Should you be working on balance in the gym?
Does it even matter for junior golfers?
Balance is just a problem that senior golfers have, right?
We all know that it takes a combination of the upper body and lower body coordinating together to have an effective golf swing. However, one aspect often overlooked in golf is how we transfer from the right to the left (in a right-handed golfer, reverse for a lefty) from downswing to follow through.
Did you know that there is a distinct limitation in how fast your body will let you go if it is not confident you will be able to balance or stabilize on the lead side? Think of it as a governor on a golf cart. No matter how much you floor the pedal, the cart is only going to go as fast as it is programmed to go. Your body is no different.
If your balance is poor, your body will not be confident that you can decelerate and control the follow through without falling over. Therefore, even though you physically should be able to swing Tour average (98 LPGA, 113 PGA), if your balance is no good, you won’t even come close!
This is where improving your balance will improve your play on the golf course.
Try this simple activity
Make sure you have someone nearby to support you if you lose your balance. Stand on one foot and see how long you can balance; now try this on the opposite leg. Try it again on one leg with your eyes closed and then switch. How many seconds can you balance on each leg?
Data collected at the Titleist Performance Institute showed that 37-38% of amateurs golfers could not keep their balance on one foot with their eyes closed for more than 5 SECONDS! If you have poor balance from side to side, you may have difficulty weight shifting toward the lead leg and end up with less hip rotation and power.
Work on Your Balance
Here is one golf specific exercise you can do to improve balance in your swing and have fun with golf at the same time. Again, make sure you have someone with you initially to give support if you have poor balance.
Get in your golf stance. However, stand on one foot, either on the ground or an unsteady surface (ex. pillow, foam pad, etc). Practice chipping 3-5 balls in a row while standing on one foot. This will be fun as you’re doing a golf activity and worthwhile as it will improve your balance at the same time. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Even simpler, just try to rotate back and forth like you are taking a golf swing on one leg. Can you do it? See if you can get to 5 slow swings in a row without falling and then work to increase the speed.
At the end of the day, these simple drills might help a little, but getting involved in a comprehensive and focused golf fitness and performance program is going to be what really moves the needle for you. Especially with junior golfers as they move through their development, being involved in a long term athletic development minded program is crucial for their long term success and maximizing their development.
If you have questions about yourself or your junior, give us a call at 919-377-2084 or get in touch with us to set up a complementary discovery call or visit. We will make sure you leave from that call or visit knowing exactly it is that you need to be focusing on!
–Christopher Finn, MSPT, TPI-MP