Ground reaction forces are a HOT topic these days in the golf world.
Bryson talks about them left and right.
The local pro has one of those cool pads that show you your center of pressure, weight transfer, and force levels.
And the strength coach on social media tells you how a squat is going to improve yours!
However, we need to dig a little deeper because it's not as simple as...
Step 1: Squat
Step 2: More GRFs in your swing
WHAT ARE GRFs
GRF stands for ground reaction forces, which are based on Newtons 3rd law.
I hope everybody out there likes physics... If not, we won't be here long, so you'll make it through!
Newtons 3rd Law states that when two objects interact with one another, they apply forces to each other that are equal and opposite.
For example, if I go push against a wall with 50 Newtons of force, that wall is going to push back on me with 50 Newtons of force.
Same can be said in your golf swing during your interaction with the ground.
When you are swinging a golf club, you apply forces with your feet into the ground, as depicted by the blue arrows in the image below.
Once we apply force, the ground pushes back up onto us (orange arrows), and this pushback is what we use within our golf swing to create force, and transfer a ton of energy into the ball!
When we bring rotation into the picture, it gets a little more complicated, compared to our wall example above, but the same principle applies.
Stand up once and try this for a second....
Try to slide your left foot forward AND SIMULTANEOUSLY
Try to slide your right foot backward.
Unless you're wearing socks on a hardwood floor, you probably rotated counterclockwise.
This is what happens during your downswing. That is the blue/orange arrows shown below!
Blue is what you applied to the ground.
Orange is the resulting ground reaction force and the rotation created from it!
PHEW, DONE WITH THE PHYSICS!
I hope you made it.
I personally enjoy physics, so I could talk about that stuff all morning (yes I understand the expression is normally "all day" but I didn't want to make that commitment. Just the morning is good.)
We all want to hit bombs.
A central component of those bombs are the GRFs we create within our swing.
In order to build bigger ones we NEED two things to happen.
1.) We need to give ourself the POTENTIAL to create greater ones.
Meaning, we need to get stronger.
We need to learn how to interact with the ground more generally.
Squats, lunges, jumps, pogos, deadlifts, med ball throws, etc.
All will help with this!
2.) We need to apply GRFs in our swing efficiently and effectively
This is where those cool mats come in that the local professional is using. It tells you how you're applying force into the ground, and how it is then reacting back up into you (3rd Law!).
This is where I get really frustrated with social media coaches that say...
"DO THIS DEADLIFT BECAUSE IT WILL HELP YOU APPLY GRFs IN YOUR SWING!"
It's not technically wrong, but it's extremely misleading.
There isn't a direct connection there. It's indirect at best. It increases your potential to use GRFs in your swing, and that's it.
It's up to you to make use of that increased GRF potential in your swing.
Moral of the Story
GRFs are important.
Your physical prep and training will help give you the potential to create bigger ones.
Your technical training and practice will help you apply them into your swing.
Jump high and far.
Throw medicine balls.
Swing speed sticks and clubs faster.
Work with a professional that understands GRFs.
You'll be hitting bombs and scoring lower before you know it.
Let's go low.
Carter Schmitz, CSCS, TPI
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