Blog Entries

Rangefinders and GPS

February 8th, 2009

One surprising thing for me was the abundance of rangefinders and GPS systems on show at the PGA show.  Bushnell have decided to enter the GPS market with a budget GPS that gives you front, middle and back on the green Bushnell GPS.  I was also shows 4 more models if my memory serves me correctly the Bushnell V2 Tour will be released in the middle of the year with a slope option and the will be upgraded to the Bushnell 1550 Tournamantto the Bushnell 1600 Tournament.  This unit it almost the same in terms of technology but it now boasts an outer cover made from a protective rubber to aid protection.

There must be something to the GPS systems though as I must have seen at least 6 companies inn the market place including Skygolf, Garman and many more.

One thing I did lean is that a company called Igolf provide many of the companies with the course information and mapping.  So most devices will be as good or bad as each other.

My elite players seen to prefer the accuracy of the laser range finders but my frieds that comentateon tour use the GPS systems.  There is a view you almost need both to get accurate distances to the pin with the laser rangefinders but the GPS systems to gain distances to hazards and places on the green.

One thing is for sure they are here to stay and with the likes of the English Golf Union allowing the distance measuring devices in their tournament this year I see there will be no going back.  Could this spell the end to the course planners.

A sign of technology taking over from paper.  Maybe we will see faster games of golf in the future.

Force Plates and Differences between them.

February 7th, 2009

Currently we sell the SAM force plate which has 2500 sensors in the plate allowing the measurement or the centre of gravity between the feet, the % of left right and front to back.  The 2500 sensor system also allows you to measure the gravity on each foot individually as well as see where the pressure /weight is across the whole foot.  The force downward to the floor and up pressure is also measure.

Many of the force plates of this type  usually are sold to Universities and heath centre and most are in excess of £10,000.  The Sam force plate offers great value in terms of the information it provides against its cost.

There is also another type of force plate aimed more at a Budget price.  I decided to part with some cash at the US show and buy one of these force plates as some of our customers have been asking for a force plate that was even more affordable and at approx. £1900 our new 4 sensor force plate with its own built in monitor provide information of centre of gravity, left to right and front to back information as well as down and up force.

The company swinga have developed the system are based in Finland and we hope that they develop the system into a golf range unit that will be affordable for range owner to implement it providing a better service.

The thing that I like the most is the built in monitor and even though the information it gives is not as in depth the force plate has its place and especially for those coaches and facilities that are dipping their toes into measuring weight transfer which if the least understood of the elements in the golf swing.

PGA GOLF SHOW 2009

February 7th, 2009

The PGA Golf Show in Orlando this year followed the trend of the world economy with many would be exhibitors who would normally be attending cancelling their stands.

Much of the exhibition areas we left free with the show organisers filling excess areas with seating and restaurants. The walkways were larger than normal helping to create the impression that the exhibit halls were full.

From an attendee point of view it seems reasonably busy but noticeable visitors from Europe were down in numbers and many of the familiar faces that we see year on year were not their.

Saying all of that we were as busy for most of the show except for the last afternoon where everyone pretty much headed of to watch the Super Bowl Final on TV.

What was new in our area of coaching. Well we came across a few interesting training aids and one or two interesting new inventions that we had not seen before.

trueympact

trueympact

One stand that was opposite us in the Exhibition was a company called TureYmpact. A coaching device that encourages the Y shape starting position to return at impact. The owner of the company told me by the last afternoon he had sold out of the stock he had brought to the stand which was impressive. We decided to purchase a few of these Golf training aido resell from our website and it was certainly one of the better Golf Aids that we saw on show.

Science and Motion the makers of the SAM puttlab released the new wireless version of the puttlab dispensing with the battery pack and the wire. Talking to their engineer for the reasons for doing this Martin pointed out that aesthetically there was an improvement and there would be more reliability as there was no cable now to become damaged. For existing owners of the SAM as long as they have te 2008 version of the software there are able to trade in their old unit and pay €1550 to get the wireless triplet and the new triangle receiver.

I also spoke to Greg Rose from Titleist TPI who gave me a sneakpreview of their new website offering more research and information to golf coaches all over the world about bio mechanics. Where we will be contributing to with some form of video analysis.

Over then next few weeks I’ll try and add more reviews and content to my blog looking at other products we viewed and also reactions and reports from other companies from the show.

Learning and how we do it.

