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Jimmy Ballard & Rocco Mediate 12 Nights at the Academy


Welcome to one of Golf Channels 12 Nights at the academy It is our gift to you and look what we are delivering this time PGA Tour winner Rocco Mediate and his long time instructor Jimmy Ballard they have been working together since 2005 or just before that and you have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and your teaching method, Jimmy, is quite simple Yes, I think it is we try to keep it simple, we want people to understand that the golf swing is not complicated that it’s an athletic motion, and most people would do it pretty naturally if they didn’t try to do certain things that keep them from being natural you know, head down, stiff left arm, that type of thing Rocco you waited until right around that time to join forces with Jimmy because of a bad back and it has changed your life Oh, yea well I don’t have a bad back anymore. You know, golf is insane as far as on our body, it’s bad, it’s hard to do, it’s just an unnatural motion, but the more you can get rid of some of those unnatural angles and bad setups, and bent over, and everything that we are going to talk about, it becomes easier. much easier and easier on your body so that was, that’s what we are looking to help, especially on the body, because it messes you up if you make bad moves at a golf ball repeatedly, it will hurt you, and we have seen some of our best players go down from it It’s just the easiest way to move a golf club, I call it moving not swinging, and these things that we are going to show everybody today are simple to understand hard to do because when you change something it takes time you know it’s, not an immediate thing, you cant do it perfect right away, you have to understand the motion and then work on it and it becomes much easier Jimmy, you have been teaching prominently now since the 1970’s you have worked with a number of high profile names, Major champions Seve (Ballesteros), Curtis (Strange), we could go on and on lets talk about the method that you started with and stay with to this day you call it remaining connected connectivity, please explain well, the golf swing, as I say starts from a braced connected address it starts with the setup, and the thing we always want, is we always want the right foot turned in we always want the inside heel measurement, outside of your shoulder width that’s to make an athletic motion we found shoulder width is the distance it takes to make the correct “coil” and just get into the leg the proper way, so to do that we also have posture you must have good posture we want people like they are holding weights, like they were going to curl weights we want their fanny under them, we want it under them because that’s the only way your legs can work you can’t work your legs if you stick your fanny out so it all comes back to setup, getting your body in the right position to make that move and so to do that we just tell people, right foot square, left toe slightly out that will help you to get through the ball, we want the inside of your heel measurements wider than shoulder width and then we want good posture, as if you were standing here curling weights you would never hold anything heavy this way you hold everything heavy here so getting in the right position to get our body to work correctly, that’s the whole key and it’s a pre-swing thought where were you versus where you are now, with Jimmy? I was a tiny bit narrow, I was a bit narrow and bent over, and my back was terrible. It was the end of ’04, I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know if I could retire because what the heck else am I going to do? All I know how to do is play golf, basically. So I wanted to keep doing it and, Leonard Thompson and I have been talking for years about going to see Jimmy Ballard but I was doing ok, and I said no I’m fine, but once that happened I called Leonard and I said LT I need to go see Jimmy, He said, “we have been waiting for this, to happen” so we went down and he saw some stuff, obviously I was kind of narrow, I was bent over, and I was far away from it. It felt better to me because my back was, it was just always feels better for some reason to be narrow but what it does is put more stress on my spine, because any time you are narrow, you are twisty you twist more, you turn around a circle, which we do not want to do I don’t even think about turning in a golf swing I know it’s kind of weird but I don’t think about it at all so all we really started with was width of stance, shoulders inside my feet like Jim just said and posture so now I have gotten rid of all this, and bent over, it’s all right here there’s not a lot, there are angles in a golf swing, but there are not a lot right here you know, this isn’t dropped down, my hips aren’t.., everything is dead square in “center” that’s what he taught me especially, sternum, center, whatever you want to call it, center so everything starts from center, and moves it’s one, two there aren’t 47 parts of a golf swing, there are two the back swing and the downswing, the finish is all a result of what you do we had a conversation before this show started and we wanted to get from you tonight tips for high level, mid level, and low level handicappers and you said we only teach to one level it’s one level, it works for every person whether it’s a touring professional or a guy who is just starting golf it’s all the same, that’s the beauty of it it’s the fundamentals, what we call the fundamentals, we want everybody to do the same thing when we look at a golf swing, and i first give an overview I show everyone how the triangle is maintained throughout the swing and if you take that and understand people would do that naturally if they simply kept their elbows down, got into their right leg, and got their elbows down when they got to the left, and as soon as the elbows are down, then your body is free to move like throwing a medicine ball underhanded but when you get your arms around, or off your body, or your elbows out there is no way your body can coordinate with it let me show you what he means, what we mean is as far as structure and setup, which is width of stance, kind of braced like we were talking about my knees aren’t out, there are in just a touch I’m this way so I am as tall as I can be, what we mean about elbows down, left arm on my body my elbow is not pointing out, it’s pointing down to my I guess my left hip socket somewhere so what were talking about is if the elbows stay down, watch the golf club go up ok the golf club is up here now, what Jimmy has always taught is that the golf club now is light it’s balanced, i’ts balanced and light, so now it can be thrown any way I want to throw it hard, fast, easy slow, doesn’t matter – timing means nothing if your golf club is in the right place. once I get my elbows sideways, now look at the club, now it’s heavy and I can’t do it So now I’m going to move it at 100 miles an hour, good luck so if the elbows stay down on both sides, to where if I feel like I’m back into my right and up over to my left, I got nothing there is nothing here, I’m all done there is no weight on my right, I got no stress on my spine, it’s simple simple, simple, simiple and all of the sockets and joints work correctly yea there is nothing out of wack it’s easy to get out of whack in this crazy game we play but this way is the most