Flexibility For Full Swing Mechanics
Tiger Woods is a tremendous physical talent. Woods' flexibility and strength have helped make him one of the brightest young golfers on the PGA Tour in a long time.
Perhaps his most obvious physical gift is his extreme mobility. The range of motion and rotational speed he is able to achieve during his swing are amazing.
Unlike most other touring pros, Tiger has conditioned his body to the special requirements of professional golf since an early age. He has molded his soft tissue structure to no other sport but golf; many of his competitors conditioned their bodies differently by playing various sports while growing up.
Genetics is partly responsible for Tiger's exceptional framework, but his work ethic and commitment to physical conditioning have certainly enhanced his natural abilities.
When Woods' swing becomes erratic, however, it demonstrates that exceptional flexibility also can be a liability. In fact, he has said on occasion that whenever he feels that he is not swinging well, he shortens up his swing for more control.
Although flexibility is important, controlling the amount offlexibility that's available to you is even more important. Swinging within the limitations of your body may be the most important advice you can ever take.
While flexibility is essential, it can be a liability if not used to your advantage in proper swing mechanics. Flexibility is defined as one's available range of motion about a specific joint. The range of motion can be limited by factors such as nervous system voluntary and reflex control, muscle constraints, joint constraints, or skin and subcutaneous tissue.
Flexibility might be one of the most important components of the successful golf swing because it increases the movement distance for force application. Studies have demonstrated that greater amounts of force can be produced when a muscle is prestretched before performing the activity demanded of it.
When a muscle is prestretched, it creates elastic recoil that applies additional force for a more powerful contraction. This procedure is known as preloading the muscle.
Golf is a power sport. The golfer must be able to generate near-maximum power a certain number of times through the round. Regardless of a player's talent level, however, the most effective and powerful swings are produced when the force-generating muscles are preloaded first.
We must remember that during the golf swing the preloading can takeplace on the downswing just as easily as it can take place on the back swing. By using segmental sequencing, good golfers will start the swinging motion with their hips and allow the trunk to lag behind slightly. As the hips initiate a forward movement, the lagging trunk muscles are stretched during the downswing.
In fact, this prestretching action is even more important than the stretching that occurs during the coiling phase of the swing.