Put Putting In Its Place: the Right Side of the Brain

A surprising finding in sports psychology gives golfers a better clue on how to think, or rather not to think about putting.  Arizona State University conducted a study in which 100 participants attempted a 6 foot putting shot.  They found that golfers predominantly using their left brain had a success rate of 29%, while participants predominantly relying on right brain activity had a success rate of 95%.

How can this help you as a golfer?
First, let’s understand out right and left brain thinking.  The left side is the seat of language and processes of a logical and sequential nature.  The right is more visual, and processes intuitively, holistically, and randomly.

What’s the bottom line?
In crease your success rate by leaving analytical thinking behind and allowing your body to relax so that you can go with your putting instincts.

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Treadmills and Ellipticals: Dangerous?

We’ve made it through another long winter, and many of you may have used elliptical and treadmill machines to maintain conditioning during the colder months, exercising on these machines differs from moving on solid, unmoving ground.

Weakening Glutes
While walking or running on a moving treadmill, it grabs the lead leg quicker than if the surface was still and your leg muscles had to pull your body forward. This mimics walking or running downhill
more than running on a flat surface, putting strain on the front shin muscle, which has to work harder to decelerate the leg. To compensate strengthen the front of the shins by walking backward.
Tighter Hip Flexors and Low Back Pain
The glutes don’t have to do as much work when moving on a treadmill as opposed to when moving outside as the belt of the machine is pulling the leg back with each stride. This puts more strain on the front hip flexors which can cause the shortening of the front of the hips and an increase in the arch of the lower back causing lower back pain.  Stationary lunges are the best exercise to strengthen the glutes. Five per side. The bridge can also be used to counter all of these issues. Lie on your back with your arms crossed or at your sides and bend
your knees hip distance apart, 1-2 feet from your butt. Use your glutes to lift your hips and back off the ground. Lift in three seconds, hold for three seconds, lower in three seconds, three sets of 8-15 reps, three
times a week.
Tighter Achilles and calf muscles
The moving belt causes an increase in heel striking and the foot to flex more, which results in the back of the calf muscle shortening. Foam roll the calves.  Using the elliptical does not allow your foot to move naturally. It shuts down more of your hip muscles than a treadmill. The arm movements do not mimic natural arm movements, thus resulting in neck, shoulder and back pain. Ideally you should be walking or running outside year round but if you are going to use these machines, work with your body and counter balance the damage that these machines do to your body.

Don’t forget to foam roll the front back and side of both legs before and after use.

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Balance is key to an efficient golf swing

TPI philosophy of the swing: “We don’t believe there is one way to swing a club. We believe there are infinite numbers of ways to swing a club, but we also believe that there is one efficient way for all golfers to swing a club, and it’s based on what they can physically do.”

“Physical pillars” are flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and power. The last article was about flexibility, now let’s talk balance. Balance is defined as neuromuscular efficiency throughout the entire golf swing. It’s important for the golfer to maintain the proper spine angle, create weight transfer, and coordinate muscle movements.

This balance exercise should be done three to four times a week for eight to ten reps or 20 seconds.

  • Stand tall, lift one leg up to hip level. Hold 20 seconds each leg.

  • Golf stance: rest your right toe on the ground while your right heel is up. Cross your hands over your chest and rotate left to right five times each side. Repeat on the other side, progress to using a four pound medicine ball.

  • Standing with feet together, take a big step to the right and have left leg stay up, then push off your right leg and balance on left leg while your right leg is up. This is called “ice skates,” jump side to side eight times each leg.

  • Standing golf stance: put your feet together, at the same time go into your backswing while stepping sideways with your lead leg and go into follow through. This balance drill will enhance your kinetic sequence progress using a medicine ball.

  • Use balance equipment like the Bosu, Balance Boards, Air Disks, and Mini Pods.

In order to improve balance, you must put yourself off balance so that your body can learn to self-correct. You can’t improve balance sitting or lying down.

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