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The "prep step" before the x-step and the insidious "shirt illusion"

Brychanus

* Ace Member *
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The "prep step" before the x-step and the insidious "shirt illusion"

IMO these issues are so important they should get general visibility.

The "prep step" is your stride before your x-step. Over and over, myself and other players take the bait on what we can call the "shirt illusion," which can give you the idea that your pelvis should be sloped "up" (front hip toward the sky) rather than "down" (front hip toward the ground) the step before your x-step.

The illusion: if you get distracted by the angle of the shirt on each player, you might erroneously think their pelvis is in the "up" position sloped toward the sky with the front hip higher than the rear hip. But it's really just because their shirt is dangling over the front leg while the rear leg is moving behind them into the x-step:

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Think that those pelvises are sloped "up"? Think again:

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Part of the "shirt illusion" is simply the camera angle. Camera angles and clothes are tricky. Details in form can also make it a little harder depending on how a pro sets up their body over the prep step to swing in their x-step. Simon's the most extreme case IMO where camera angles interact with the shirt illusion and can really fool you due to his extremely advanced move off the rear leg. Compare Simon in the OT montage angle vs. other angles on other pros:

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Is Simon an exception to the "downhill" pelvis before the x-step? I don't think so. Don't be fooled - his booty is still "preset" and he's still coming through the prep step with an aggressive "downhill" pelvis.

Let's make the illusion even worse first. Look at an even more extreme camera angle relative to Simon striding in the OT montage. In the prep step (you'll have to slow it down since the video is moving fast before it slows down), it might now really look like he's "uphill" here with that pelvis sloped toward the sky. But ya can't really see his rear butt or rear hip, just like the OT montage obstructs it a bit due to the elevation of the camera, and where Simon is striding relative to the camera. The shirt angle adds to the deception here. The illusion is worse the more you move off 90 degrees to the stride path with the final plant stride coming more toward the camera.



So let's move it all the way around from a camera that gets a better view from rear of tee with less shirt deceiving the eye or a better butt view, which shows you that he's moving through the prep step with the pelvis sloped down with that beautiful, super athletically balance transition into the x-step:







The more I learn about Simon's form, his x-step looks less magical - but even more impressive.



More Video Examples:

Paul front and rear. Notice how different Paul's looks than Sexton's. I've heard Sexton lament that he should have spent more time on his backhand. This video makes it clear how much more balanced and loaded Paul gets, and a big part of it is his posture & pelvis moving through the move into the x-step.

Paul's pelvis going "downhill" even when throwing uphill.

Baby Gibson shows it very nicely.

The Birdman:





Solution:
Are you ready for it? Say it with me: "needs a form review." Plenty of overall posture and movement stuff can block it, and of course it is dynamic so you need to master it in motion. In my case, I'm doing a heavy helping of Swivel Stairs+Hershyzer+Sideways running 100 yards with my booty/pelvis preset just to start breaking the old habit and get my posture loaded aggressively in the correct direction, and am relearning *again* how my body should balance and load the legs. My joints are already much happier. It was immediately clear how much more acceleration & easy power you can potentially get from fixing the problem; mastering it is another thing.

Don't fall for this illusion!!!




Relevant posts:
Starting around here & a good ensuing discussion after this post

Will Schusterick shirt illusion

Paul McBeth pelvis front & rear
 
Shots fired.
Direct Hit.

Fantastic article.

I'll be dead honest, I never look or care to look at someone's hip tilt.
 
Until last week I absolutely thought my hips should slope up before my swing back.

That's from lots of posts like rocking the hips, Malaska golf videos, swing the hammer, etc. And I've done every drill out there without any idea they might slope down.

I don't think it's the fault of the shirt!
 
Also, if it wasn't clear, all the links at the bottom of the first post cued my summary, but all came from SW's critiquing.

Until last week I absolutely thought my hips should slope up before my swing back.

That's from lots of posts like rocking the hips, Malaska golf videos, swing the hammer, etc. And I've done every drill out there without any idea they might slope down.

I don't think it's the fault of the shirt!

I should caution that I think it's still possible to over-focus on the tilt itself one way or another, unfortunately. You need a lot of other things working together well dynamically for the "preset booty" to produce the right action pattern...
 
