When you miss a fairway you are confronted with a number of options as to what you will do to extricate yourself from the situation. You might have to hit a golf shot with a hook or slice curve, or hit it higher or lower than usual.
If you practice hitting straight shots on the driving range most of the time you again will find yourself in a difficult position to bounce back if you cannot competently shape your shots to get you back into play or better.
Without exception top class tournament professional golfers are experts at controlling ball-flight and our students practice curving shots into small targets on the range so they are completely confident at playing these important shots when they arise.
How about you? Can you hook and slice when you need to?…
Set up 2 golf balls side by side and then walk in to your putting set up with the putter head behind both balls as if you are going to hit them both at the same time. Pick a distance it can be long or short and create a putting stroke relative to that distance. Your goal is to hit both balls at once and see if the balls travel a similar distance. Watch what happens. Does one travel further than the other, if so which one. If the ball that was closest to the heel of your putter face travelled further then your putter face was open at impact imparting side spin and backspin on the ball. If the ball closest to the toe of your putter face travelled further then your putter face was slightly closed at impact. This would be the preferred outcome. It indicates that you are creating side and top spin on the ball which will keep the ball on line and rolling more smoothly.
Ideally the balls would roll a similar distance for long and short putts confirming that your putter face is neutral to the path.
Try this drill for a variety of length putts; the outcome could be different from one length to another.
The Deep stabilising muscles of the trunk form a muscular cylinder surrounding the lumbar spine and pelvis. The deep stabilisers help control the position and movement of the trunk. The mover muscles are more superficial, they are the muscles you use to move your body.
The Deep Stabiliser muscles:
Work at low intensity for long periods of time
Generate tension to support and stabilise rather than move the body
Contract before you move to support the body’s position
Turn on in a similar way no matter what way you are moving
Keep the spine and pelvis optimally aligned to maintain a neutral spine or ‘good posture’ position
The Mover muscles:
Work at high intensity for short periods of time
Generate force to move the body and change its position
Contract at the time of movement to cause the movement
Move the trunk and limbs
Work differently depending on what movement you are doing
The deep stabiliser muscles only work at about 5% of their maximal contraction, but stay on for long periods of time. As they contract, the stabilisers don’t move your body much, if at all. They tend to apply tension and support structures rather than move your body.
When you think of moving, the deep stabilisers contract before any of the muscles that actually cause the movement. This pre-contraction prepares your body for the movement by supporting and stabilising the trunk to provide a stable base for movement.
A stable base makes for mechanically efficient movement or static postures. Imagine a crane being positioned on a solid concrete slab versus a sandy beach. The crane on the concrete slab is much more easily controlled by the driver who can be more accurate as the crane picks up and sets down objects. The crane on the beach will be much less accurate and take more effort getting the objects placed exactly where it wants them. The deep stabilising muscles of the body provide the stable base for the mover muscles to move the trunk and limbs.
The mover muscles are the ones which move your body. The mover muscles generate a lot of force and fatigue quickly. They turn on and off rather than staying on like the stabiliser muscles. You can easily work your mover muscles by moving your body against resistance such as the quads, hamstrings or biceps. In the trunk the mover muscles include the rectus abdominis (the six pack) and the obliques. These are the muscles you work with exercises such as sit ups or crunches.
The Deep Stabiliser muscles:
Begin to turn off and on rather than staying on
Contract after you move and so can’t support the body’s position as effectively
Are less able to keep the spine and pelvis optimally aligned to maintain a neutral spine or ‘good posture’ position
The Mover muscles:
Work at high intensity for longer periods of time to compensate for poor deep stabiliser muscles
The deep stabilisers change the way they work when pain is present. They no longer contract before you move to prepare or stabilise the trunk, they react to the movement. This can lead to injury. The movement muscles try and compensate. As mover muscles, they contract strongly and start to move the body, other muscles then pull on to counteract this movement. The body is working much harder to stabilise and using much more muscle activity than it needs to. This results in tight areas of the body which feel great when massaged out, but the tightness returns again. If your back pain behaves this way chances are you have trouble controlling your deep stabilisers and the pain arises from the compensatory strategies of the mover muscles.
A number of screening tests can indicate poor control of the core. There are a couple of quick tests you can do at home. If any of these tests give you pain, do not continue any further testing and see an appropriate health professional.
The active straight leg raise
Lie on your back and lift one heel about 10cm off the ground with your knee straight. Compare how difficult this feels compared with the other side. If one side is harder than the other, or both sides are difficult, you could have some issues with control of your core.
Why do some athletes avoid recording statistics, setting plans and sticking to them and putting their hearts on soles on the line? Part of the reason lies in the words of Colonel Jessep “they can’t handle the truth”.
It is rare with all but the best athletes to hear something like “I have followed a structured preparation plan to the letter and am ready to compete, confident I will do well”.
Much more common is “I haven’t been able to prepare as I would like, so hopefully I’ll go ok”. This is both preparing for the worst and having a ready-made excuse in advance.
It takes courage to fully commit to a plan and declare you have done the work and are ready to put your performance on the line.
The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you know why. Once you have a clear picture of what you want to achieve, own them and create a pathway to achieve them. It takes many small steps with lots of setbacks and distractions to achieve your personal best. Commit to it always. Continue Reading→