Best Practice from Jason Sutton
Reactive Neuromuscular Training
Teaching, Coaching & Player Development Committee

As golf instructors, we are always looking for ways to change motor patterns in our players the fastest and more importantly have them stick. I am always trying to learn and research as many tactics as possible to achieve this goal and  wanted to share  one of my training methods that I use called RNT or Reactive Neuromuscular Training. RNT originated in the fitness and rehab world and is currently used by many to train athletes and strengthen patients after surgery.

For those of you who have watched me teach know that I am big on moving my students around with my hands to help them create a feel for the change that I want them to make. Although this is a very useful way to train the first stage of awareness (Cortical stage), it only gives you half of the solution. We still have the task of making the student recruit the muscle group to actually move in the direction of change on their own.

Several years ago, I started moving people in the opposite direction or towards the error and making them resist or make them do the work and I saw immediate results but had no idea what I was doing or what it was called until now. As my friend and top 100 teacher, John Dunigan says “He who does the work, does the learning.”

I have spent alot of time with Tyler Ferrell (top instructor and fitness expert) in his Golf Smarter Academy certification this past year and watched him using this technique with vera bands and fitness equipment which acts as an extension of the coaches hands and arms. On a recent podcast interview on my Golf Guru Show with Biomechanics expert, Dr. Scott Lynn, he talked about this method which is when I learned what it was officially named. He stated, “You simply pull the student in the same direction of the error (what you don’t want them to do) or what Dr. Lynn calls “Feed The Mistake” and force the player to recruit the muscle groups to resist. Now you are not only training the mistake but creating long lasting neuromuscular patterns that will last longer than an hour lesson. You can use this on just about any movement pattern but here are a few examples that I use in my teaching:

Early Extension in the Downstroke – Student is thrusting pelvis towards the ball in early transition

While facing the student, wrap the bands around their waste and have them make a backswing. As they start their transition, pull their pelvis towards you which will require the player to do a deep squat and rotate or they will be pulled off balance. Repeat this several times in between swings until you start to see a change.

Late Pressure Shift Towards The Target – student is hanging on trail foot too long and not moving pressure to lead foot

Stand to the side of the player with the band wrapped around their upper thighs. From the top of the swing, pull the student towards the trail side forcing them to resist and move pressure into their lead foot.

Club Face is opening in early transition because the wrist angles are moving in the wrong direction

Have the player swing to the top of their backswing. Grab the clubhead with your hands and twist the face counter clockwise or opening it, ask the student to twist the opposite direction which forces them to use the wrists properly by moving the lead wrist towards flexion (bowed) which is a key skill that all great ball striker do in early transition

Here is a quote from the world renowned fitness/performance coach, Gray Cook

“There’s a scenario when movement quality is poor where RNT can significantly speed up the corrective and the functional training processes when it comes to movement quality and integrity. In doing so, it will also create a sound base for strength training, sport-specific training, endurance, speed, agility, quickness and power.

“When your subconscious and the subtle timing of your stabilizers create joint integrity, joint alignment and fascial tension balance the forces around the joint, maintain the axis of the joint and simply juice integrity of the system, the prime movers have no choice but to perform better. ~Gray Cook

I hope this gives you another tool in your teaching toolbox that you can experiment t with and help your students. Feel free to contact me or come to Carmel and shadow anytime

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Jason Sutton
Director of Instruction
Carmel CC