Using a smart phone to film your golf swing
With the quality of the cameras ever improving on smart phones, and apps be designed to help golfers analysis their own swings, it is no wonder that when you look down a driving range these days nearly everyone is constantly videoing their swing. When I check my students phones it, seems that no practice session is complete without at least 5 swing videos! The question is, does this help players improve their swing and golf?
What most players do not realize is that where you place your phone/camera will greatly change the look of your swing. Almost on a daily bases, players will tell me about a fault in their swing they would like to improve. One example would be their top of backswing position being across the line (pointing to the right), but when I video their swing, the club is not across the line. Their swing has not changed. It is exactly the same as when they videoed it themselves, but what has changed is the position of the camera. When this happens, and a player positions their camera incorrectly, they will get a false impression of their swing which many times results in them practicing incorrectly, and actually making their golf worse not better.
Look at the 3 pictures. In each picture I am making exactly the same swing, but by changing the position I am holding my phone in creates 3 different looks to my swing.
How to position the camera correctly?
First of all, understanding the correct camera position is dedendant upon which part of the swing you want to analysis. For example, if you wanted to look at the path of the clubhead through impact, your camera should be pointed on a direct line down the ball to target line. Any other angle would change the look of the path of the club through impact.
Because it would be too difficult, and almost confusing to continually change the position of the camera to analyze every part of your swing, what is generally accepted as the best place to analyze your swing as a whole is:
The camera should be positioned waist high and pointing directly through your hands, parallel to the ball to target line. Perhaps you can see that this is the centre of your swing from behind, and gives you the best look at all areas of your swing.
Again, the camera should be positioned waist high, and pointed directly at the middle of your body, at a 90 degree angle. Again, this is the centre of your swing from this angle.
What will further improve your camera work is trying to make sure the image is steady by placing the camera on something that is not moving, a table, a golf bag, or if possible, a tripod. Often, when I do not have a tripod, I will use a club which is waist high and helps me keep the camera as steady as possible.
The Basic Analysis
Address – As a basic analysis of your address, I would check two aspects.
1) Posture balance – Check that you have an equal amount of body behind and in front of your feet.
2) Alignment – Check that your feet, knees, hips, shoulders, and eyes are all parallel.
As a basic analysis of your swing, check that your club is swinging inside the zone in the picture. The zone is created by a line extended from the clubhead through the shaft, and another from the clubhead through the shoulder.
Address – As a base analysis of your address, from the front, check that you have equal balance right foot to left foot. Your stance should be shoulder width, and you should have a little spine tilt away from the target.
Movement – From the front, the basic analysis should be that you remain close to centre during the backswing, with a small lower body movement to the target in the downswing.