How to Swing a Driver

A good tee shot is often the lead-in to a good golf score. Being able to swing a driver properly leads to tee shots that land with distance and accuracy on the fairway. Mastering the swing depends on both stance and swing mechanics. Practice your swing as often as possible, then adjust your swing to fix any issues you notice so you can be an ace on the golf course.

EditPositioning Yourself Near the Ball
Stand beside the ball with your weaker hand closer to the target. Choose the side you want to swing from, then face the ball. If you are right-handed, stand on the left side of the ball. Point your left shoulder towards the target. If you are left-handed, stand to the right of the ball with your right shoulder pointed towards the target.[1]
The half of your body closest to the target is your front side, such as your front arm and leg. Is This half is most important for aiming and driving the ball forward.

The half furthest from the target is your back or rear side. This half is responsible for your backswing and generating power.

Position yourself about 3 steps behind the ball. Walk backwards from the ball if you are unsure where to stand. When hitting the ball, you will need to bend over slightly. If this feels uncomfortable, you can move closer or further from the ball as needed. You should be able to see the top of the ball without standing over it.[2]
If your head is directly over the ball, you will have a hard time generating a smooth, powerful swing.

If you stand too far away from the ball, you will have to stretch your arms further to hit the ball, weakening your drive.

Spread your legs apart with your knees bent slightly forward. Stand beside the ball, spacing your legs about a shoulder width apart. The ball should be positioned a little behind the inside part of the heel on your front leg. This means the ball will be much closer to your front leg than your back leg.[3]
A wider stance means you will swing the driver in a wider arc. This can throw off your timing, so keep your feet relatively close together at first.

Focus on getting your stance correct before bringing the club into position. Once you have mastered this, you can do both simultaneously to improve your aim..

Grip the driver firmly with 1 hand below the other. This grip is called the overlap grip and is beginner-friendly. Position your back hand on the driver’s grip. Then, place your front hand above it, resting 1 or 2 fingers over your lower hand. Adjust your grip until it feels comfortable and balanced, neither tight nor loose.[4]
An interlocking grip is when you cross your index finger and pinkie. This is a good grip for fast swings and anyone with smaller hands.

A 10-finger grip is like holding a baseball bat. Your fingers do not overlap. It can be good if you lack strength, but it leads to less powerful drives.

Bend at the hips to bring your head towards the ball. Plant your feet firmly on the ground so they stay in position. Slowly bend forward, keeping your back and neck straight. Your head should come forward so you are able to look diagonally down to your club’s head and the top of the ball.[5]
Your back and neck should be flat. If your spine is bent at all, you may tire out and get sore while playing.

The ball should line up with your front ear, although your ear will be behind the ball instead of over it.

Tilt your body to raise your forward shoulder. Twist forward and towards your front leg. Bring the club around so it is near the tee. This should cause your front hip and shoulder to raise up. You want your front side to be slightly higher than your back side. To get yourself in position, you may shift your weight to your back leg.[6]
If you are having trouble getting the angle correct, take your back hand off the club. Put it behind your rear knee to lower your shoulder, then put it back on the driver grip again.

Drop your shoulders to position the club behind the ball. Position the club head so it is centered behind the ball. Let your shoulders hang down, then pull them back slightly. This should make your arms feel firm, ready to control a steady swing. If you feel like you can’t swing the club freely, adjust your positioning as needed by stepping back or standing straighter.[7]
This position causes the head of the driver to strike the ball on the upswing, lifting it off the tee.

Balance is key. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed in both legs.

EditDriving the Ball
Sweep the club’s head back in an arc until it is behind your head. Start your swing in your abdomen, tightening the muscles there as you begin moving the club towards your back leg. Keep your hands in position with your feet flat on the ground. Continue moving the club in an arc until the shaft is behind the middle part of your head.[8]
Keep your leading, or front, arm straight the entire time so you don’t have to straighten it out on the downswing.

Generate power by shifting your weight to your back leg as you swing.

