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Saturday, July 8, 2017

How Golf Relates to Pickleball

Balance is not something you stumble across.  It is something you create...

I mentioned golf in yesterday's post about movement. The statement was:

"I like to talk about golf when explaining this concept in clinics. Golfers practice the mechanics of the swing hour after hour to build the muscle memory to repeat it on the course. But the ball must be in the same place relative to their body to make the same swing. Therefore, they adjust their body by bending at the knees or or waist in order to play a ball on a slope or otherwise impaired."

Today, I would like to expand on that relationship. First, I want to use a Mark Renneson video called Golf vs Pickleball. Mark's emphasis in this video is about the power generated when a player loads up by "coiling" his body. The power behind a shot is released when the body "uncoils" during the swing. While that is an excellent concept to understand, it is not how I want to use this video. Mark briefly mentions getting into the proper position and I want to explore that more in-depth.

Note Mark's position during his swings in the above image. He is sideways to the ball's direction. In golf, this means walking into position over a stationary ball. In pickleball, the ball is moving from an opponent's hit and the player must move to get into position relative to the ball. In this video, Mark tosses the ball to himself so little directional movement is needed. But there is still significant repositioning of the feet as shown in the below sequence.

Why is this so important?
  1. It puts the player into the position that he has practiced (hopefully) for hours to ingrain muscle memory. When in this position, there is no need to think about technique, only about the shot to make.
  2. It allows the player to generate power by using the entire body rather than just the arm.
  3. It puts the player into a balanced position. This provides more options for the player to make better shots.
Watch the video for these points of emphasis.

Before we conclude this topic, the RV Picklers had an article about golf and pickleball, too - These 5 Golf Lessons Will Improve Your Pickleball Game. One section of the article is particularly relevant to our discussion:
Lesson #1:  Posture
Many golf professionals associate the acronym PGA to the 3 most important golf fundamentals one can teach. “P” stands for posture. 

  • Weight evenly distributed on the balls of the feet,
  • Flexed knees,
  • Bend forward from the hips,
  • Arms relaxed in front of the body, and
  • Chest and head up.
The first key to making a powerful and repeatable golf swing is to assume and maintain the correct posture throughout the swing. And, maintaining the correct posture throughout your pickleball game is critical to success on the court.
Posture means balance...and that is a topic we will take on next week.

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