With golfers trying to maximize swing speed, Overspeed training in the form of speed sticks and other programs has become very popular recently. While this can definitely be an effective tool in your toolbox for doing so, I see a lot of issues in how most golfers are approaching the use of them and some of the protocols given for them. The benefits of using speed sticks are that they are highly specific to the golf swing and therefore work well for carryover of speed generation into the golf swing. This training essentially taps into your nervous system's ability to create speed, it is not strength training and it is not injury prevention regardless of some of the claims out there. However, if that is the only training you are doing, then you are setting yourself up for potential failure or even worse pain or injury.
This is why it is highly important to incorporate a well-rounded strength and conditioning program focusing on mobility, strength, and power development along with any Overspeed training that you do. We know that in general stronger golfers are typically able to express more power and therefore become more responsive to golf-specific velocity training and with much less risk of overuse injury from doing so. Building a program around squatting, lunging, deadlifting, pressing, rowing, pullups, jumps, and throws will not only carry over into performance on the course but also make you into a more resilient and robust golfer and human being outside of the sport. Thus decreasing injury risk in all aspects of life. I generally recommend 2 to 3 days a week of this type of training for all golfers whether or not you are also doing Overspeed training
For golfers having enough mobility in the right areas is also a necessary component of any training program. Having the ability and mobility to rotate through to rotational centers (hips, thoracic spine, neck, and shoulders), disassociate the upper and lower body, and control the movements of the pelvis will not only allow you to more safely tolerate loads of swinging both a golf club or speed stick but also put you in a better position to have proper sequencing and mechanics to optimize any golf-specific speed training. Adding the excess load via speed training on top of a body that isn’t ready for it is a recipe for disaster. Spending 10-15 minutes a day on mobility work can make a world of difference in how you move and feel.
How to Use Overspeed Training
I have fine-tuned this process based on my experience as well as taking some from other coaches and finding what has worked for them
Basic Tips for each Training and Testing session with speed sticks
Always track your swings with some kind of speed tracking Radar. i recommend the PRGR.
Do a basic full-body warm-up, then take 5 less than full speed swings with each stick before starting your tracked swings.
Wear a glove, and preferably one on each hand. Sweaty hands kill speed and you don’t want to let go of them
Set up far enough away from the radar, many people have smashed radars with sticks. With PRGR keep about three feet behind the “ball” facing down the target line.
I along with a lot of other top Golf S and C coaches currently do not believe there is any necessity to do the swings on your non hitting side. I have not observed any benefits for increasing speed or reducing injury. All It does is double the time and energy demands of the workout with no real benefit
Tracking & Transferring Your Gains!
Establish baseline numbers for each stick, and your driver hitting balls when possible.
Track every session and keep a record of your personal best for each stick and driver. For every swing, your intent should be to beat that number although you aren't always going to do so.
You should be tracking your max swing, averages, and low for each session and looking for where the trends go overtime for each.
As the ultimate goal is increased driver speed and not increased stick speed, I recommend tracking 10 driver max swings and 10 driver playing speed swings each week if not once every few weeks, and spending time hitting balls each week with max intent and speed. (Recommend 10-20 balls 1-3 times a week) DONT WORRY ABOUT CONTACT OR DIRECTION FOR THESE SWINGS
If you start to see an increase in your stick speeds but do not see an increase in your driver speeds, you most likely need more practice with your driver. If you can swing each stick significantly faster than before, you definitely have the potential to swing your driver faster. Most people have difficulty bringing the same intent to hitting a ball as they do swing a stick due to the fear of a bad strike, and wayward shot. This is something that you can improve on the range with practice.
As you get more comfortable hitting balls with max intent, tracking contact will become important as well. You can do this by Spraying the face of your driver with foot spray which will give you feedback of where on the driver face you made contact. As you do more and more of this, combined with speed feedback from the radar you will improve your coordination in hitting the middle of the face (which is crucial for accuracy and ball speed)
Building strong, resilient, and robust athletes is a primary goal of any sport-specific strength and power training program. You then take that strength, power, and mobility base and can specify it to golf via speed stick and other golf-specific speed training programs with a much higher chance of seeing success as well as a decreased chance of having pain or injury from doing so. In the end speed sticks or any other golf-specific speed program can be a nice addition to a well-rounded program, but keep in mind that they’re one piece of the puzzle and the other pieces need to be in place to maximize results and minimize the risk of injury. The goal of a well-designed strength and conditioning program is to increase performance via speed generation, be able to tolerate and create the forces and movements necessary for the sport, and lastly have the ability to practice and play as much as you want without fatigue or pain well into your years.
If you need help finding the right program for you reach out to us at Guidry Golf and Sport at email@example.com. We help golfers in the Southeast Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast areas via our in-person training programs, as well as golfers all over the world via our online coaching app. Having proper guidance from a knowledgeable coach is the best way to set yourself up for success.
Dr. John Paul Guidry DPT CSCS TPI