Posting this publicly as a sanity check and to encourage discussion.

This is about fundamentals *and* optimizing to body types. Specifically, it is about keeping the pelvis closed to the target in the x-step while getting the swivel, buttwipe/butt lead/drop into the shift all to work well together. I don't think they relate to each other quite the way I thought they did before with respect to this "prep step."

SW continues to help me through building an X-step & used Avery Jenkins as a reference most recently. As I was looking at rear view video before throwing tomorrow, I noticed something interesting. I think I was still confused about the way pros take the step before the x-step and how it varies across players/styles to keep the pelvis closed to the target (fundamental 1) and the posture aggressive (fundamental 2).

I think a mistake I've been making is to try to force my body to move like Eagle or Simon for power - without realizing it - but it can't. For reference since it matters, I'm 6'1'', but only a 30'' inseam and physically very top heavy, broad-shouldered, and ~235 lbs.

Compared to someone like me, Eagle's long, thin legs and flexibility let him get his pelvis sloped aggressively down toward the target as he is leveraging off his front leg very horizontally. Whenever I try to do that moving horizontal for power, I would need a much smaller x-step to clear my x-step behind me without opening the front hip due to my body type. But to power that form up, I'd need to be bringing a lot more horizontal momentum in. I've only been working on 3 steps recently and I don't get a lot out of my stumpy legs leverage-wise or athletically in any case. It's not ergonomic for me. So my body ends up trying to force me forward off the "prep step" too far to generate momentum and it inevitably ends up opening my pelvis as I try to power up, and **** hits the fan after that.

Are you more like Eagle or more like Avery?
SW is getting me onto examples like Markus Kallstrom and Avery Jenkins for a number of reasons. On the hips, it's really interesting that it looks like Avery's "prep step" has his leading hip sloped more skyward longer than Eagle's. But the details of how that happens are what's interesting. This is a little easier to see in real time so the clips are below the slide breakdowns.

Eagle's leading hip is showing that it's starting to slope "downhill" more significantly than Avery's by Slide 2 below.

In contrast, Avery's still pitched slightly skyward from rear to front hip by slide 4 as his x-step is taking his full weight. But Avery comes in with a much more vertical hope and a much smaller x-step. Basically, Avery is taking what Eagle does in Slide 1, but stretching it out until later after his x-step contacts the ground and his mAss is well ahead of it. Much easier for a big, vertical guy to pull off. Perhaps especially if you don't have very good levers and flexibility.

I think the action and the net effect landing in the plant is still the same - Avery's pelvis is still closed, his posture is still aggressive etc. But by staying stacked vertically he gets his stockier body to "skip" vertically over the x-step phase and can overcome not having spider-like legs. As Avery's backswing loads him up, he's getting the massive gravity boost from his hop. In contrast, Eagle has already brought in a lot of the power out of his strides and leg leverage and flexibility stretching his super long body out along the ground.

I'm learning lots of other little things about horizontal vs. vertical just comparing these two to each other.


1pwrEJ5.png


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Source for Eagle rearview (same as previous in thread):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbmzQgAaSJs

Source for Avery drives:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2FKSiZPHWE&ab_channel=lcgm8
 
Good pointers! Though I never bought the rocking hips, not even when people were pointing it to me as yet another magic move that you must do to throw beyond [insert any distance].

A little side note about Avery slomo footage, that keeps popping up here and there in the forum. The shots were filmed on my home course about 10 years ago on the exact range I learned to throw on. It was after a round in Tali Open, which was a week before European Open. I actually played a week league round with Avery that week.

Anyway... I was there when these no famous slomos were filmed. I remember it. And guess what? The throws were maximum 470 feet. The forehands considerably less. I remember asking myself, why is Avery throwing so badly here.

So, just to point out that in analyzing video footage we don't usually know how good the throw was, or what the player intended and did he/she succeed, and many many other aspects. I am just saying that in analyzing those Avery's shots, we are analyzing amateur distances thrown seemingly full power. He could do better back then.
 
Good to know about those, I'd of course encourage people to look at multiple examples/prototypes. I wouldn't be surprised if top throwers also sometimes get a "deer in the headlights" effect once in a while too.

