Why do you play golf?
For many of us, we play for the community, the social aspect, and meeting up with friends to enjoy a beautiful summer day.
We play to get outside, to have a couple brews with some buds that we haven’t seen in awhile.
And it is for these reasons (and more), that the sport of golf is awesome... I believe the best sport in the world!
However, have you ever wanted to play golf with somebody but couldn’t because of a nagging injury? Or maybe you reached out to a buddy who couldn’t join you because of his/her bum back?
The sport of golf connects us - injuries within the sport are trying to disconnect us.
The first step in injury reduction is…
Our bodies are unbelievably adaptable. If we feed them the appropriate stressors, we will be more prepared for the golf swing, creating injury resilience.
How can we act proactively?
First, look at your holistic health habits. Our health underlies everything that we do on and off the golf course. Make sure yours are dialed in!
How’s your nutrition? Hydration? Sleep?
All of this plays an integral part in your body's ability to be resilient.
Secondly, let’s be proactive about our physical training and fitness. The greater our overall fitness abilities and staying on top of our physical training will drastically decrease injuries down the road.
What exactly should our training look like if the goal is injury resilience… Keep reading to find out!
The second step in injury reduction is…
Creating a body that is adaptable!
Meaning, we need to create a body that can adapt and adjust to the various stressors it encounters throughout the course of a round, or life in general.
In order to do so, we need to continuously expose ourselves to novel stimuli and stressors within our training. We need to progress our training by slowly exposing ourselves to greater (and different) stressors.
*** Remember, stress is good! It creates adaptations and growth ***
Next time you lift…
Try to increase the weight of your squat sets.
Try to squat a little deeper.
Try a split squat instead of a bilateral squat.
Progressing and adding variability to our training will expose our bodies to new stressors. And this exposure will create adaptability.
I wrote a whole article on progression, check it out here > ARTICLE LINK
So, the big takeaway here… continually challenge yourself in training, in order to create an adaptable body and greater injury resilience.
The third step in injury reduction is…
Building golf specific resilience.
The beauty, as well as the limiting factor, of the golf swing is that each swing creates similar bodily impacts. Although I will be the first to say that no two golf swings are the same… Including two from the same athlete… the bodily impact being created on each swing is relatively similar.
On one hand this can create overuse injuries - a common issue in the sport.
On the other hand, it helps coaches like me develop training programs that build bodily resilience against these impacts.
For example, we know where injuries are most common in golfers:
We also know the central power producing muscles of your swing, plus those responsible for stopping/controlling your swing:
We know the bodily joints that undergo the largest ranges of motion (which could be a mechanism of injury).
And because of all of this, we can complete training programs (like the SCRATCH Golf Training ones!) that will progressively stress these bodily segments, preparing them for our golf swings.
HOWEVER, don’t get carried away here.
While simultaneously building golf specific resilience, we also need to work towards creating a holistic athletic body.
So, to summarize this third step, build a balanced body, while also prioritizing golf specific stresses. Doing so will simultaneously create a holistic movement system and body as well as one that’s prepared for the stresses posed by your golf swing.
Lastly, understand that injuries and pain are unbelievably complex.
They are NEVER cause and effect… like many practitioners try to make you think they are.
Emotions, attitude, environmental perception, fatigue, yada, yada all play a role in the occurrence of injuries.
No, you didn’t hurt your back because you have tight hips.
Your hips may be playing a role - but so was your lack of sleep, your high fatigue levels, that shoulder injury you had 3 years ago, and your new boss at work that you despise.
Injuries are impossible to predict, and will happen… however, these are three crucial steps I have found to help my athletes stay healthy, play better golf, and tap into greater longevity.
Read more of my thoughts on pain and golf HERE.
Build adaptability in your body.
Balance golf-specific resilience along with holistic movement abilities.
Let’s go low.
Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI