Dancing your way to a lower handicap video tip

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We have all heard about the importance of balance and stability in the lower body to set the foundation for a powerful golf swing.

Some of you might also have come across suggestions that using balance boards or BOSU balls will improve your balance. There is no doubt that stability and balance are important elements to produce a powerful golf swing but are our current training methods to produce GOLF SPECIFIC stability and balance really producing better results?

Golf Performance Academy have spent extensive time reviewing what the feet actually do during the golf swing and what affect the feet have on the swing. We now know that all 26 bones in the foot and the ankle are constantly moving throughout the entire swing. Not only that but they are continually reacting to forces from multiple directions during each and every element of the swing.

Sam Snead once said that the golf swing starts at the feet. Even though Sam didn’t understand biomechanics he did understand golf. Sam knew that if the feet do not react correctly then the entire body above will not function correctly leading to poor golf shots. For example, we all recognise the importance of rotation in the golf swing but we are finding that players will typically have physical limitations in the feet, which is affecting the entire body above. Such limitations not only limit a players potential but can also lead to compensations and inevitable injuries.

As traditional testing methods stand it is easy to mistake a locked up ankle for poor balance. An immediate response to a failed balance test would typically be to improve that players balance through techniques/equipment such as wobble boards and BOSU’s. Unfortunately there are three fundamental problems with this. Firstly, for a player with limited range in the ankle undertaking such conditioning will cause the ankle to lock up even more. Secondly, training on an unstable surface from the ground up will encourage the feet to stay static to the floor during your golf swing. As movement in the feet is crucial as a basis for a powerful swing the last thing you want to do is make the feet stay static to the ground. Thirdly, wobble board training is not functional to golf; as golfers we do not want to be stable from the ground up we want to be stable from the club down! I discuss this issue in greater depth in the article entitled ‘Balance training for golfers: bottom up vs top down strategies’
What you can do?

Drastic changes in training methods need to be made to help golfers improve balance for golf. The feet are so important to the golf swing and this will affect all areas of your game if they are not functioning correctly. Current trainer methods are damaging players games. There are two options if you are suffering problems with loss of balance in the golf swing.

The best option is to find a GPA Certified Trainer in your area to give you a full golf biomechanical assessment. This will help identify dysfunctions in your feet and ankles and the trainer will produce a rehab and conditioning programme specific to your needs. The alternative is to try the following ankle mobilisers below before you tee off or before your next practice session and see how they affect your swing:

Ankle Stretches
Find a wall or use your golf buggy for support. Place two hands on the support in a split leg stance with a slight bend in the rear leg. From this position drive the front knee and hip towards your support so that you feel a stretch in the ankle, immediately come out of that stretch before driving into a deeper stretch. Repeat this 5 times through before changing to the other leg. Never hold a static position because you are preparing the body for movement



Ankle Drives
Get into the same start position as the ankle stretch. Pick your front foot off the floor and drive it side to side while maintaining the stretch on the rear leg. This will help rotate your rear ankle in and out through the same movements you will experience through the golf swing but through a greater range, hence mobilising it.