Pilates for Golfers.
It’s all in the mind.
Speak to any keen golfer and they’ll tell how much of the game is mental. So what can you do to help? Well, there are many experts that could offer their advice here but let me give you three tips of how Pilates could help you out with the body and the mind.
Assistant Director of Golf at Kingston Heath, Cameron Tortolino, explains that when people get anxious about their game, there are three common physical aspects that tend to be most affected; breathing, shoulder turn and balance.
- Breathing. Using your deep breathing is an important aspect of Pilates as it helps activate your deep core muscles and relax areas of tension on your body. If you are able to activate a correct breathing pattern during times of nerves or anxiety you’ll allow for improvements in golf technique due to deep core activation as well as relax the upper back and neck muscles.
- Shoulder Turn. As Cameron explains, when people are getting tense and struggling with the mental side of the game, their upper back and neck muscles get so tense that its difficult to coil efficiently in the back swing. “It’s so common to see people close through their chest and lift their shoulders up towards their ears as they grow more and more tense. And it’s extremely difficult to play well with poor posture,” he explains.
- Balance. Good balance allows your hips to externally rotate correctly through the downswing. However, as Cameron explains, during times of feeling anxious or nervous, people tend to get too close to the ball, meaning their balance is too far forward. “They ‘jump on ball’ as they try harder to hit the ball. If you catch yourself doing this, get your balance centred and take practice swing. If your balance is centred during your downswing, you will , at minimum, get a cleaner shot with more accuracy.
As Joseph Pilates says, “Pilates teaches you to be in control of your body, not at its mercy.” So you can self correct at times of anxiety or nerves. Here are 3 Pilates exercises that can help with your breath, shoulder turn and balance.
- Most of us are used to doing shallow chest breathing. By using our diaphragm to breath we can better engage our deep core muscles in our low tummy area. Start by taking a deep breath and think of filling the lungs at the back of your ribs and your ribs widening. As you breathe out, let your belly button sink towards your spine (to engage low tummy).
- Pick the tips of your shoulder up and roll backwards. As you do, glide the shoulder blades down creating width across your collar bones.
- To balance well, you need good posture. If you have already done step 1 and 2, you should have low tummy ‘awake’ and good upper body posture. To correct your lower body posture, think of make a flat triangle with your hip bones and pubic bone, this means your pelvis is in a neutral position. Now rock back and forth on your toes and heels to find your centre.
The Pilates for Golfers program is running at Kingston Heath Golf Club, Victoria Golf Club and The Dunes Golf Links. To view current class times, visit our ‘Book Now’ page for availability.
In the Pilates for Golfers program you will learn how to properly engage muscles and use them for specific movements that relate directly to the golf swing. Alternatively, contact your local Pilates studio to get started.
Belinda Goldfinch is a highly qualified Pilates Instructor (APMA) with over 6 years experience working with Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Myotherapists.