What is “balance”? There are different ways to describe balance and there are different terminologies to describe certain aspects of “balance”. My explanation of balance would be ones ability to control body position and movement in a certain space, whether passive or dynamic. This includes the body being in a stationary position for a sport like golf, or when moving across a space in sport’s like tennis, ice skating and running.
I get many clients in the gym telling me that they don’t have good balance. My reply to them is that they shouldn’t just say and accept that they don’t have good balance. They can do something about it and it is important to do something about it! Balance is a component of fitness that can be improved through training. Having good balance comes from a combination of having strong stabilizer (core) muscles, good neuro-muscular feedback (proprioception) and the confidence to apply these skills in the chosen sport.
When assessing a client, weaknesses in any of these areas can be identified. Weaknesses can often develop when an old injury has never been properly rehabilitated. Patients develop incorrect mechanics when resuming activity carrying such weaknesses. Besides the body compensating by using the incorrect muscles, other bad habits may emerge. In a case where the client has endured an extended period of immobilization (being on crutches, with a joint being in a cast or brace), there will be signs of muscle atrophy, impaired proprioception and low confidence for carrying weight on that specific joint. These things need to be addressed at the start of phase 2 rehabilitation. Before building up the muscle again, neuro-muscular feedback and control have to be restored.
To have good balance in golf, one needs to have an understanding of what is required. The golf swing requires good balance from the start (address), all the way to the follow-through. The following is important if you want to be consistent in this:
- Maintain your spine angle and the distance between you and the ball from address to the point of impact.
- Maintain hip stability when transferring weight onto the back leg in the back-swing.
- Maintain hip stability when transferring weight onto the front leg in the down-swing.
- A good follow-through will be the result of all the above being in place. If there is weakness or a lack of confidence in transferring weight onto the front leg, the golfer will make adjustments earlier in the down-swing – so compensating for the anticipated imbalance! This will disturb the balance of the entire swing. It is therefore important for a golfer to have good balance all the way to the follow-through.
At KeNako it is preferable for each golf client to work with both the Biokineticist and the golf professional in order to enjoy maximum benefit from each personalized golf program.
Jan Fourie (Biokineticist)