Build your own croquet swing trainer for under $50.

by Wallace Beery · 22 January 2017

Make a swing trainer from hardware store materials. Photo by Wallace Beery

The concept of a training device to correct or improve the croquet swing has been around for several years. Reg Bamford has brought this idea to the forefront through a number of articles and video interviews, and his outstanding record as a world class player. John Hobbs in the UK made a swing trainer at one time as well as others in Europe. WoodRanch Custom Shop* makes as sells a device called a Swing Coach II in the USA. It is available as a finished product ready for assembly and use, and in kit form that requires some sanding , fitting and painting.

One sheet of plywood cut in half lengthwise. Photo by Michael Rumbin

The basic concept is to train the shoulder and arm muscles, and to some extent the wrist muscles to conform to a perfectly true swing: NO twisting, no curves or hooks, just straight and true to the aiming point. The critical part of the swing is the muscle action BEFORE you hit the ball. It doesn’t matter what you do with the mallet after the ball is hit. To some extent the forward part of the swing prior to the backward pendulum swing, “casting” benefits from a confined pathway, but not much.
So training is defined as perfecting the back swing, back from behind the ball to the highest part of the backward arc, then down to contact with the ball. The deviation in the pathway has to be in the range of 1/8 to ¼ of an inch over that 3-4 foot arc. This will demand a perfectly parallel set of walls to confine the mallet head with a gap on either side of the head in that 1/8 to ¼ of an inch range. That’s the goal so starting with a wider gap is advisable until the swing improves. I believe setting a swing trainer in the garage or exercise room with a TV is the best way to proceed.

Gaping bolt detail. Photo by Michael Rumbin

I have come up with a simple and inexpensive design that can be built in a Saturday morning. It is based on comments made by Robert Fulford. It requires a trip to the hardware store, buying a sheet of birch plywood about 5/8 thick and having it cut in half to 2 feet by eight feet, then cut down to seven feet long(a car to bring them home) and six bolts with appropriate nuts. You will need a drill to make 6 holes in the plywood sheets for these gaping bolts. If you can drill 3/8 inch holes the buy the 3/8 inch bolts/nuts . If the best your drill can handle is ¼ inch, the get ¼ inch bolts/nuts. The drawing shows were to drill the holes.

Once assembled with the appropriate gap, it should stand on its own. You might need legs if you’re on the carpet or grass. When you are done with your workout, just lean the trainer against a wall to be out of the way.

If you have any questions contact Michael Rumbin at

*Woodranch Custom Shop.Swing COACH literature2014.pdf
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