Does being a better athlete help my golf swing?
This is a question that up until recently would have never been asked. There is a common misconception that golf is not an athletic endeavor and does not take much to play golf well.
The answer to the question is YES. If you want to be a better golfer, you need to be a better athlete. It is also true that at one point, being a golfer meant you were solely a golfer. Now, if you are a golfer, you are considered an athlete. Thanks to Jack, Gary, Hale, Craig, Greg, Tiger, Rory, Jordan, Dustin, Annika, Lexi, and so many of the best players in the world that are phenomenal examples of good athletes who also play golf.
Playing golf has been researched deeper and has resulted in a much better understanding of what takes place throughout the body and mind during each swing and each round played. One of the biggest things we have learned is that the golf swing is an explosive movement, every part of your body is being asked to work at roughly 80% of its maximal capacity! If you expand that to practice, “practice swings” in pre-shot routine and rounds played, golfers are exposing themselves to a lot of coordinated stress.
So what does this have to do with being a good athlete?
Hitting the golf ball well is dependent on how well an athlete can in move in multiple planes during the milli-seconds it takes to swing a club. A non-athlete with little physical literacy will have a difficult time producing coordinated movements at a higher rate of speed consistent enough to produce superior results. An athlete that has been exposed to multiple sports will have a much better chance to use his/her physical literacy to help produce coordinated movements with the best speeds by being more efficient. So the next time you question yourself on why you are struggling to get back to impact better or producing higher clubhead speed to hit the ball further, the better question would be, when was the last time I spent time working on improving my throwing, kicking or basketball shots?
In conclusion, it is important to be an athlete first. This is why we stress the importance of physical literacy and efficiency (neural network, how the brain connects to the muscles to move) before the golf swing mechanics, function dictates form! We encourage young players to play multiple sports, not early specialization, which enhances their ability to develop good multi-segmental functionality. We encourage mature golfers to work hard to improve physical literacy that has been effected by years of wear and tear, old injuries, and their current work environment. An embedded benefit of having better movement literacy is having a better mental capacity. The benefits to moving better enhances your ability to make better decisions, on the course and in the classroom or office!
Enjoy Your Journey!