If you know what the Pump drill is then you've probably been around golf instruction for sometime. Those of you have had success using the pump drill will find that it's hard to replicate when starting from you regular address position. In this article we will examine how you can use the pump drill to inform your entire swing from the address position.
I remember first hearing about it when I was first starting to learn this game in the 90's. It has since been my go to drill when working on the transition Call it what you want but the "Pump Drill" or the "Waist High" or any variation of it is when you set you hands at waist high and start the swing from there. Some people just like to swing from there as Viktor Hovland does below or someone like Justin Rose who does it in slow reps on his pre-shot routine. I also like to teach my students to pump it 3 times from waist high to the top to get a sense of the plane as well.
If you have some experience with this drill you will notice that you can hit some of your best shots with it. Most people will assume that the secret behind this drill is because it helps get your shaft on plane. But, in this article we are going to take a look another important reason this drill works; the transition!
What is it in the transition that make this drill work so well? You'll find that it really helps you drop the club down on a shallower plane and more often than not your club will find the middle of the clubface. When you are doing this drill correctly, what you're going to notice is that when your club is set at waist high, your pressure has been set to your trail side. This is also a natural occurrence because the weight of your club is also on the trail side making your trail side that much more pressurized. Then, as you are turning your shoulders and getting your arms up in the air to strike the ball, pay attention to the transition from backswing to downswing. It is during this period where you're inspired to shift pressure to your lead side from the waist-high position and there's a short period of weightlessness before your ground pressure ramps up to our lead side. It is also in this period where there's a lot more space created between your hips and your arms allowing for the club to shallow in the transition.
Now why is it that the drill works but when you set up to the ball normally you can't do it as well? Simply put, you're not getting in to the same waist high position when you start at address. From what I've seen in my experience, most of my students are not pitching the club up the plane properly and loading into their trail side early enough in the takeaway. Instead, the most common mistakes I see are: rolling your wrists back, too much one piece takeaway, spinning out with hips and a late weight shift to the trail side.
The takeaway and transition is huge deal in getting the sequencing right. In fact this is probably the most overlooked part of the golf swing, but most important. Get this right to make a GIANT leap toward improvement!
How many of you have either copied golf drills from online lessons, youtube videos or have even gotten some lessons where a coach gave you some sort of drills to work on? You would probably agree that for the time being, it may work to some degree but then notice that when you take your normal swing after your regular setup, you are unable to replicate the good shots that you would do with the drills? I see time and time again even in my own teaching that students are only able to do the drills yet they cannot translate it to to their normal swings.
Lately, I have been having a significant amount of success upon having students try to focus on what body muscles they are feeling at work when doing the drills. See, drills (the correct ones) are designed to force you to get in to positions that you normally would not get into: for example, the right foot back drill is there to help you get your hip depth on the backswing, the step drill is there to help you transition correctly, the Hogan drill is to help your grip it better with your trail hand, the L to L drill is there to get your wrists to start hinging correctly... and the list goes on and on. However when people do these drills they fail to incorporate it properly into their normal swings.
The key to making drills successful is to be aware of the muscle sensations they are trying to make you feel. Remember, be specific. Do you feel your lead arm or you trail arm taking the club back, is there tension in your left lat or your right lat? When are you feeling a pressure shift, early or late? Are you feeling more tension in your right wrist or left wrist, etc.
Pay close attention to how these feel from a musculature perspective because chances are that when you take your normal setup to the ball, you are already predisposed to fire the same exact muscles you've been firing in the past and that is why your drills are not effective.
Many times I tell my students, "If you're doing it, you're not, if you're not sure you're doing it, then you're still not, but if you feel ridiculous, then there's a slight chance you are."