Match Play, Lower Back Injuries, and Your Golf Swing
Match Play this week at La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Quite a different tournament than your norm on the PGA Tour. This tournament matches the 64th player in the world against the number one player, Tiger Woods. The 2nd ranked player in the world, Vijay Singh, against the 63rd ranked player in the world, so on and so forth.
This tournament is not necessarily about making birdies, eagles, or pars, but rather about beating your opponent in a head-to-head round of golf. The winner advances to the next round (similar to “March Madness” which is just around the corner). Strategy is much different, having a direct effect on shot selection and how each shot is played.
Interesting enough the amateur may go through a similar set of circumstances, but for different reasons. An amateur may completely change their strategy, shot selection, and even their swing as a result of a lower back injury. Research shows one out of every two golfers will incur a lower back injury during their playing careers. If you are one out of the two you know what I am talking about in regards to changes in your golf swing.
Even a little strain in the lower back impedes you playing and has an effect on your swing. We are all of aware of how finite a biomechanical action the golf swing is to execute. Additionally, we all know what happens if our timing or swing plane is slightly off.
Hypothetically speaking, let us say you strain your back ever so slightly. Just enough to feel a little tightness in the lower back, but not to a point that limits you from playing. Does that little strain affect your golf swing? You bet it does!
Our bodies are very smart and take action when we become injured. Even if you are injured and ask your body to perform an activity, such as the golf swing, it will find a way to complete it. The body will only say “no” in extreme cases of injury.
How does the body “work” around an injury? The brain working with the body will re-route itself to complete the task at hand. For example, if you have an injured muscle that should be used in the movement you are performing. The body and brain will “turn” that injured muscle off, re-route itself around the injury, recruit other muscles, and attempt to complete the task.
This is exactly what happens in relation to your golf swing and a lower back injury. Your body will perform the golf swing, but it will “re-route” itself in order to complete it.
What happens to your swing mechanics when this type of situation occurs? The body alters your swing mechanics (you may not even know it has happened) to perform the swing. This can easily lead to poor shots and confusion about your game.
What can we learn from this article? Lower back injuries, mild or severe, can be very detrimental to the golf swing. Swing mechanics and the physical health of your body are connected. Finally, it is strongly recommended to address the physical conditioning of your body in relation to golf.
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