efficient by far let’s start with the left arm ant it’s role well you know Hogan when he changed his swing, he talked about that he had half a left arm, and he talked about on the Ed Sullivan show that the arms were connected to the body at the elbows not at the shoulders and then he just talked about – move to your right and move to your left with your elbows on your body and that’s really all it is, but it has to be posture and the left arm connection is tied into the left lat, once you tie your arm in to your left lat like your holding something heavy, it would be as though if I wanted to backhand someone all I would do is lay my arm here, this left lat would move into my right leg and I would hit you with my right side I would never get back here and pull my arm or I would never get my arm away from me to hit you hard my arm would lay connected to my shoulder, I’d lay my arm on my body and I would hit you with my big muscles yea I’ll try not to take it personally that he wants to backhand me right now well your standing there not me! It’s usually you! and what he means by that is, and it’s amazing, the elbows down, this left arm is down this way, I remember he made me walk around for like a week like this hey how are you doing, I’m good right here so I’m like this, so instead of the elbow being out, which causes rounding, if the joint is this way it goes around you, if this joint is down, and the right elbow is not this way it’s out, it’s like your shaking hands with someone, I’m not going to put it underneath me because in my opinion it follows your rib cage, i don’t want to follow my rib cage it’s going to go around me it’s not going to go up, so what he’s talking about is structure in this way to where I’m up and I feel stress in my lats, and all these big small little lats and all this stuff and everything else feel it up here, where are the big ones Roc? I don’t have any! that carries the club, see my arms and hands don’t ever, you never see this happen see how fast, it carries the club so.. as soon as I am set up properly I can move the club back and through but if I am not tall and wide, lets say I get narrow and bent over, I lose all of my structure this is mush, more than it usually is. so this is mush, so now all of a sudden my arms and hands come into play, and I am dead because I can’t trust ’em but I can trust all these big muscles in my legs and everything moving this golf club that’s what I want, I don’t ever think of these, these just my arms and hands, my hands just hold the club Jimmy has taught me that it’s just measuring up, once I’m set here and we talk about it all the time, one I’m measured up in my setup now it’s just a matter of movement and motion and I want to keep the same, in other words the club never gets in and deep behind me most of the time the club never goes out and away from me, I’m disconnected, you see it goes straight, you know, kind of straight back I guess, but I’m moving it with all of this so the center moves it back, and if I’m measured up properly and setup properly it’s going to be right in the numbers as far as hitting and there’s not going to be any disturbance in the ground because I’m measured up and I stay tall throughout the entire swing, everything stays tall Hogan always talked about being taller at impact, not smaller think about that you have to be up to hit down, in other words you have to be up to hit down if your down, your hitting up and that’s bad as we know so you have to always have good posture to be in a position to hit a descending blow, the ball is on the ground ok we got a great tip from you earlier, were looking for another one, what do you have? well I think the best way to understand how to get into your right leg and coil, and not sway which people have always accused me of, I think you have to understand with the setup we have already talked about your left shoulder never goes under, your left shoulder never goes high, that would be a sway, we don’t teach that we teach the left knee, and the left lat makes a little six inch move into your right leg and your right arm and shoulder hinges up to hit down so therefore the only way I can hit down is for my elbows to be down to go that way and if you don’t get into your leg how can you go forward? so that’s the whole key, it’s not a sway it’s a coil you can’t turn because you can’t turn from two sockets and two joints Period. laws of physics. so you coil into the set of the leg and uncoil and back to back US Opens for Curtis Strange just does not lie we still have another incredible tip coming your way from Jimmy Ballard, a personal one he received from the Hawk, calls it the best he ever received, stay tuned for that for the best in golf instruction go to GolfChannel.com we have teased it, I have heard it, it is awesome but now it’s time to deliver it to our viewers the best tip you ever received and it’s hard to believe you didn’t get it from Ben Hogan but you did Yea, yea, it was 1956 he was standing on a practice tee hitting balls and he would take a swing, he was a chain smoker he would always put the cigarette in his mouth when he hit and he had a reason for that, because it made him keep his chin up, and keep his posture better and he’d put it in there and he’d take the club and he’d put it on his right hip and he’d lay his arm like this and he would go like this twice, and then he would go like this and just like that, Rocco Mediate donning the full gear except your missing half of your pants well I’m wearing shorts, I’m a rebel the clean shaven Rocco Mediate I am sure you have heard this story but yes his legs are more clean shaven but you are also wearing the golf swing training aid that has been instrumental in the revival of your career. Yes, Vharness is fantastic it’s like I said it doesn’t stop you from doing the wrong thing, it makes you do the right thing and thats huge because we want you to understand how it works and what it feels like It makes you feel what we have been talking about for the last 20 or 30 minutes and what is that, how does it work Jimmy? Well it keeps his radius, when he sets up that V-cord it should be taut and throughout the swing and we have always told him if you had a string at the end of club to the placket of your shirt, that distance should remain the same distance throughout the swing that keeps your radius and keeps your arc, if you change that, you’ve changed your radius, you have changed your arc, and you have changed your plane and best wishes after that what I feel, is that with my normal setup, once the club goes into the ground or touches the ground see how tight the cords are, the v-cords are tight, and I want to keep ’em tight, so how can I do that, I can’t stand still and do that look at em, it’s over. But if I move back into my right they are still taut, and back to my left and I keep ’em like that as much as I can I love when the right one is tight in the through swing, I love that feel when it’s pushed out this way so hitting balls with every single club, actually and putting too you can do the same thing, it keeps your structure, that’s my word of the day, structure, so it keeps your structure to where if I keep them both sides, it makes me do what I do and I laughed about it because when we messed around and built it I haven’t even hit balls with it yet, and then when I hit balls with it I went holy crap it does work!

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