Monday, December 14, 2009

Improve your golf game, with a sense of balance!

By: Dr. Terry Weyman

In the spirit of the World Cup Challenge at Sherwood Country club, a few weeks back, I decided to write about the great game of Golf. Still, I waited a few weeks for the Tiger jokes to drop off, since it was too easy and focus back on the game and how to improve your strokes for 2010. Maybe you thought with the title of this article I was going to be talking about making sure your home life was in good shape before you hit the course, but NO, I am going to talk about how to get more yards when you strike the ball without spending another grand on the newest club.

Since Golf is pure biomechanics and all about generating power from the body that transcends from the club to the ball, balance is the key! When your body is in perfect balance, your ball will go straighter and go longer. So, let's find out how we can tap into the little secret that the pros have used for YEARS!

What is balance? Let's first take a look at what happens when your balance system is not working properly. If you’re an athlete, simple things like movement, standing up, generating torque and bending down are severely effected. Balance effects all athletic endeavors and some experts have named balance training as the key to overall athletic improvement, strength, and performance.

How the Balance system works.

Human beings keep their balance when nerve signals from three different systems are accurately sent to and processed by the brain. The three different systems are the eyes (vision), pressure sensors in the legs, feet and torso (proprioception), and inner ear balance organs (vestibular system).

1. VISION- Vision provides necessary information to the brain about our relationship to the environment. As we move and see how objects in our world are changing, our brains calculate our body’s relationship to those objects.

2. Proprioception- Humans seem to rely primarily on signals from the pressure sensors in the legs, feet and torso (proprioceptors) to maintain good balance. Birds and fish rely primarily on their inner ears (vestibular) system for balance. Since humans stand on only two legs, we must continually use muscles to remain stable. This is the system that we can train, improve, and fine tune. Getting foot inserts (our KLM over the counter or more specific custom orthotics), training on balance trainers such as the INDO BOARD.

3. Vestibular- The inner ear balance organs (vesibular systems) send signals to the brain about head and body movements relative to gravity. The brain selects the most accurate signals from the three balance systems and sends messages back to the muscles of the limbs, torso and neck to keep us stable and to keep our view of the world upright. The more signals the brain receives and sends, the better the balance. Sometimes the signals the brain receives or sends are disturbed, so balance becomes difficult.

How to achieve total balance.

As described above, to achieve total balance requires the teamwork of several systems. There are several other factors that contribute to total balance such as how we breathe, our mental state, muscle tone and control, body position and how we stand.

1. Breathing- Calm breathing from your gut (diaphragm) is the breathing method of choice. The other way we breath is call “neck breathing” and that is when we use our shoulders to inhale the air. This puts our center of gravity higher also does not allow the body to completely relax. By breathing from our “gut”. We keep our center of gravity lower thus allowing us to stay more relaxed fluid and balanced.

2. Mental state- Clear your mind before beginning any form of balance training. When our mind is aggravated, stressed out or busy our body is tense. A tense body is not fluid. For example, take a bag of water and a ridged pole. Try to balance each on end. The bag of water moves with the surface in a smooth and fluid motion while the pole falls with the slightest movement.

3. Muscle tone- remember the saying “your foot bone is connected to the leg bone….”. Well this is true in that your skeletal structure is all connected from your feet to your head and the muscles tie all of these bones together and allow motion to take place. Since our center of gravity is centered on the pelvis we must be concerned with the muscles and joints that support the pelvis. Our feet are our foundation. Our Quadriceps (the front part of our legs) support the lower front of our pelvis, the hamstrings (back of leg) support the lower back half. Our stomach is opposite of our lower back which takes care of the upper portion of our pelvis. Muscle tone and flexibility is important for all of these structures to have equal tension and pull on the pelvis. If one of these areas are weak the whole system will be effected. As I have talked about many times, muscles attach to the BONE and Joints! If there is any tightness in the muscle the nerves will hold and restrict the joints. WHY DO YOU THINK the top 20 PRO Golfers have Sports Chiropractor on staff (I have been one). Why because the top Golfers get worked on before AND after every big round of golf to keep the body in perfect joint/muscle harmony. ALSO, with every injury use a balance trainer such as the INDO BOARD to rehabilitate your injury faster and to keep the proprioception in working order.

4. Body position- lower your center of gravity is the key to perfect and long lasting balance. By keeping your feet even with your shoulders, dropping your “butt” by bending your knees and keeping your back straight, keeping your arms out but thumbs down (pointing towards your center) we can achieve balance position. Keeping our knees bent and back straight is a key. The key to this is keeping your head up and looking straight ahead. Remember this, “you look down, you will go down”.

It is true that some people seem to have an innate sense of balance and others have to “work at it”. If you are considered a type “A” person then you will fall into the category of “need extra work”. Balance training is an excellent way of turning your mental intensity into focus movements for overall wellbeing.

Balance training beyond the greens.

Balance training is mandatory for any athletic event but also very important for any movement associated with life. Balance training has been shown to reduce the incidence of injuries to the ankle, knee, hips, back and upper body. The role of balance training in maintaining functional joints stability is also an excellent form of rehabilitation for injuries to the above structures. When you injure a structure, ligaments or joint capsule the proprioceptive signal is weakened. This weakened signal inhibits the normal motor response and diminishes the neuromuscular stabilization of the joint. This condition contributes to a pattern of repetitive injury. Try the following tips to help your balance achieve PRO STATUS!

• Wear inserts or custom orthotics (go to your CSI Doctor)
• Get adjusted regularly (go to CSI-get tuned up)
• Use balance trainers such as the INDO BOARD daily (eyes open and eyes closed)
• Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth (left foot first min of brushing and right foot second min)
• Try cross training with yoga

Use Balance training to break the cycle. If you want to hit father and save money on new and expensive clubs, then follow these quick steps and the only thing falling will be your handicap!

Dr. Terry Weyman
CEO Chiropractic Sports Institute


4moles said...


I read all tips about the how to improve your Golf Games, with a sense of Balance.

Your all tips are very much effective for golf games.

Thanks For sharing with us.

Doctors of CSI said...

your welcome, I am glad you enjoyed the article.