by Michael Dutro, Senior Instructor, Kendall Academy of Golf
If you have taken a lesson from myself, you may have noticed my affinity for using mirrors while instructing. You may even be remembering that you were going to stop after your last lesson and pick up a mirror. Either way, I truly believe that there is a lot of utility to practicing in front of a mirror. Students (and instructors) tend to make the same mistake, they complete the swing movement correctly and expect the body to tell them that they completed the movement correctly. Wrong. The body has been trained to make incorrect or inefficient movements, therefore, any movement differing from that of the original, will feel foreign or incorrect. This is why you need to see what is actually happening in your swing.
When I am describing body alignments or movements in your swing, it would be useful for you to see what I am looking at. However, unless you are using video or still photography, you may not have an understanding of that perspective. This is why I believe in teaching new concepts by describing the actual body alignment or movement (my perspective) and following that with the perceived body alignment or movement (your perspective). Even though feel is not what we should base our practice off of, it is important that we are comfortable with the movements.
When you are practicing in the mirror, you should only be working for short intervals, say 10-15 minutes per session. You should be swinging with a much slower tempo and rhythm, the slower the better, so you can truly engrain the correct movements. You should also move around in the mirror to gain different perspectives.
I attribute the large positive changes that I have made to my golf swing to the mirror back wall of the academy. It truly is nice to be able to look to my right and see what I am doing and being able to trust my eyes instead of my feel. It is amazing how often they are not the same.