Ford started this over in another thread and I thought it deserved it's own title. Here's what he said:
Okay, I’ll start the conversation.
I am not an “official” coach but I have noticed a lot of new players taking the side winder position, aka the golf swing. After you explain, to them, the advantage of the center style swing and that they have more control and accuracy they will usually take the “gorilla” stance, legs apart about three feet. This is not good. Their reason is that they don’t want to hit their ankles and I don’t blame them. It hurts!
The control of your shot and accuracy is your shoulders are square to your line of aim and horizontal; feet parallel on each side with your mallet and as close as possible. It is a fact that the Irish grip will give you greater accuracy on the follow-through swing. There are some tradeoffs to this grip but overall a new player will learn faster to swing straight with less problems than the Standard or Solomon grips. I am an Irish grip player.
Another advantage to the learning curve is the mallet. As Jack Osborn said, “your mallet should be a pleasure to hold, swing and look at, to fully enjoy the sport.” Mallet designs have come a long way since he made that statement. I like my mallet and believe it will shorten the learning curve of any new player or help someone who is having trouble shooting straight.
If you come to our court as a new player, I will hand you a “wishbone” mallet. I will show you the “V” stance and Irish grip. I can hear the reader asking, “What is the “V” stance? It is using your feet like a “Swing Coach”. Your toes are no more than two inches on each side of the mallet head and your heels are four inches on each side so you don’t hit your ankle bone. When you practice swinging, you are looking through the open center of the mallet to see the sight line on the mallet splitting the ball in half. This is your eye to brain training to check that you are swinging straight. Your heels are wide so you don’t have to worry about hitting your ankle bone. This combination; the Irish grip, V stance, wishbone mallet will shorten the learning curve and improve any players accuracy. I can attest to this.
Yeah, the Arnold Palmer golf swing is really a non-starter. I actually played around with it a bit this summer for fun and it really challenging to be accurate on a shots of any distance. The battle is to not create draw.
And yes, the Irish style is known to be a great swing for long roquet accuracy ... and I've witnessed some incredibly consistent long ball hitting from Irish style players.
That V or pigeon-toed approach is way to uncomfortable for me. I actually have converted back to an open stance again. I prefer the front to back stability -- I had spent the past two years trying to convert to the flat-footed/square approach but finally had to give that up.
I would also recommend for beginners to watch videos of the top players and emulate a few of the styles until find one that feels natural. Then get a short pre-shot routine and hit a lot of balls.
The wide stance has a lot of problems. Just look at the top players. Why are their feet close together? I believe the wider you stand the less accurate your follow through swing will be. The closeness of the legs narrows the path of the mallet between the legs and gives more control and accuracy.
Reggie Bamford practiced endlessly with a “Swing Coach” to shoot straight. As I have said before, the reason new players use the wide stance is because they are afraid of hitting their ankles.
The V stance will give them more confidence to keep their feet closer together and not have to worry about hitting their ankles and with a wishbone mallet they can see if they are swinging straight while they cast over the ball.
I am not disagreeing that a wide stance is less effective. I don't agree that you have to point your toes inward to achieve that. For some that is going to be uncomfortable.
And it may be that players are afraid of hitting their ankles ... but no one has ever mentioned it to me before. I've noted that as players improve they tend to naturally tighten the width of their stance and if they don't, I do offer it as a tip.
Most of the players I know that still use that massive wide stance are old backyard players. And they just want want to be way down the mallet shaft to be closer to the ground. Not saying it works, but playing in 2 to 2.5 inch long grass is a whole different game.
Dylan, maybe I ask more questions than you do when helping a new player. If I see a player using the “gorilla” stance, I will ask them why they are standing that way. You will be surprised what they will tell you. No one ever told them the correct way to place their feet for greater accuracy. But when they see a good player making straight shots they start asking questions. The V stance is one way to show them why they want their feet close together. It’s not impossible.
If someone has trouble keeping their feet flat on the ground, a stance no wide than 6 inches on each side of the mallet head is important. If the wide stance works and a player’s accuracy is spot on. Go for it. If not, try the V stance, you may be surprised.
We are playing on the same long grass and the lower the hands are on the handle, the harder it is to swing. That wide stance is also from using light weight “backyard” equipment. If they are trained with new mallets that are end weighted and the shaft no more than 34 inches long for the Irish grip player, they will quickly become a better straight ball shooter and of course that wishbone mallet is important too. It may be psychological but it does improve a players accuracy as they are seeing what they are doing on the follow through swing.
New players I've coached always take the advice to keep their feet within their shoulders. I've never had anyone express a fear of hitting their ankles to me. It could be a real thing though ... just haven't ever heard it before. If anyone ever mentions it, I will tell them to go with the pigeon-toed approach if that is comfortable for them.
The players I know that use the wide, low stance just transitioned into regular croquet that way and are comfortable with that approach. But they've never expressed a fear of hitting their ankles.
Again width of stance isn't something that I've had an issue with for brand new players ... getting them to not stand to close to the ball is a whole different story.
Reading back through this thread ... I guess I will clarify that when I said that I use an open stance, that doesn't mean I use a wide stance. It means one-foot ahead of the other in the "centre style."
And while the Irish grip is known to be an effective grip ... the stats don't show that it's necessarily an advantage over the other styles. Looking at the current AC top 20 world rankings on coquetrecords,com shows that all the styles are well-represented in the top 20. It comes down to comfort and personal preference. I think new players that want to improve should test all three grips.
Okay, the ladies are more aware of hitting their ankles and will tell you up front, but the macho guy’s won’t tell you why they take the wide stance until they whack themselves and then you will hear it loud and clear.
An addendum to the above,
Fact;the closer your feet are together the straighter your follow-through swing will be.
okay, a fact according to me, it is true and works for me and I believe anyone else if they try it.
I have noticed a lot of players, with a wide stance, have a tendency to twist their mallet on the follow-through swing. The V stance can help swing straighter here too, It's okay to have one foot back but keep your feet as close as possible.together.