Side Bend – The Key to a Great Downswing

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IN A GREAT DOWNSWING YOU MUST BEND YOUR BODY SIDEWARDS. PGA Professional Robin Symes explains what is side bend, and shows drills to increase your side bend in the downswing.

Hi. Robin here. I want to talk about the way your body moves in the golf swing and really focus in on one area of that. There are three components of the way your body moves. One, which we’re all aware of. Your body will rotate to the right and rotate to the left, it’s rotation. Number two, this forward bend. You can see at address, I’m bent forward. I’m not going to get into detail with this in this video, but it’s bent forward at address. That forward bend will reduce in the backswing. It’ll increase again on the downswing. Reduce again in impact into the follow through.
I know that’s a little complicated, but don’t worry about that right now. Let’s focus in on the third component, side bend. Your body will actually bend to the side, to the left in the backswing if you’re a right handed golfer. And it’ll bend to the right, side bend to the right and the downswing. Now, just looking at that, or isolating that movement, you might think I’m crazy, but let me explain.
Look, if I was to side bend to the left, and then rotate my body you can see that brings my body into really, the correct body position to the top of the backswing. So, side bend to the left, with rotation, and now I’m in the correct body position. That’s the combination of those two movements.
Downswing, I side bend to the right, and again, combine that with some rotation, that brings me to the correct impact position. My body is now in the correct position at impact. So, side bend to the right, rotation, good impact position. Now, that allows me to maintain my body angles.
If I didn’t have any side bend I would look like this at impact. I’d be coming over the top, I’d be coming steep. My upper body would be getting ahead of the golf ball. So any players here hitting down on the ball too much, slicing the ball too much, this could be a good video for you to watch.
I’m focusing in on side bend in this video, particularly in the downswing because I think that this is a really key movement. Players have got to learn to increase their side bend in their downswing. That’s to say it’s a combination of this, plus rotation.
Now that’s quite complicated to think, “How do I do that?” You can understand the mechanics, but you have to have a feeling for this movement. And there’s a couple of ways I like to teach this.
I’ve showed this drill before, I call it the windmill drill. But if I bring my arms out, parallel to the ground, make my backswing so my left arm’s pointing at the ball, my right arm’s pointing to the sky. Now, if I reverse that in the downswing, right arm pointing at the ball, left arm pointing at the sky, automatically I’ll be rotating and increasing my side bend. You can see. Hopefully, you’re starting to understand now, and you can see at impact I’m bent to the side. That’s going to allow my right shoulder to lower down. It’s going to allow my arm to come down on plane. It’s a great movement for anybody who’s getting over the top, getting an outside plane, getting steep. Great movement for any of these players to learn.
Anybody who’s struggling, moving their upper body first, again I think this could be really crucial for you to learn. So windmill drill, practice pointing your right arm at the ball, left arm at the sky. That will insure you’re rotating and side bending. Another good way to do it, again I’ve showed this drill before. Hold the club like so. Club head out, and again point the club head at the ball. To do that I must be bending my body sidewards to the right, and rotating.
I’ve heard some coaches recently described it as an upper cut. Feel like you’re, uppercut, punching a punch bag. Again, that will give you the feeling of bending your body sideways and rotating at the same time. All of these drills provide the same feeling. Once you have that feeling, try to incorporate that into your swing.
Anybody struggling early extending, losing their body angles. Again, a very important movement for you to learn, so I think this is a really crucial part of a golf swing. It’s something when I look at a lot of good players, they do, well they do naturally. But very rarely do you see a good player who does not have a very good or efficient side bend movement of their body in the downswing combined with rotation. It’s a really crucial part of the swing. Give the drills a try, try to get the feeling, and then incorporate that into your swing.


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