By Alex Cassella, Golf Performance Coach
There are many training tools to use to increase Ground Reaction Forces. Here at Par4Success we use specific tests to asses our athletes’ power such as the Seated Medicine Ball Pass, the Shot-put throw, and Vertical Jump. These tests (minus the chest pass) focus on the athlete’s ability to use the ground to produce maximal Force along with focusing on the fast twitch fibers that they use during their golf swing.
We implement low risk and higher risk movements depending on the athlete’s abilities when training power. The most impactful exercises for creating force through the ground and in general are heavy compound movements such as the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift. Quick accelerative movements, especially in a rotary pattern such as Medicine ball rotational throws, Iron man throws, Paloff Press with rotation, cable punches, etc help to train speed.
Additionally, we implement some conventional plyometrics such as drop jumps and depth jumps for high neural drive which have great carry over to power production in competition. As long as we are cueing our athletes to use the floor, push through the ground, and to be explosive on their lifts, we can ensure they are getting the most out of it.
Speed has much to do with building GRF’s. Hence sprint/speed work is also very useful into being implemented in our programming. Work with resisted sprints, change of direction in short bursts, assisted sprints, interval sprints, etc.
Sprinting requires a high level of technical skill, athleticism and coordination that we may not come naturally to all of our athletes. We have the ability to scale the training by including other drills and supporting the training with consistent other drills such as skipping, other dynamic movements, and lifting weights. In my opinion, I do believe a small amount of sprint training can have much benefit to the golf athlete, especially when it comes to developing athleticism and power production. Providing an increase in power, making slower movements feel easier, and improving neuromuscular pathways between the brain and muscles. (Young, 2018)
The last concept and training method I’ll touch on is the concept of overspeed training. Over the past 5 years we have seen in the sports of baseball and golf the benefit of specific swing speed training on an athlete’s swing speed. Although the actual protocols including most effective dose and intensity of swings is still being debated, we know there is benefit to this given the data.
Practicing swinging the golf club faster will yield a faster swing speed, which is the concept of specificity. But when does that become detrimental to our “gains”?
Like any power development prescriptions, the most effective dose will be fewer reps with a high intent. This makes each rep efficient in technique but also creates a stimulus to the nervous system. Too high of a volume with this may not have any effect into a faster swing but may just cause fatigue physically and possibly neural fatigue as well. As we continue to look into this and test our athletes into finding the most effective dose, we will continue to stick to the science we know is the most effective when it comes to power and overspeed training.
As the Strength and Conditioning world surrounding golf grows, we continue to do studies and research into how our athletes can train the most efficiently. We will continue to look at theories of others and our own regarding Ground Reaction Forces and how to improve them. Given the previous information on how they are pertinent to building speed and power, we know they are a key focus to implement into our training. We will continue to use and progress the methods we use into building them here at Par4Success.