I believe the movement patterns of a golf swing and fly-fishing cast are very similar.
Because the goal is to get the ball or fly to a place you want it to be, how your cast or swing looks is immaterial. However, with any movement pattern, for any sport or activity, there are things you can do to make it more efficient with less effort. For fly-fishing a small flashlight used indoors can help. For golf I have no idea what to suggest, except maybe to take up fly-fishing.
Anyone who has taken a fly-fishing casting lesson has heard, “Don’t bend your wrist, start the cast at 10 o’clock and end it at 2, and don’t straighten out your arm.” Those three snippets most likely are heard more often by fly-fishing students than anything else. A good teaching professional can accurately demonstrate those three parts of a cast.
If you have heard those words from friends and fly-fishing buddies, but really don’t know how to address them on your own, I have a suggestion. The only piece of equipment you’ll need is a flashlight having a small beam.
Hold the flashlight as if you were gripping your favorite fly rod. Point the beam from the flashlight to where the ceiling and wall form a 90-degree angle. Now, move the beam forward and backward on a level plane along the angle. Do this without bending your wrist, don’t push your arm forward as if throwing the shot put, and stop fore and aft where it is comfortable along the level plane. That’s your cast.
To describe it another way, stop the flashlight cast before it begins to arc down on both the forward cast and back cast. That range of motion could be called the 10 and 2 of the start and stop motion of a cast. Using the light, you’ll also find it is easier to not bend your wrist or push your arm forward in a throwing motion.
Once you start using this exercise, you will find there are other casting situations for which you can use it.
For instance, say you’re practicing for a trip to the Bahamas and you need practice with a side-arm cast. Find a room with wainscoting – or draw a line on a wall about waist high – and move the beam along the top of this wall treatment (or the line). If you draw a line, be sure you have either a 3-year-old child or grandchild you can blame for the wall drawing.
Another way to have some fun with flashlight casting is invite a couple of your fly-fishing buddies over. Tell them it’s a bring-your-own-flashlight party. Get in a room and play flashlight tag with the light beams staying along the 90-degree wall and ceiling joint. If someone’s beam arcs, or goes out of the plane, they have to buy the first round.
I also have found this exercise can be done while sitting down. This comes in handy on two occasions. First, if you have been sent to the office to work or to a time-out chair because you’ve been bad, you can practice your casting without “she who must be obeyed” knowing. Secondly, if you are working with someone who has trouble standing, this exercise could help make the transition to a river or lake much easier.
Give this a try. See if it doesn’t help to make your cast easier and more efficient. Plus you can do this in the warmth of your living room when it’s cold and rainy (or snowy) outside.
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.