January 20th, 2009

I recently attended an EGU coaching conference at Woodhall Spa where County Coach and officials from each county were invited which I am one through coaching the Devon County Squad.
Day 1
The theme was based on give us back our game.  This included a football coach who expertise was in coaching children and he described how his research and techniques he implemented were based around experience learning.  This was about the kids in football just developing their games by play without structure.  Just like us over 40’s used to do in the playground.

He raised several interesting point about issues these days in children’s football where some of the creative learning was not happening due to too much technical coaching.  Manchester UTD for example let the kids find out for themselves how to play.  Where other clubs perhaps push and coach technique to the youngsters.  He said that we should be adopting this type of style for golf.  Developing games, chipping, putting, driving games etc.

I agree with much of what he said but I still think those youngsters need a certain element of technical, visual and audio coaching to accelerate their creative talents.  Rather than perhaps just let the kids get on with it they need a few things (basics) to encourage as simple technique.  What does anyone else think?
Then came a Doctor from Worcester University speaking along the same lines called developing the complete athlete.  Again some interesting things came up and some of which I certainly use already for example the player owning their own game.  I agree with that it has to be healthy for a player to know what he or she wants from their game, swing, fitness, mental side.  There is no mileage in not knowing what to do if the coach is not there at a tournament.  The player has to work it out on their own.  Unless he has a rather large bank balance.  Getting your students to start to develop a questioning what you tell them. I certainly think that’s healthy as so many times I feel that pupils only listen rather than get involved.
We were told that it’s all about creating the opportunities for the pupil to learn rather than instructing them.  I think that some people learn this way but not all and finding the best solution for that pupil is the most important thing and should been seen as only a toll not a complete solution to accelerate learning.
Kendal McWade who is a qualified PGA coach was next up he has moved completely away from technical coaching to instinctive coaching.  What instinctive coaching? Well according to Kendal he does not instruct pupils a technique any longer like grip swing plane etc he prefers to see his pupils improve by playing games.  Now that fairly radical in terms of a concept/style and I would have loved to see some evidence that this works it’s a shame that there was none.  I’m always keen to learn new styles and innovation, however I’m one of those people who like it backed up by results and research it’s a shame that Kendal was not able to show us this.  Hopefully I will get a chance to see it in action.  He may have something.

Day 2
First up on the coaching front was a Dr. John Pates and a talk on the process that he uses on his player (Tour Players) on entering the Zone.  Images are everything was his motto.  Having the correct images in your mind during play is the key to success for a top athlete.  He seemed to have a good knowledge and some good success stories with Darren Clarke, Gary Orr and Paul Broadhurst who had almost instant success after working with him.  He used the image of previous success against Tiger to help Darren Clarke back to a high performance and also relating this to music and feelings at the time when he performed well.  Like all psychologist they uses things from experiences where you performed well to build inner confidence and desire which are important.  If your down and you feel that you are struggling you probably will struggle you usually get what you think.  Again I would like to have seen him at work with a tour player or at least had some video with him showing the techniques he uses.
I think everyone would agree that psychology is important in sport if not life and you belief system is vital. It’s a bit of a black art though where there is no definite answer to some solutions as no one actually has a complete understanding of the human brain.
Overall he gave a few nuggets that were interesting and I would like to see some more of his work.
Dr Paul Schempp a University professor from the US spoke last.  He runs a research team at the University of Georgia studying coaches in all sports and analysing the tools of the trade.  I have read some article and books that he has published and so I was keen on what he had to say.
He talked about the RE-PAR system that good coaches’ use.  RE-PAR is a synonym
R – Recognise key faults
E – Evaluate to prioratize
P – Plan your response
A – Act/response
R – Review success
He showed us a still of a tour player for a few seconds and asked everyone to write down what they may work on it this players swing.

Everyone on our table wrote the same thing then also what may be causing this.  That was an interesting outcome as we had an official also on our table and he did not write the same thing.  The fault by the way was not that obvious.
He then highlighted key areas/skills a coach should use.  Ask your pupils lots of questions, listen to your pupil the coach should do less talking, share the same goals and priorities, self monitoring of the coaching process.
Trying to make the player feel responsible so they take action themselves so they own their game.
Sound advice from Dr. Schempp.
There was certainly more information that I have yet to digest from the seminar and a always I took something from the couple of days at Woodall Spa.

For more information select golf swing analysis.

Welcome To the GASP Systems Weblog

October 16th, 2008

Welcome to our blog where will be keeping you informed of what we are doing and where we will be doing it.

Here are some interesting video’s of our new GASP lab software in action.