When people think about their golf swing, they rarely think about the actual foundation of their bodies: the feet. We tend to think on a more macro level–are you taking the right stance, keeping your arm straight, etc.
Just as important, it turns out, is what your feet are doing inside your shoes when you swing. Having curled toes or tight arches can lead to loss of posture, over-rotation, or swaying and sliding.
If you’re curling your toes when you’re taking a swing, you can lose power by not being able to transfer your weight from your back leg to your fron leg. Next time you’re at the driving range, do an experiment and take off your shoes, never mind the crazy looks you might get. Notice what your feet do in your set up and swing; can you absorb the weight into the ground with responsive ankles or are you holding them too tight? Are you rolling the back foot onto the outside in the backswing and your knee becomes unstable?
Try this: stand straight up with your feet together and turn your whole body like you want to see what is behind you. If you feel any discomfort in your knees, back, or hips, you are most likely not turning in the feet. Pay attention to the whole sole of your foot: the weight should be evenly distributed from the heels to the toes. Your ankles should be soft so they can slightly turn as you rotate. If your feet are too stiff, it can result in an overuse of your knees, back, and hips, and over time cause problems in those areas.
Here is an exercise to limber up your feet:
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Put two fists between your knees.
- Roll the feet in and out and see how easy or how hard it is.
- Are there any differences from left to right?
Now perform this sequence of movements, and try to isolate the movement to the ankles, keeping the hips and knees still.
- Lift all ten toes off the floor and flex your feet several times.
- Lift the heels high and bend at the ankles several times.
- Lift the instep of both feet, the knees can open several times.
- Lift the outside of both feet, the knees can come closer several times.
- Fan the toes open like a windshield wiper several times.
- Fan the heels open like a windshield wiper several times.
- Make circles with both heels, keep the front of your toes on the ground. Keep the knees in place. Move them in both directions.
Repeat all of these with the leat effort possible. If one side is tighter than the other, try to mirror the lightness of movement from the looser side. Walk around and feel how grounded you are to the floor.
If these exercises cause you any pain, stop immediately. By performing these movements, you should be able to improve your posture, and therefore your power, from the bottom up.
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