Increasing Swing Speed Through the Speed Pyramid
Increasing Swing Speed Through the Speed Pyramid
Nov 04, 2021
The mechanics of the golf swing have a direct impact on a player’s ability to create club head speed. At SuperSpeed Golf, we look at swing mechanics in a comprehensive approach that describes the entire athletic movement of the golf swing. We call this model The Speed Pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid is Ground Force Mechanics, which describe how the player interacts with the ground. The middle portion of the pyramid looks at how the different segments of the players body rotate, creating Rotational Sequencing. At the top of the pyramid, we find Lag and Wrist Mechanics, which illustrate how the player translates rotational motion into effective linear speed with the arms, hands, and golf club. Working in sync with one another, The Speed Pyramid comprehensively shows how effectively a player uses their swing mechanics to create swing speed.
We have always known that how a player interacts with the ground is very important to creating swing speed and efficient swing mechanics. Many coaches have described the golf swing as working from the “ground up” for many years. Now with great technology to measure the resultant forces acting on a player’s body, we see many consistent patterns showing efficient ways to use the ground during the golf swing. When the player pushes on the ground, a force equal in intensity and opposite in direction acts on the player’s body. Force precedes and causes motion in the golf swing. Understanding how these Kinetic Forces and Torques act on the player can be underlying causes for many swing mechanics issues and power leaks. We find significant improvements in several areas of Ground Force Mechanics when working with our SuperSpeed Golf Training System. These include an average 18% gain in peak vertical force, and improvement of timing of when peak vertical force occurs in the swing relative to impact.
Kinematics is the next step in the Speed Pyramid where we look at how fast and in what order different segments of the player’s body rotate in the golf swing without considering the forces that cause this rotation. Typically, we look at the relationship in rotational velocity between the pelvis, thorax (rib cage), lead upper arm, and the golf club. During the transition of the golf swing, we tend to see the player’s pelvis begin rotating toward the target first, then the thorax, then the arm, and then the club. This does not occur in 100% of players but is a typical transition sequence. Each of these segments also peak in speed at a certain point in the downswing. The sequence of peak speeds is called the kinematic sequence. It is also important to note that how fast each segment is able to accelerate, peak, and stabilize when the next segment fires all have a significant impact on the efficiency and speed of the golf swing. Our studies show average gains in peak rotational velocity of 16% in the pelvis, 12% in the thorax, 8% in the arm, and 6% in the club segments.
The rotational chain of the golf swing eventually makes it way to the arms, hands, and golf club. This is the Lag and Wrist Mechanics area of the Speed Pyramid. Here we need to have an effective connection between our body and club in order to translate the rotational speed we create in the body into effective linear velocity of the club head. This, after all, is the metric of club head speed, which has the greatest impact on how far the ball will travel. There are many factors that go into creating efficient wrist mechanics in the golf swing. The simplest way to describe this would be to increase the loading of the club relative to the player’s forearms during the time when the pelvis and thorax are changing direction. This increased or “downswing” loading of the golf club, allows energy to stay in these distal segments longer before releasing just before impact. Going through our SuperSpeed Training protocols, we see a significant increase in downswing loading of the golf club and on average a 5% gain in linear club head speed from before to after just one session of the training.
Swing mechanics have been the tools of golf coaches since the first pros stepped out to the lesson tee to give golf instruction. It is very important to understand that the three areas of the Speed Pyramid are connected. The way a player uses the ground will greatly affect their ability to sequence rotationally which will, in turn, allow for efficient wrist mechanics to apply energy to the golf ball. Obviously, these areas could also work poorly for the player causing efficiency leaks at all points in the system. Looking at mechanics through the lens of the Speed Pyramid sheds a lot of light on how many players efficiently create speed in the golf swing. It also explains why many golf swings may look very different from one another, yet still produce very efficient and effective motions. We designed the SuperSpeed Golf Training system to work on all of these areas in one athletic motion. The best part for the player is that most of the time they don’t even know they are improving their Speed Pyramid. They just see results.