(NC) Even during winter months, golfers can still work on their game so they can bring a smooth swing to the course once the snow melts – and evenlook to yoga for an edge.
“A few simple exercises and activities over the winter can really prepare you for the next golf season and shorten the time needed to find your game,” says Barry Wallis, Callaway Golf Canada on-staff professional.
According to Wallis, most of the force and momentum in a swing is generated from the lower body and to develop a strong lower body it is important to use squats and lunges. Tricep dips will also build strength in the triceps and shoulders. “Squeezing a tennis ball will build strength in your forearms and wrists; you can also go to the garage and take your club back to the top of your backswing and hold it for 30 seconds – make sure you feel a slight stretch across your back.” Wallis adds.
Wallis also recommends practicing your swing in front of a mirror, watching for proper form, and putting on the carpet to keep the tempo of your stroke and the feel of bringing the putter face back on line (not worrying about the speed of the ball).
A unique activity to build power and flexibility in your golf swing is to sign up for a yoga class. Yoga will help you maintain flexibility in your core and shoulders, so you can make a full backswing and follow the proper movement on your downswing. Yoga will also help you build strength in the proper areas of your body to gain the extra yardage we all seek.
According to Trish Stratus of Stratusphere Yoga, who also happens to be a golf student of Wallis, “the physical benefits of yoga will definitely aid your golf game, but perhaps an even greater advantage will be the mental benefits.” Meditation techniques used during a yoga practice provide golfers with the tools to help develop the mental discipline that golf demands.
Being aware of your breath helps to quiet the mind and cultivates focus. As your mind calms down, your breathing settles down, and your body relaxes which puts the body's natural state into one of relaxed alertness – an ideal state in which to approach a game of golf.
Next time you step up to the tee, try to take a few moments to be still and just breathe.
“In the 'Yoga for Golfers' sequence, which I launched last year, 25 per cent of the program focuses on breathing, introducing meditation and visualization techniques. Creating a mental image or intention of what you want to happen or feel can be an effective tool on and off the golf course,” says Stratus.
One of the benefits of yoga is that you don't need to be in a yoga studio to practice these techniques. Find a quiet, comfortable place and sit with your back straight. Put all thoughts aside and focus on your breathing, paying attention to how the air enters and exits your nostrils. As thoughts enter your mind, simply observe them then let them pass and refocus on your breath.
Whether it's through yoga, stretching, or other fitness activities, staying active throughout the winter can only help your game when spring arrives.
More information can be found online at www.trishstratus.com.