Swing the driver down to begin your downstroke. Start the downswing by slightly pushing your front knee and hip towards the ball. Shift your weight from your back foot to your front foot, keeping both feet flat on the ground. Avoid adjusting your arms during the swing. Swing the club back down in a arc like it’s a pendulum.[9]
Avoid rushing the swing. You can let the club settle briefly over your shoulders before you begin the downswing.

The goal is to swing smoothly rather than hit the ball as hard as you can.

Extend your arms as you swing. Your front arm should still be straight like it was during your backswing. Straighten your rear arm as you bring the club around. Both of your arms become completely straight when the club reaches the ball.[10]
Focus on keeping your arms straight as long as possible after hitting the ball.

Push your feet down into the ground as you strike the ball. Right before the club reaches the ball, shift your weight fully to your front leg. Imagine that you are squishing a giant bug underneath your toes. This can help you transition your weight smoothly from back to front, generating more power.[11]
The key is to do this in a smooth motion. You may need to practice your swing before you can do this without thinking.

For extra speed, shift your front foot away from the ball as you swing.

Lift and turn your rear foot after you hit the ball. As you shift your weight to your front leg, try to keep your back foot on the ground as long as possible. After the club strikes the ball, twist your ankle so your back leg follows the rest of your body. When done correctly, your back foot will point forward with only the toes touching the ground.[12]
As you twist your foot around, the rest of your body also continues to twist, following your club’s swing.

Follow through by bringing your club over your front shoulder. Avoid stopping your swing short, since this causes shorter, weaker drives. Bring the club’s head all the way through the ball. Continue the arc of the swing until the club comes up over your shoulders. At the end, the club’s head should point down towards the ground.[13]
At the end of your swing, your arms will be bent into the shape of a capital “L.” Your back arm will be near your head with your front arm behind it.

Stay relaxed during your follow-through. Tensing up causes the ball to veer to the left or right.

EditTroubleshooting Your Swing
Stay balanced to swing with an average amount of power. One of the most basic issues is trying to hammer the ball to hit it long distances. This ends up reducing your power because you aren’t swinging properly. Check your swing mechanics to ensure your feet and hands are balanced. Then, swing steadily without attempting to make power adjustments.[14]
For example, make sure your feet are flat on the ground with your weight balanced between them.

If your swing is too light, the ball won’t travel very far. Your hands and shoulders may be too loose.

Remember, the goal is to swing the club smoothly and make contact, not smash the ball. You may lose a little distance at first, but consistency makes up for it over time.

Swing the driver at a steady speed. A lot of beginning golfers face a swing speed problem. They start a normal upswing, but rush the downswing. This interrupts the natural flow of your swing, so you hit weaker balls that tend to curve all over the golf course. Practice your swing until you can do it in a single, fluid motion.[15]
Although the basic mechanics are the same, not all golfers have the same swing. You may need to experiment a little to find out what feels natural to you.

A common problem is hesitating as you begin the downswing. Other golfers may tell you you’re swinging too fast when in reality the hesitation makes your swing look faster than it is.

Adjust your hand grip to hit the ball straighter. For a good swing, your grip strength needs to be equal across both hands. Keep a firm grip on the driver, but avoid squeezing it too hard. If your front hand grip is too strong, the ball will hook. If your back hand grip is too strong, the ball will slice.[16]
A hook is when the ball curves inwards towards your body. This is right to left for right-handed golfers and left to right for left-handed golfers.

A slice is when the ball curves away from your body, or left to right for right-handers and right to left for left-handers.

Straighten your swing to avoid hooks and slices. If your grip strength is fine, your swing mechanics may be an issue. First of all, make sure your legs, hips, and shoulders are straight while swinging. Swing through the ball with a consistent speed, since slowing down or speeding up can cause hooks and slices, respectively.[17]
Your club’s head should face upward as it snaps into the ball. Experiment with which part of the club’s head strikes the ball, since this affects the curve.

