Although the ankle is the most injured body part of an athlete, very little is ever done to strengthen the stabilizing muscles that prevent rolling in and out. Golfers are no exception in neglecting ankle strengthening. They seldom sprain their ankle swinging the golf club, but strength of ankle muscles is very significant to maintaining positions that establish balance, and create a powerful and efficient golf swing.
During the backswing, the moment a golfer allows body weight to move outside the neutral position of the ankle that was established at address a power leak is created. It then becomes a challenge to transfer weight in the forward swing with any consistency.
Although this lateral displacement of weight often occurs as a compensatory move due to hip inflexibility, it may be accentuated (or even caused) by weakness of the ankle evertors (or muscles that tilt your ankle up on the little toe side).
The ankle position of the forward foot (closest to your target) is a major factor in successful delivery of power at impact. At this â€œmoment of truthâ€ when tremendous force is created from the feet upward your ankle should hold fast to its neutral position. Strength of the ankle evertors becomes a major factor at this point as the body mass is quickly rotating and moving toward the target.
If your weight has moved outside the â€œpower zoneâ€ and your ankle has rolled to the outside, you have once again created a power leak. The stronger and better trained your ankles are:
Â§The more power you can deliver at impact
Â§The better your ability to maintain proper spine angles
Â§You can more effectively resist compensatory moves in the swing
Perform this as an exercise and hitting drill. You will gain strength, improve footwork, establish better golf balance and increase swing power as you move from the backswing, into your forward swing, to impact and to the finish position.
Take your normal address position. Contract the outside muscles of each lower leg in order to flare up the outside of each foot slightly. Strive to maintain this â€œflared upâ€ position with each foot as you hit a golf ball with a shortened half swing. As you move toward impact the back foot ( R foot of right handed golfer ) will naturally move out of the starting position as the heel leaves the ground to establish the normal follow through position. Just beyond impact the forward foot (L foot of right handed golfer ) will flatten but do not allow your weight to transfer to the outside of the foot. Your follow through is shortened to parallel to the ground for this drill/exercise. Repeat with 10 to 20 swings or until your leg muscles fatigue to the point of not being able to adequately hold your feet in the proper flared positions.
Remember: During your swing keep proper spine angles, maintain a good solid position of the back knee during your backswing, rotate your center of gravity within the balance zone, and accelerate through impact just as you would in a normal swing.
About the Author
To learn more about the GoLo GolFitnesssm System and other original training drills or to schedule your personal E-GoLo GolfBody Screensm go to www.gologolfitness.com
Article written by William H. Breland, PT, SCS, CGS. Mr. Breland is the only Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist and touring Golf Professional in the United States. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-840-GOLO.