JJ, as he is known, heads up the biomechanics centre at the ETPI at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, like Le Golf National a European Tour Destination, but this week travelled to Versailles to offer his expertise to players on the range on the eve of the Alstom Open de France.
Julien Quesne, Rafa Cabrera-Bello and Byeong-Hun An were among those who spent some time with JJ for some analysis.
“We give applied biomechanics sessions to the players and the questions can be very different,” explained JJ. “The service is to help understand how you generate the force in your swing and have good motion and good mechanics to produce the right ball trajectory. Here we have a speed camera and force plates – a very simple set up. But at each moment of the swing you can see where the force is applied, how you transfer the force and where the centre of gravity is as that is important.
“At ETPI, we are making a study that shows the way the centre of gravity is moving is related to the club path. Something as simple as that but if the players and coaches have the tools they can soon see the difference. These are new tools but we are seeing more and more players using it.
“Yesterday we had Julien Quesne with his coach Benoit Ducoulombier and they said, ‘Tell me what you see’. It wasn’t ‘This is what we are looking for’. It was a case of validating what the coach had been working on. The coach had been looking with his eyes and that happens a lot. A coach looks at players but doesn’t have all the tools so wants to validate something or apply something for the player.
“Rafa Cabrera-Bello was looking at how he could maintain his swing through fatigue at the most important moments. I will send the data to his coach so his coach knows what is happening right now. It is good for them to have the data. That is very useful as it is a fingerprint of his swing and you can then work on that. It is more information for the coaches. We are working with ETPI Physio Team Director, Rob Hillman and Dr Roger Hawkes, European Tour Chief Medical Officer on developing programmes to help players and coachesmore and give them the tools.”
Having hit a few balls under the watchful eye of JJ, Rafa was pretty pleased with the results although ultimately it will be his coach who undertakes the detailed analysis in conjunction with the work he is doing on his swing.“I have been seeing Jean-Jacques for a couple of years and this is a great facility to have around,” said Rafa. “He sends the data through to my coach and then he gets a deeper look at it. We work with feel and what we see and through the work with Jean-Jacques we can get information about whether the swing changes are making any other dynamic changes. It’s a great tool, but also just a tool and you have to use it as such and don’t overuse it. It’s a tool to feed information to my coach and he can then look into it in more detail – I just have to hit the shots.”
JJ was particularly pleased with the success of Byeong-hun An as he won the BMW PGA Championship – the Tour’s flagship event – at Wentworth Club in May having worked with him at Terre Blanche, which he used as a base away from his home in America, since he progressed from the Challenge Tour
“It is great as we have seen him perform on the Challenge Tour, perform on the European Tour and then get a victory in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. That is the beauty of our job.”