Although you can adjust your aim to compensate for a curving ball, fixing your swing mechanics is a better long-term solution.

If you are certain your swing is good, moving the tee forward or adjusting your distance to it can help.

Practice your swing regularly. You can practice anywhere without a ball, but also go to a driving range to drive some balls.

Get in the habit of envisioning your swing before you make it. Concentrating can help you do better.

Shake out your arms and wiggle your toes before taking a swing. Being tense interrupts your natural swinging motion.

Clear your head out before swinging the driver. Take deep breaths and relax so you can make smoother swings.

Even with regular practice and play, you will go through periods where your swing feels off. This happens to professional golfers too.

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Today in History for 5th January 2019

Historical Events

1638 – Petition in Recife Brazil leads to closing of their 2 synagogues
1905 – Charles Perrine announces discovery of Jupiter’s 7th satellite, Elara
1946 – “Show Boat” opens at Ziegfeld Theater NYC for 417 performances
1972 – Largest crowd at Cleveland Arena (Cavs vs Lakers-11,178)
1976 – “MacNeil-Lehrer Report” premieres on PBS
1997 – “Show Boat” closes at Gershwin Theater NYC

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1858 – Gustaf af Geijerstam, Swedish author (Boken om Lillebror), born in Hed socken (d. 1909)
1936 – Florence King, American humorist, born in Washington, D.C. (d. 2016)
1940 – Michael Rose, British army officer, born in British India
1957 – Kevin Hastings, Australian rugby league footballer, born in Surry Hills, Australia
1967 – J. H. Wyman, American film producer and director (Almost Human), born in Oakland, California
1969 – Paul McGillion, Scottish actor, born in Paisley, United Kingdom

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1589 – Catherine de’ Medici, Queen mother of France, dies at 69
1796 – Samuel Huntington, American politician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, dies at 64
1891 – Guillaume L Baud, Dutch minister of Colonies (1848-49), dies at 89
1971 – Columbus O’Donnell Iselin, American oceanographer, dies at 66
1981 – Harold C Urey, US chemist (Deuterium, Nobel 1934), dies at 87
1998 – Georgi Sviridov, Soviet neoromantic composer, dies of a heart attack at 82

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How to Improve Your Game in Soccer

When you play soccer, mental, physical, and technical skills all come into play. If you want to improve your game, it isn’t enough to focus on just one of these aspects. The best ball-handling skills won’t matter if you’re poorly conditioned and get winded just 10 minutes into the game. Likewise, a skillful and well-conditioned player still won’t succeed without the right strategy and focus. Create a training program that works on technical skills, soccer strategy, overall fitness, and mental focus to substantially improve your game.

EditHoning Technical Skills
Practice juggling to improve your ball control. You don’t need a lot of space to work on juggling. While you may not specifically juggle the ball during games, being able to juggle the ball well gives you stronger control and better ball-handling skills.[1]
Try to juggle for a little longer each time without losing control of the ball. If you can go for 5 minutes consistently, try to go for 10 minutes. Set a timer on your smart phone, or use an analog kitchen timer.

Juggling also helps you get better at controlling and stopping the ball.

Set up cones or flags for dribbling drills. You can get cones or flags for drills at any sporting goods store or general online retailer. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can do drills in a small patch of yard. Set the cones or flags in a row and dribble through and around them as you move forward.[2]
If you’re allowed, you can also practice dribbling inside the house – although you probably don’t want to wear your cleats indoors. Dribbling inside gives you plenty of obstacles and opportunities to change direction.

Kick the ball against a wall to improve your first touch. Find a solid brick or cement wall so it isn’t damaged by repeated kicks. Stand about away to start, and kick the ball as hard as you can against the wall. Get in position to receive the ball, control it, and immediately kick it back against the wall.[3]
As you get better, gradually move further away from the wall. Try to kick the ball just as hard from the longer distance as you did from the shorter distance.

