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Despite the fact that you're closer to the hole when pitching than when you are hitting longer irons, many golfers find the pitch a difficult shot because of the abbreviated swing it requires. Trying to take power off the ball by using more wrist and less arm often results in a shank, or the ball squirting away from the club more sideways than forward. Learning to keep your wrists firm during a pitch and using a longer, forward swing path will help you stop shanking and start landing on the green.
Stand closer to the ball than you do for long swings, because you won't need to use as much leg and hip power to get the ball to the green. Position the ball closer to your front foot if you want to get more backspin, a higher arc and less roll after the ball hits the green. Set the ball closer to your back foot if you want to hit the green earlier and roll the ball toward the cup. Move your left foot back, with the right foot slightly ahead, to create an open stance. Line up the heel of your back foot with the middle of your front foot. Practice your ball placement and your stance before you hit the course to see how your stance and ball placement affect the flight path of the ball.
Start your backswing by breaking your wrists slightly backward and keeping them in this position for the rest of the shot. Resist the temptation to snap your wrists back into the shot as you hit the ball.
Choke up on the club so that if you break your wrists, the club will hit your trailing forearm. Practice six or more swings this way to get a feel for keeping your wrists firm during your forward swing. Hold the club with your normal grip after you have taken your modified practice swings and try to keep the same firm wrists with your regular swing.
Practice swinging the club by taking it back until your arms are parallel with the ground and shoulder height. Create a 1-2 swing rhythm, finishing your follow through with the club below your shoulders. Use an exaggerated outside-to-inside swing on the practice range to help eliminate the inside-out swing that causes balls to spin off to the side. Exaggerate your follow through to lengthen it to prevent a short, inside-out swing.