I wrote this cover piece article way back in 1995 for Golf Magazine. I am happy to say that it’s the 20th anniversary of the Load, Unload and Explode article. Now with BodiTrak (Pressure Mapping) even those most pessimistic doubters and anti weight movement teachers have to concede that great ball strikers and all PGA tour players load pressure into the trail foot in the backswing for a driver. They then unload quickly back to the lead foot, and explode out of the ground through the the impact interval.
Let me briefly explain how you build body velocity and maximize your power potential by using the most dynamic and athletic motion possible. I’ve always called it “natural athletic motion” simply due to the fact that many golfers are not naturally athletic. In fact what comes naturally to many is dead wrong. It’s a swing speed killer. In fact I’ve called the reverse pivot one of the “DEATH MOVES” (Eight Step Swing book) in the golf swing and there are numerous other poor body motions that can deprive any golfer of there potential.
An athlete in any sport knows how to load the body. Even the first human spear hunters knew how to load the body to spear the family dinner. The tribe did not send out a non athlete to spear the saber tooth tiger. They would have either starved to death, or been killed themselves. They sent out somebody who could throw that spear long, and accurately. Same in all ball and stick sports. So the laws of human athletic motion have been set in stone for millions of years. Unfortunately many don’t have it naturally. We have to be taught.
The load in golf happens very early. Most golfers do not know this. As the club head first moves away from the target the pressure in the feet moves. And, by the way, top teachers and players have known this for 100 years. I just used that Load, Unload, and Explode phrase to highlight my article on weight shift in a power golf swing. So the first move with your long clubs is best thought of as a move to the side, or a move away from the target. That’s opposed to staying on the lead foot or lead side. It’s also opposed to an immediate twist of the hips which always leads to the classic “reverse pivot”! It’s hard for me to believe that some modern day teachers don’t see this? And they teach the one pivot point swing with the driver. How can there be one pivot point when you have two feet touching the ground? It goes counter to any definition of a true turn. You can only turn on a single point, not two separate connected points. Your spine is something you can turn around, but it does not touch the ground. So the loading process must occur over either the lead leg or the trail leg and you get to choose. I teach my students to load the trail leg!
Now in working with Terry Hashimoto of BodiTrak we discussed many ideas and I gave him a term he loves and that he now uses in all of his BodiTrak presentations. The word is “brake”. I told Terry that I saw the trail leg as the brake of the back coil. You load quickly into the trail side, but that side and particularly the trail foot acts as a brake. The brake is the ball of the trail foot, never the toe. In other words once you feel pressure and the complete loading action the brake effect occurs and only then do you unload weight or pressure back to the lead side. This actually happens as the upper body (spine) and arms are still completing the backward coil. In the X Factor (TM) we call this the X Factor Stretch. This is a huge power accumulator. Once the player has made the athletic load, then made the early unload, he or she can fully explode through impact. The hips will actually rise in this impact interval using what most golfers now refer to as the “vertical forces” in the golf swing. Interestingly there is also a lead side brake which occurs when the full shift or linear forward target side move is completed and the lead hip reverses direction away from the target
BodiTrack measures the linear forces with a trace and as expected the better golfers have power traces, clean linear back moves, while weak golfers use the body entirely ineffectually. There dead before they have even started the forward movement of the club. They might find their way back to impact but it will not be as powerful if they had understood and employed athletic loading.