It’s that time of year where many of us are breaking out the clubs and heading to the driving range. But after months of not practicing, stretching, or training, this isn’t such a good idea…instead you’re on a fast track for a pulled muscle, tweaked back, or a knee injury. You wouldn’t just put on a helmet and run on the football field would you? Let’s start by taking a step back and hitting the gym to work on a few things like training sport-specific motions that will save you a lot of time and injuries. Besides, you can improve your stroke and develop more power with some simple exercises. Here are a couple suggestions:
• Posture and Body Alignment-Training this by working with a trainer or using the mirror can go a long way by keeping your joints aligned and moving properly. This translates into smoother, more fluid body mechanics no matter what sport you’re playing. Practice by going through your golf swing…except slow it down. One repetition or swing should take 30-40 seconds. If you can stay controlled, balanced, and smooth, your swing will improve greatly.
• Stretching-Take some time to stretch, and more than just a couple toe-touches. Instead, focus on stretching your torso through range of motion exercises using rotations, think wood chops, in multiple planes and directions. Work each exercise with your feet in a golf stance. In addition to the torso, focus on hip rotation which keeps pressure out of the knees.
• Take a Couple Lessons- Have a professional work with you for a couple sessions. They have a trained eye, know what they are looking for, and will see things that you cannot see yourself. Developing a fluid, smooth stroke will pay off with fewer injuries, a lower score, and a lot more fun.
Overall, the goals of your recreational activities are to provide a fun pastime, and not a debilitating injury. However, by taking a calculated approach, and a little time and effort to prepare, you will focus more time on having fun.