My first swing at a golf ball on a real golf course happened during my freshman year of high school. Our football coach had suggested golf as a sport for me since at ninety pounds and very skinny, football wasn't my best option. It was heading high and long, and then it started curving to the right. It ended up entering the woods at a ninety degree angle to the fairway. It was my first slice. It was also my first curve ball. I had never been able to throw a curve with a baseball, but it sure was easy to hit a curve with a golf club! It would be years until I learned how to take advantage of this skill, use it on purpose, and even correct it.
Just four years before, Jay Hook, a 26-year-old pitcher for the New York Mets had explained Bernoulli's Law to a sports writer. Hook was a Northwestern engineering graduate who knew the science behind what makes a curve ball curve. At the end of the season, his manager, Casey Stengel said, "If Hook could only do what he knows." Knowing the science can help an athlete learn new skills, practice better, and eventually perform better. Editor Frank Vizard promises this book will, "....make you love sports even more — and may even make you a better athlete."
The book begins with a fascinating chapter on training. Al Michaels once told a great story about his interview with Michael Jordan and what incredible vision Jordan possessed. Jordan could read the graphics on a television over fifty feet away; and it was not a wide screen or over-sized model. Football officials often remind each other at the beginning of a game to "see the ball" before making a call. See the ball, hit the ball. Generations of coaches have implored their proteges to do just that. Now the emphasis is clearly focused on training the eyes.