Using BODITRAK to Improve Pitching

hris Ryan is one of the most popular instructors on the internet, having amassed over 60,000 subscribers and 10 million views on his YouTube channel. He recently posted the following video about using BodiTrak to evaluate and coach the short game. The video was terrific, and there were several key points which we wanted to elaborate on.

The purpose of the video was centered around using pressure data to improve rhythm in 30 yard pitch shots. The short game is one of the most popular applications of BodiTrak because the portability of the product combined with immediate feedback from DASH facilitate analysis and coaching on-course.

The first thing Chris discusses is the importance of rhythm.

Many golfers are told to pre-set weight on lead side. Once I set my weight it’s going to stay there throughout the swing.

The idea of playing short game shots with a lead side bias is not new… or necessarily false. Phil Mickelson advocates for weight on the lead side in chipping to influence the delivery of the club. Albeit a shorter shot than Chris’, the general concept is similar.

If you’ve followed BodiTrak or studied force and pressure, you’ve probably heard it stated that weight and pressure are not the same thing. In fact, they are often completely opposite. Weight is represented by center of mass, pressure is represented by center of pressure. Watch Sasho Mackenzie demonstrate how pressure can move towards the target at the exact time that mass/weight is moving away. It’s an exaggerated example, but instructive.

That said, in static positions – such as set up or finish – center of pressure mirrors center of mass.

While your center of mass may actually be maintaining a lead side bias, your center of pressure will shift to the trail side because you’ll have to react to how the club is moving.  One of the most important concepts of understanding golf ground mechanics is related to Newton’s law:or every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

As Dr. Sasho Mackenzie puts it:

“Every move the golfer makes with their body or the club is reflected in their interaction with the ground.”

What we see in data on BodiTrak isn’t just a reflection of footwork, but of whole body movement.  In order to react to movement of the club, the body – and eventually the feet – must brace against the ground.  Listen to Dr. Mackenzie and Mark Blackburn describe here:

A quiet lower body doesn’t indicate a quiet pressure trace.

Is it possible to swing a club with a more “stable” center of pressure?   Yes… but doing so requires physical compensations that aren’t efficient in the swing.

If you’re trying to help a student keep their weight on their lead side during a pitch shot, don’t counsel them to keep their PRESSURE on their lead side.

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