporates overspeed training principles).
An important component of overspeed training for golf is improving ability to decelerate segments of the body in a proper order. In golf we refer to this as the kinematic sequence (see graph on the right or refer to this article by TPI’s Dr. Greg Rose for a primer). The pelvis decelerates first, imparting energy to the thorax which transfers energy to the arm and then to the club. This is where understanding ground forces and interaction can be extremely instructive. Not only does the sequence begin from the ground up, but a golfer will use the ground to produce rotation in the swing. Therefore, the answers to what we’re doing right or wrong in the swing can often be found in how efficiently we’re using the ground.
Using SuperSpeed in conjunction with force and pressure data from BodiTrak can help illuminate if a golfer is using the ground inefficiently, usually observed in a deficiency in stability or sequence.
Here’s a video that BodiTrak’s Mike Pech put together with the team from SuperSpeed demonstrating how to interpret center of pressure and ground interaction trends from BodiTrak in overspeed training.
(PS: If you’re interested in learning more about baseball players are using various weighted balls to increase velocity, take a look at the fantastic work that Kyle Boddy and his team are doing at Driveline in Seattle. There are many, many applications between the velocity training of pitchers and golfers)