It happens to all of us. We loose our golf swing, make some type of unknown modification in how we swing the club, and everything falls apart. What can we do to prevent our golf swing from leaving us? Remember this saying as you continue to read this article; “Proper Preparation Precedes Success and Confidence”. Think about this phrase for a moment and then keep reading. I write about this subject because of an e-mail I received from a fellow golfer. The e-mail read: “Sean, while out practicing I appear to have injured a muscle(s) in my back just below my left shoulder, and also around the outside of my left side rib cage. I have tried to continue to play golf through this injury, hoping it would get better but I had to stop. Hitting down and through the ball proved to very difficult and I seemed to be pulling out of shots early and topping the ball on my iron shots a lot. Do you have any golf fitness exercises in your book which will heal the injury and prevent a re-occurrence?” Absolutely! I do have golf fitness exercises to help you with the prevention of such an injury occurring. But let’s get back onto the topic of this article and that is the loss of our golf swing. “Loosing” your golf swing can occur for a number of reasons. Typically, they fall into one of 3 categories: 1) Mechanical 2) Physical 3) Mental A loss of your golf swing on the mechanical side of the equation is pretty simple to understand. Essentially, you have made an adjustment in the mechanics of your golf swing causing compensations to occur. These compensations result in poor shots and possibly a great deal of frustration, if you do not know what is happening. Often times the amateur is completely unaware of the changes they have made wreaking havoc on their golf swing. How do you go about solving such a situation? Through proper instruction from a qualified teacher is the first part of this equation. A qualified teaching pro will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you guidance on how to fix it. The ball is then in your court, meaning you must use this information and go practice (remember, proper preparation precedes success or confidence). The second reason for the “loss” of your golf swing is a publicized matter, and it is your body. Remember it is your body that swings the golf club. If your body is unable to swing the golf club properly, the ability to swing it without compensations will occur. The e-mail above is an example of such a problem. The amateur golfer has incurred an injury as a result of the body not being flexible, strong, or powerful enough to swing the golf club properly over a period of time. Keep in mind the golf swing requires certain levels of flexibility, balance, strength, endurance, and power to swing the golf club correctly. If any one of these facets within your body is not up to par (no pun intended, but it fits real well doesn’t it?), the swing will suffer. Often times body impairments causing you to “loose” your swing are not as severe as an injury (they will get that way if ignored), but rather they are a slight discomfort, muscle pull, or fatigue. Which cause compensations to occur in your golf swing. Again, we can go back to the phrase “proper preparation precedes success and confidence”. You must properly prepare your body for the golf swing. This is where golf fitness exercises are beneficial. Golf fitness exercises develop the levels of flexibility, balance, endurance, strength, and power within the body to swing the golf club properly. Golf fitness exercises prepare the body to swing the golf club just as practice ingrains the mechanics of the golf swing. We finally come to the third category, the mental aspect of golf and fitness. Mental blocks, certain thought processes, or a lack of confidence can directly affect your golf swing. I have found through my work over the years with professional athletes the development of a sound mental approach to golf begins with the body and progresses from this point to swing mechanics. If you develop a strong foundation in your body, it provides you confidence that you can perform the mechanics of the golf swing correctly. Once the physical foundation is developed, you can create the optimal swing mechanics on top of this foundation. Once these two “building blocks” are in place. The mental approach towards the game is confident, relaxed, and focused. Again, let’s go back to the phrase; “proper preparation precedes success and confidence.” Confidence in your golf game can only occur if the physical foundation and fundamentals of the golf swing are in place. To summarize, “loosing” your golf swing can be attributable to essentially 3 different categories. These categories are your golf swing mechanics, your body, and your mental approach to the game. To minimize the possibility of “loosing” your golf swing, develop a flexible, strong, and powerful body to support your golf swing mechanics. On top of this body, develop an efficient golf swing. This will allow your mental approach to be focused, relaxed, and confident. If you are confident in your body’s’ ability to swing the golf club, the mechanics of your swing to execute the shot, the ability to mentally focus will be much easier. This is what separates good golf shots from bad golf shots on the golf course. Sean Cochran
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