CHS students transition to different sports

Contributor

Junior Palmer Tweedy stopped playing baseball in eighth grade and began his career in golf. The two sports are actually very similar. According to articles by Golf Digest and The New York Times, many baseball players play golf on the side. Likewise Tweedy said transitioning between the sports helped him see the many similarities.

Tweedy said, “It’s a common misconception that a baseball swing and golf swing are different. My golf coaches told me that there are a lot of similarities regarding impact, the way you turn your hips on impact and release. There are a lot of similarities between the swing, but obviously in baseball, you’re swinging at something moving in the air rather than something on the ground, but in the rotational aspect of it, there are a lot of similarities.”

But Chard Reid, head coach of the varsity men’s golf team, thought differently. According to Reid, while both sports have a swing, the swings are more different than similar. 

“There’s not a whole lot that can carry over,” he said.  I had some softball players at Heritage, when I used to coach there, that did well in golf because they understood what caused them to hit a ball in right field, and they could understand why they’re pushing the golf shot. They understood the dynamic of what’s going on with their body, but I don’t really know if there is a lot of similarity there. There is definitely an awful lot of difference; you’ve got a static ball versus a moving ball, there is just a lot different.”

On the contrary, Tweedy said he sees the similar movements, he said the foundations are all the same, “The swing plane for golf is obviously faced towards the ground, the swing is more upright and then a baseball swing is more horizontal. It kind of seems radical when you say it, but they are actually very similar in the movements. The way you go into a baseball should be the same way you do in golf. You’re squaring your hands, rotating the hips and then the follow through,” Tweedy said. “The swing technique is a little different because of where the ball is when you hit it, and also the way you come into the ball, really the swings are almost identical besides the plane.”

On technique, the major differences are in the playing style. An example is how a golf swing not only has to hit the ball hard, but it has to hit straight. This causes the golf swing to be less explosive and more precise. According to Justin Quick, freshman head coach of the men’s baseball team, golf puts itself in many different circumstances, has many different clubs and baseball uses different techniques based also on the type of pitch.

Quick, who  has played both sports  said, “There can be some crossover or carry over, but mechanics within the swing are certainly different. Simple common things in a golf swing like keeping your front arm straight. That’s never a part of a baseball swing. In baseball we preach taking the knob of the bat to the ball; that would never be referenced in golf. There’s counts in baseball at bat where you can change your approach, or what you’re anticipating or looking for from the pitcher, pitch-wise, and in golf  that never has to be taken into consideration because the ball is always sitting there. To be truthful, the swings are apples and oranges. I think the similarities lie a lot more in the individual and team aspect and the mental approach to the games.”

Quick, Reid and Tweedy all said the major overlap is the mental preparedness and toughness needed for the game. Defined as “a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances (such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence” by sports psychologists, mental toughness is a necessity in any sport. For golf and baseball, this is a significant similarity according to Tweedy.

“I think most of the ideas transferred over from baseball to golf have to do with the mind set,” Tweedy said. Although I’m focused on beating the course in golf, baseball really gave me that mind set that I need to beat the opponent, and it kind of set a fire in me to be really competitive. Every day I practice, and I really want to beat the number one guy, his name is Jeff. I just have this edge that is just a little bit more motivation to work a little harder. When I exercise, and I go to the golf course, it’s because I want to beat that kid so badly.”

After beginning golf, Tweedy said he realized the transition has made him a better golfer and a more competitive player. Tweedy practices golf every day in preparation for this upcoming spring season. He said, “Every day I practice, and I realized that in baseball, you can hit one of three and be a hall of famer, which obviously is tough hitting a 98-mile-an-hour fastball, basketball if you make baskets too, but golf you have a new type of shot every time, there are so many different circumstances and that’s why golf is definitely the toughest sport. Obviously, that’s just my opinion, though.”

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