Create a regular practice schedule. Even if you have regular practice with your team, you also need to practice on your own if you want to really improve your game. Find a time when you can dedicate 20 or 30 minutes every day to practicing your soccer skills.[4]
Include at least 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your practice for warming up and cooling down to help prevent injury.

You may want to schedule different drills so that you are constantly training different skills. Think about how you can adapt drills you learn in team practice so that you can do them by yourself.

If you have a close friend on your team who lives nearby, you might also plan joint practice sessions with them.

Develop a specialty skill. Think about one aspect of soccer that you really enjoy and can do relatively well, or that seems to come naturally to you. Focus on that skill in your personal practice sessions and turn it into a signature move.[5]
Perfecting one skill adds value to you as a player and gives any coach a reason to have you on their team. For example, if you’re a defender, you might work on your defensive heading.

Finding an opportunity to use a specialty skill that you’ve perfected can also enhance your own self-esteem and help you build confidence as a player.

EditIncreasing Fitness and Conditioning
Improve your range of motion with dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches, such as walking lunges and bodyweight squats, are a good warm-up before a practice or conditioning workout that will also increase the flexibility and range of motion in your joints.[6]
Before stretching, warm up your muscles by doing jumping jacks or jogging in place. Swing your arms in wide circles to get your blood flowing. Then, allow 5 minutes for dynamic stretches before working out or before a game.

Use interval training to build endurance. Many soccer players go jogging or running to increase their cardiovascular endurance. However, while it’s true that you do a lot of running during a soccer game, it isn’t nonstop running. Rather, you’re starting and stopping, jogging, sprinting, walking, and changing directions frequently. Interval training prepares you for this.[7]
Interval training naturally includes high and low intensities of activity, similar to the way you move during a game.

When choosing interval exercises, focus on those that mimic movements you would be likely to use during a soccer game. During the off-season, a 30-minute interval training session 3 or 4 days a week can help keep you in shape.

Incorporate compound exercises for strength training. Compound exercises, such as squats, lunges, and push-ups, work more than one joint and muscle group. These exercises automatically balance the strength of opposing muscle groups, which can help prevent injury.[8]
The majority of your exercises should be bodyweight exercises, or use free weights for resistance. Try to do strength training 2 or 3 days a week in the off-season. During the season you can still get in at least 1 strength training session a week, but don’t overdo it.

Move your whole body to strengthen all muscle groups, but put your primary focus on your lower body and your core.

Jump rope to build foot coordination and speed. Alternate between two-footed, single-foot, and crossover jumps, gradually increasing the speed at which you jump. Even if you don’t have a jump rope, you can mimic the movement.[9]
Using a weighted jump rope allows you to build strength and balance in your upper body and core.

Start jumping rope for 15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week. Gradually increase the length of time that you do it. You can also incorporate jumping rope as an interval if you’re doing interval training.

Do plyometric drills for speed and agility. Plyometrics drills use explosive movements such as jumps to build short-twitch muscle fiber, giving you more power and speed. Some basic plyometric exercises include jump squats and burpees.[10]
In addition to plyometric drills, practice sprinting to improve your speed. A professional soccer player can sprint in about 4 seconds.

In the off season, do plyometric and speed exercises at least 2 days per week for 20 or 30 minutes. You can cut this session in season.

EditBuilding Tactics and Strategy
Watch professional and national games. Study the moves of elite players closely, and dissect how they maintain possession of the ball and put players in position to score. Think about opportunities when you can use similar strategies in your own play.[11]
Watch teams with a wide variety of playing styles – don’t just focus on one or two teams that you like personally. It can also be good to make a study of a single team playing a lot of different teams. Figure out how they adapt their strategy to capitalize on the weaknesses of the other team.

Games where an underdog team defeated a top-ranked team can be good games to watch for strategy.

Use the width of the field on offense. When your team has possession, spread out and use the size of the field to help break up the other team’s defense and create opportunities to score. Use short and long passes and runs to keep the ball moving.[12]
If you keep the ball moving, the defense won’t have an opportunity to close in on you and make it difficult for you to pass the ball.

