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Hit Hard, Stop Quick: Level Up Your Ball Striking

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We are constantly searching for drills and training aids that will help us improve our games. The benefits of consistent practice with purposeful drills are immense – increased flexibility and core strength, better swing mechanics, more explosive power, and ultimately, lower scores. With so many options, it can be difficult to know where to start. The best drills focus on motions that groove muscle memory for consistency.

By committing to even a few simple drills, we can reap significant rewards in our performance. The key is choosing the ones that target your personal improvement areas and integrating them into your regular range or home practice sessions.

Here, we’ll be focusing on the “hit hard, stop fast” drill, one of my favorites, and what many feel is the best drill for improving ball striking and compression. The main focus of this drill is to compress the ball and improve clubhead speed by emphasizing the proper kinetic sequence – firing the lower body first to facilitate an aggressive upper body and arm throw down into the golf ball. Stopping quickly after impact trains you to release the club properly through the hitting zone for maximum speed.

In a previous post about the benefits of impact bags, I discussed my own feelings that this particular drill is a natural progression of work with an impact bag, because they are so similar in nature and work on the same core concepts. We’ll take a look at the drill, how to execute, variations, and how to level it up with some training aids. As always, we’ll close with some suggestions for further reading and videos to bring the drill to life.

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About “Hit Hard, Stop Quick”

Brilliant for its simplicity, there is no better way to work on proper sequencing and get a feel for compressing the ball. Called many things, “Hit Hard, Stop Quick,” “Hit and Stop Fast,” and even “Y to Y” (which to me is basically the same drill rebranded as something new). The concept is that you are going to take a backswing, make your downswing, but purposefully attempt to cut off the swing at impact.

Ben Hogan was known for his machine-like precision and effortless motion that developed through countless hours of practice. For decades, golfers have driven themselves crazy trying to emulate Hogan’s swing, not realizing that it was very specific and personalized. A better approach is to focus on the fundamentals shared by all great players such as full extension through the hitting zone, which enabled Hogan to compress the ball perfectly every time.

Benefits

There are several key benefits to practicing this drill regularly. First, it teaches you to swing aggressively through the hitting zone while maintaining control of your body and the club. The abrupt stop engages your core muscles to stabilize the swing and eliminate the possibility of early extension.

Proper extension through impact is crucial for maximizing clubhead speed and power. As the body rotates through the downswing, the arms should fully straighten and extend out towards the target. This allows the club to release and whip through impact with optimal speed.

Another aspect of this drill that I love is that we are not ingraining a position, but making a swinging motion, which works well with my personal training on Club Focused Instruction (CFI). For this drill, a short iron is recommended, but you can really use any club in the bag. I included a video from GolfTec where they walk through it with a Driver as well.

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Performing the Drill

To set up for the “hit hard, stop fast” drill, take your normal address position with a mid-iron or wedge. Make sure your stance width, ball position, posture, grip, and alignment are all set up properly for an actual golf shot. The key difference in this drill is that you will use an exaggerated shoulder turn and very limited lower body motion. At the top of the backswing, turn your shoulders close to 90 degrees while keeping your lower body quiet by limiting hip rotation. This coil creates a powerful spring effect for the downswing.

From the top, start the downswing by firing your hips first to unwind your body. Then aggressively throw your arms and club down towards the ball, accelerating through impact. The goal is to get your club moving as fast as possible right before you make contact. To stop your swing, jam your front foot into the ground while simultaneously straightening your front leg.

Brace against the planted front side as you quickly slow down your arms, club, and body. Follow through only about halfway before coming to an abrupt halt. Swing as hard as you can and stop as suddenly as you can after impact. This trains you to properly sequence your downswing for maximum clubhead speed. It also engrains the feeling of an aggressive release for more power. The adjacent video from GolfTec is in my opinion, the best overview of the drill and I have referred back to it numerous times.

Hit Hard, Stop Quick

Level Up the Drill

Training Aids, while not the magic bullet that they are purported to be, can be valuable tools when used correctly in the right context. They can provide immediate feedback to develop more sound technique through repetition, leading to more consistency. Identifying problem areas and selecting tools strategically is crucial for meaningful and lasting improvement over time.

Executing the “Hit Hard, Stop Quick” Drill in conjunction with a training aid can increase the quality of your reps, helping you to ingrain and feel a correct sequence of motion, putting the club and your body in the correct positions automatically, without adding unnecessary swing thoughts.

You can work on this at the range as part of your practice routine, however I prefer hitting my shots into a net with this drill, something very accessible to do in my yard for an hour at a time. If you have the means and space, I recommend investing in a quality net and mat to increase your practice time. From an indoor perspective, see our post on Impact Bags and how you replicate this drill without hitting a ball.

Below are some recommended training aids to use in conjunction with this drill. The Tour Striker Smart Ball may be the one that I use the most, as it already helps with connection and sequencing. I feel like using it during the drill takes it to the next level. I also like to enhance the drill with the LagShot as well. The heavy head and flexible shaft provide a different challenge and feeling. As always, your mileage may vary and part of the fun is trying new things to see what works for you.

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Further Reading

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The Practice Manual
by Adam Young

Summary: The Practice Manual is an acclaimed golf instruction book by coach Adam Young that provides golfers an A-Z guide for effective practice by integrating techniques based on motor learning research and neuroscience. It sets out optimal methods for engraining skills long-term, structuring productive training sessions, and hacking the brain for faster improvement with drills, theory and concepts useful for any player or coach. The manual’s action plan establishes achievable goals within a practice regime through its holistic and thorough techniques transferable on and off the course. This innovative guide has become an international bestseller for its groundbreaking approach marrying science and quality instruction to foster lifelong golfing success.

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Understanding the Golf Swing
by Manuel de la Torre

Summary: Manuel de la Torre was a leading teacher of Ernest Jones’s swing principles, emphasizing a simpler approach focused on developing a true swinging motion rather than complex body movements. The book covers the philosophy of the golf swing, analysis of ball flights, techniques for special shots like pitching and chipping, the mental side of golf, and understanding golf courses. It argues that if the club is swung properly, the body movements will take care of themselves, so golfers should focus on the motion of the club rather than their bodies. The book blends golf philosophy and practical advice for golfers of all levels, from beginners to professionals.

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Club-Focused Golf Instruction
by Edward LeBeau

Summary: Club-focused golf instruction focuses on the golf club motion rather than body motion, an approach used by only 5% of instructors. This method, championed by Hall of Fame instructors Ernest Jones and Manuel de la Torre, allows faster learning and better play. LeBeau combines de la Torre’s expertise with educational principles into a powerful instruction manual bringing together decades of club-focused instruction experience. Scientific studies have verified club-focused instruction’s superiority for improving player performance over traditional body-focused methods.

Videos

Hit Hard, Stop Quick Drill
Hit Hard Drill with the Driver
Hit Hard, Stop Fast

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