When we are learning a new skill or are trying to perfect one, i.e. chipping, putting, driving, most adults will over think the technique. Sound familiar? I’m great at doing this, I want to know the ins-and outs of the WHOLE swing, but it’s not really practical. Golf pro Paula Ketchum of the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course, has a great training technique she showed me for her “over-thinking” students. Paula has them close their eyes and “feel” the swing. For someone as mentally overpowered as I am, this was like trying to swim using just the golf club.
As I used this technique it made me think about why some adults, like me, try to analyze the movement of the swing instead of feel it. Seems that as we get older we have a disconnect between our body and our mind. The brain seems to take over and our body doesn’t respond as quickly. Thinking back to when I was a kid and how I played sports, I don’t ever remember ever “thinking” about what I was doing. There was more balance between the body and the brain, I just did it.
So how can we get back to that state of balance? One way is to get out of your comfort zone. Since the invention of the computer, most adults are spending an average of 4-6 hours in front of a computer-daily (that’s work and leisure combined). Now take an average golfer who is out on the golf course once a week for 3 hours. Is that non-stop play? Are you hitting repeatedly for those 3 hours? Probably not, you’re walking, taking turns with your play partners and only striking the ball a limited number of times. Doesn’t quite add up does it? That’s where your golf fitness comes into play. This is where the real work for the brain starts.
When you workout specifically for your golf game you want to isolate each muscle, then batch muscle groups together, and then incorporate that into the whole body. It’s like learning anything new, you have to start by identifying the muscles, see if they are strong or weak, then determine if the brain has the ability to isolate and have movement. Once you’ve done that with all your golf muscles, then you can start putting them to work in groups until you have the whole body functioning with ease. i.e. your swing!
Here is a simple way of getting the brain connected with the body: Locate your shoulder blades and retract them forward and backward, and up and down. Next locate your shoulder (deltoids) muscles and straighten your arms. Lift your arms up and down without your shoulder blades moving. Next get down on all fours (hands and knees) then without bending your arms, retract your shoulder blades forward and backward. This process will get your brain to know where your shoulder blades are and as their strength improves, these muscles will engage easiliy to help with your swing.
Diana Del Garbino is a certified golf fitness instructor through the Titleist Performance Institute and coaches beginner through advanced golfers at Muscles in Motion-Professional training studio in Lake Oswego Oregon. For more information about the program visit www.mymusclesinmotion.com.