I still tend to think of hip action as a consequence of or part of other things rather than a goal.
 
When discussing hip angle/slope, I'd be interested in a comparison of shoulders, reachback, and throw.

1. I would think the shoulders would match the hips...but do they? If the hips are pointed down/up, is it because of the stride? If so, the hips could be pointed up or down and the shoulders in the opposite slant.
2. If the player has a low reachback, is that causing the hips to point up? And likewise, a level reachback keeping the hips level...a higher reachback causing the hips to point down?
3. Or could the hip slope be due to the release point? A high release causes the hips to point up, etc....
 
When discussing hip angle/slope, I'd be interested in a comparison of shoulders, reachback, and throw.

1. I would think the shoulders would match the hips...but do they? If the hips are pointed down/up, is it because of the stride? If so, the hips could be pointed up or down and the shoulders in the opposite slant.
2. If the player has a low reachback, is that causing the hips to point up? And likewise, a level reachback keeping the hips level...a higher reachback causing the hips to point down?
3. Or could the hip slope be due to the release point? A high release causes the hips to point up, etc....
1. No, the torso doesn't remain rigid, side bend and coil and counter balancing are happening just like walking/running.

2/3. Maybe.

I've never really thought much about my pelvic tilt during the throw. What is my task and where is my destination and how do I get there efficiently in dynamic balance?
 
1. No, the torso doesn't remain rigid, side bend and coil and counter balancing are happening just like walking/running.

2/3. Maybe.

I've never really thought much about my pelvic tilt during the throw. What is my task and where is my destination and how do I get there efficiently in dynamic balance?

I don't think about my pelvic tilt, before, during, or after the throw. I have enough to think about without adding that to the process. But this thread made me wonder if the pelvic/hip tilt was actually a product of another part of the throw.

But then... I'm still learning how to throw a backhand with semi-accuracy/consistency.
 
If you're trying to think about your hip angle, you're bound for disaster.

I don't know if it was overthrow that just ended up popularizing this topic or what the deal is. He gets a bit fixated on one idea and kinda rolls with it really hard, even if its a not important idea.

The only time you should be looking at hip angle is if they look WAY out of place and out of balance.

Or body needs to flow and move, when we start trying to over control it, were bound for disaster. It's a waltz, you gotta let your body flow and move.
You're not a robot, stop trying to throw like a robot.
 
I've never really thought much about my pelvic tilt during the throw. What is my task and where is my destination and how do I get there efficiently in dynamic balance?


If you're trying to think about your hip angle, you're bound for disaster.

I don't know if it was overthrow that just ended up popularizing this topic or what the deal is. He gets a bit fixated on one idea and kinda rolls with it really hard, even if its a not important idea.

The only time you should be looking at hip angle is if they look WAY out of place and out of balance.

Or body needs to flow and move, when we start trying to over control it, were bound for disaster. It's a waltz, you gotta let your body flow and move.
You're not a robot, stop trying to throw like a robot.



Despite all the words I write sometimes since I'm a headcase learner, I generally agree w/ the above.

I do think raising awareness of relative postures and motions etc. is important in general but it's possible to hyperfocus to your detriment.
 
Despite all the words I write sometimes since I'm a headcase learner, I generally agree w/ the above.

I do think raising awareness of relative postures and motions etc. is important in general but it's possible to hyperfocus to your detriment.

It wasn't a shot at you, but there is someone out there who's hyperfocused on this that people are listening to and its just not something we should really be worrying about in a major since, but only really at an academic level if at all.

Learn it to know that something is way out of wack essentially, then think about the root causes of it, vs teaching it as "your hips need to do this" which is only going to cause long term problems.

Studying these things is nice, and I like learning these details, but I also took a HUGE evaluation of things as of late, and while I still like the nitty gritty info.
I'm focused more on, "okay there is this thing, how can we break it down to the simplest base mechanic and push that."

But some people teaching wise are perhaps a bit to focused on reactionary things as their teachable moments, vs using the reactions to guide the princicples.

And were discussing reactions to understand the principles in here.
Well, I hope that's what were doing. haha
 

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