I have seen too many people lose their ability to “hop around” and “pivot the hips.”
Imagine how active Elvis was in the hips, knees and ankles. Then, watch an old Charlie Chaplin movie and tie the two together. This is an association I use with my fellow golfers to draw an image of how important balance is to mobility and how important mobility is to tempo and rhythm.
I am not a great dancer, but I have three key moves to assess how active someone can be with their body. It also helps me find out whether or not their balance is affecting their mobility.
First, can you pivot your knee (one at a time) and leg inward? Start with feet shoulder width, rotate your right knee inward to touch the left. In order to do this, lift your right heel off the ground and allow the right shoe to rotate onto the tip of the toes. Return to a neutral shoulder width stance and repeat with left side.
Second, can you hop with your feet from side to side? This can be a very small hop. Think Phil Mickelson not Michael Jordan! Start with feet together, lift up right foot, move right leg outward and hop off the left foot. The right foot only needs to move over slightly (less than shoulder width) then the left foot would follow and land next to the right. Repeat with the left foot moving to the left and hopping off the right foot. It is OK to hold on to something to help with balance until you know you can do this one.
Third, if you can hop from side to side greater than shoulder width, you can try to perform a “skater.” The “skater” is an old aerobics move that is great for golfers. It adds trunk rotation and arm swing to the hop side to side move. This one needs more description, though it should be done with supervision or a trainer for safety if you have never done it before. This move will help you develop better balance and increase tempo in your golf swing as long as you have the mobility to perform this training method.
These assessments are not a requirement to play golf or improve the level of your golf game. They are meant to help the instructor find out what works best for your stature, level of mobility and sense of balance. In the best cases, I improve a golfer’s mobility and balance, which then creates faster golf swings allowing you to hit the ball further.
The big picture here is to keep people moving and active enough to improve their enjoyment of the game and other recreations!
Editor’s Note: David Arend is with The GolfLAB at Grandview Golf Course in Sun City West.