Pass the ball to players on the outside to stretch the defense thin and open up holes to get a teammate in an advantageous position.

Tighten up to defend as a unit. When the other team has the ball, your general strategy is the opposite of what it was when you had possession. Move more towards the middle of the field and move together as an impenetrable mass.[13]
The opposing team will try to stretch you out, but maintain position – especially when they pass the ball to a player on the outside. If the ball is played to the right winger, for example, your whole team should move as a unit to the right.

Apply your team strategy consistently. Your coach will communicate the overall team strategy to you and your teammates. When in doubt, fall back to this strategy as a default, regardless of the relative skills of your opponent.[14]
Your team strategy should be one that maximizes your team’s strengths and minimizes weaknesses. If you see ways in which your team strategy could be improved, talk them over with your coach and your teammates.

Work with your coach to understand your role in the overall team strategy, particularly if you switch to a different position.

Study the strengths and weaknesses of opponents. Before each game, you’ll adapt your overall strategy to limit your opponent’s strength and exploit their weaknesses. Study their gameplay carefully, looking not just at individual players but at the way the team plays as a whole.[15]
Understanding how your opponents typically act in various types of situations allows you to anticipate how they’ll respond so you can be proactive on the field.

Communicate with your teammates. Talk to your teammates when you’re on the field, and listen to them when they talk to you. Let them know if a player is heading towards them to pressure them, or if you’re open. If you have an opportunity, call for the ball and get involved in the game.[16]
Communicate with body language as well as your voice. Swivel your head as you play so you know where the ball is and are able to anticipate what may happen anywhere on the field.

You can also use the strength of your pass to communicate. A softer pass typically indicates that the receiver has more time, while a crisp pace might indicate the receiver is under pressure.[17]

EditDeveloping the Right Mentality
Play for the team. Soccer is a team sport, and you will not do well if you’re playing only for yourself. Any moves you make on the field should be designed to put the team in a better position to score, not to make you look good.[18]
If you have a personal problem with a team member, don’t take it onto the field. Once the game starts, put aside any personal animosity and focus on the team as a whole.

Use encouraging self-talk to maintain focus. Keeping an encouraging mantra running through your head can improve your confidence and help you stay in the moment. If you feel the urge to criticize yourself, let it go and return to your encouragement.[19]
For example, you might repeat to yourself “It’s okay. You’re doing great. Just a simple strike, you’ve done it before. Good clean strike.”

Visualize your best games. Visualization and meditation can help build confidence and improve your self-image. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes each day to sit quietly and visualize yourself playing your best, or scoring the winning goal.[20]
Think about how the movements feel, and how your body feels. Put yourself in the moment as you replay your visualization in your mind.

Try breathing and relaxation techniques to improve your control. Deep breathing exercises can help keep you calm under pressure. Soccer can be an intensely personal game, and opponents often will try to trigger your emotions to distract you.[21]
Practice positive, helpful reactions to game events that normally would trigger an angry or upset reaction. For example, instead of getting angry or arguing with a referee’s call, shake it off and move on.

Learn from mistakes and let them go. You can’t improve your game – in soccer or any other sport – without making some mistakes along the way. When the inevitable happens, take a deep breath and return to the moment.[22]
You’ll have time after the game, or at the end of practice, to analyze your mistake and learn from it. In the moment, put it out of your mind. If you dwell on it, you’ve taken your mind out of the game and your performance will suffer as a result.

Drink plenty of water while playing soccer to maintain hydration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and injury.

Use proper equipment whenever practicing, including cleats, shin guards, and socks. This will get you used to wearing the right gear and also help prevent injury.[23]
If you are injured, either in practice or a game, take a few days off to rest and allow your body to recover before you attempt to train again.

EditRelated wikiHows
Choose a Pair of Goalie/Keeper Gloves

Bend or “Curve” a Soccer Ball

Play Street Soccer

Improve at Basketball

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