At PAR Academy, we have invested heavily in our coaching over the last 2 years. We have invested in new technology with the introduction of our PAR Teaching Lab and continued to progress our knowledge as a coaching team.
One of these technology investments has been the Swing Catalyst Balance Plate which we have now used with over 381 golfers in the 12 months alone! Today, I am going to run you through how and what this technology measures and how it helps us make you better.
What is the Swing Catalyst Balance Plate?
Is a pressure plate that sits in the ground of our PAR Lab with 2048 high-resolution pressure sensors. What makes the swing catalyst plate so unique compared to other brand’s pressure plates is its high amount of sensors. The more sensors in the plate, the higher accuracy of data and better visual display of your pressure on the software.
What does it measure?
The plate gives us loads of precious visuals and data about how you are moving during your golf swing. I have labeled each point on the picture below, alongside a brief description of what it means and how we use it. This is a right-handed golfer, so the left foot is the front foot and the right foot is the trail foot.
1) Pressure Display/Foot Pattern
This visual footprint is measuring where you are currently applying pressure to the ground. The darker, red areas highlight more pressure, vs the lighter blue colours which represent little pressure. Although this screen capture was taken at setup, we can see a very big difference between the front foot and trail foot pressure points – in the front foot, there is a lot more toe pressure than the heel, compared to the trail foot.
2) Pressure Distribution
This number tells us the percentage of pressure you are distributing across both feet. 50% would indicate you are distributing your pressure evenly across both front foot and trail foot. In the image, you can see the right foot has slightly more pressure here at 54%. This will change as we swing backward and forwards to hit the ball.
3) Combined Centre of Pressure (CoP)
This white dot tells us the direct location of your centre of pressure across both feet. From this image, you can see the CoP is currently very close to the middle of this golfer’s stance. This is a good starting point and will move as we swing. This links very nicely to our next data point.
4) CoP Trace
This grey line is a trace of where the CoP has been and is going too. The shape and direction of this trace gives us a massive indicator of how you more your pressure in the golf swing. If we follow the trace of this golfer (without seeing his swing) we can see they shift onto their right foot in the backswing, then in the downswing shift a long way forward onto the toe of the left foot, before moving into the heel of the front foot.
5) CoP in Each Foot
We also get from the plate a CoP of each foot. This tells us where you are currently applying pressure in each individual foot. We can see from this image a little more pressure in the front foot toe area, compared to the trail foot because the white dot on the left foot is slightly higher.
6) Stance Width
The plate also measures how far away each foot is from each other. This helps us understand whether you have a wide or narrow stance and if you change stance, how much by.
The balance plate also calculates vertical force. Vertical force is the amount of force exerted by the ground on us. Without a boring lecture on physics, ground reaction forces stem from Newton’s third law – every action has an equal and opposite reaction. As we push into the ground, the ground in effect pushes back up and generates vertical force. This is one of the key power sources for many golfers, see the video we made on this featuring Harry Brister from Bawburgh!
Why have this complex technology – cant we just see it?
In our PAR Lab, we have two camera setups on the wall, one which looks down the line and another which looks face on to the golfer. Although these cameras operate at just under 300 frames per second, we still cannot see some of these variables from a camera perspective.
Let’s take a lot at some key points in my own swing and discuss what we see in the video, versus what we see from the pressure data.
If we look at my setup position in the video, it looks very centered with maybe a slight tilt with my upper body towards the target. However, from what we are seeing in the pressure data, I am 70% on my front foot with a lot of pressure towards my toe. This is actually a good matchup for me because I am right foot dominant and can generate some vertical force off this leg.
As we pause at the top of the backswing, you can see from the pressure data that I have already started to shift my pressure towards my front foot. Once again you can see a lot of pressure in my front toe. From the video, we cannot see my preference to put pressure more on the toes in my front foot.
As we look at my transition in my early downswing, you can see I have already shifted to 76% pressure into my front foot to create some vertical force. The video once again does not give us an idea I have shifted this much into the front foot.
Without this valuable information, instructors may make honest mistakes in encouraging golfers to make a change in which is not necessary.
How can it help me?
Using the balance plate gives us invaluable information about how you move and how we can help you improve. When using technology, we are trying to fast track your progress, by letting you understand what you need to do to get better.
Using pressure can help us, help you to generate more speed, consistency in strike, and change of shot shape.
If you have any more questions regarding swing catalyst balance plate, do not hesitate to get in touch @LClarkePCoach, LCPC@peterfieldgolf.co.uk