Adam came in for the lesson and I instructed him to hit warm-up shots before we got into it. This is what I do for all my students as it gives me an opportunity to see how they rehearse for a shot. I will then ask them to hit toward a target so I can keep a close eye on whether they are setting themselves up for success by aiming correctly at their intended direction. As I asked Adam to aim at the 100m sign, I noticed with every shot he would aim his body directly at the target.
This is a very common mistake that I have from players who come in for a lesson that they must think that they should aim their body including their feet, shoulders and knees directly at the target instead of aiming slightly left. The reason why we should aim slightly left of target is because golf unlike other sports, the ball is at a distance from the body at set-up. This distance needs to be factored in when lining up to a shot which means that the body should be set-up parallel to the target (slightly left).
Alignment has a big impact with the way the body moves during the swing, in particular the swing path. What tends to happen is that the swing path will tend to follow the line of the feet. Therefore and as in Adams's case, the path tends to move behind the body too much as the feet are aiming right. As a compensation on the downswing, the path then tries to come back over the top to fix the problem and invariably causes a slice which is exactly the problem we are trying to eliminate from Adam's game. The path also may not come back over the top on the way down and could cause the downswing to be flat which would cause a 'hook' or a 'block'. Both issues are contributed by poor alignment.
This is why I am very particular in making sure that the student is lining up to the shot correctly so that alignment is not causing the swing issues. As mentioned in the video, the best way to solve this problem is have a club placed on the ground set along the line of your feet, parallel left. When setting up to the shot not only have your feet parallel to the shaft but also make sure your shoulders, hips and knees are parallel as well. You can do this by simply getting into your position and then holding the club up to your shoulders or down to your knees making sure that they are also aiming parallel left. You could also put another club on the ground for your clubface that is placed on the other side of the ball. With the clubface however this will be aiming directly at the target. To ensure the clubface is aiming at the target, just make sure the clubface is perpendicular to the club on the ground.
Alignment built into your pre-shot routine is particularly important if you have a game coming up shortly. What I do for every shot that I hit before and on game day and even is I will have the club placed on the ground for my feet and then practice walking in from behind the shot each time with perfect alignment. This gives me then the confidence that I will be aiming correctly each time when setting up for the shot.
The alignment is just another tool for Adam to master which is very important and very much in his control as it doesn't involve him swinging the club but just how he sets up to the ball every time.