Jumping for Swing Speed?
By Tyler Johnson, MS, CSCS
Maybe you’re sitting in a chair right now reading this article. So, let’s do a quick experiment and standup out of the chair. How did you just get yourself from siting nice and comfortably in the chair to vertical and upright? You had to push against something. Newton’s third law states, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So, back to standing out of the chair, you needed to push down against the ground (action) for the ground to push back and propel yourself up and out of the chair (reaction).
I can already tell now, what the heck does this have anything to do with golf?
Newton’s Third Law has everything to do with golf. Specifically, in the down swing.
Vertical Ground Reaction Force
In the down swing (especially with driver) research is showing that vertical force production is becoming more and more important. Think about it quick, as the club comes from the peak of your back swing and transitions towards the ball on the down swing, what is propelling it?
Well, your hands attached to the grip of the club, are pulling on it harder and harder to create a faster torque which leads to the rotational club head speed accelerating. Back to Newton’s Third Law, your hands are pull on the grip of the club, this is a reaction. Reaction to what?
The initial action that created a harder and more aggressive pull on the club is the vertical force that you’re putting into the ground. Think about it, really quick, as you’re pulling back on the weight on the head of the club, you are also trying to push your body away from the ground. The ground is pushing back on you and allowing you to create torque on the club.
Another example to think about, you swing your driver, as fast as you possible can. Next, you set that down and swing a sledgehammer, as fast as you possibly can. Swinging the sledgehammer, you’d probably fall off balance in the direction of the hammer. That’s because you underestimated how much force you had to put into the ground to properly swing the hammer.
Therefore, to swing an object and create as much rotational speed as possible, you need to be able push into the ground as hard as you possibly can to create that pulling torque on the club.
How To Develop Vertical Force
Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for. Why do golfers need to jump? Well, back to Newton’s Third Law, when you’re jumping, the initial action is to create the vertical force in the ground, with a reaction of propelling yourself up into the air by the ground pushing back.
Every single golfer who trains at Par4Success completes the vertical jump test, with that their vertical peak power is calculated. In our research, we’ve got over 1,200 data points collected, and we’ve found vertical peak power to have an R value of 0.84 in correlation to club head speed. Just to give you an idea on how high this correlation is, a perfect correlation would be an R value of 1.0.
Now remember, power is the product of force multiplied by time. So, the more force you can develop over a shorter period of time creates a larger amount of power. And here we are again, back to generating more force. Are you seeing a theme here? So, all of this goes without saying that developing more vertical force through jumps, creates greater vertical peak power which therefore generates a faster club head speed, and allows you to hit bombs.
With such a high correlation we’re able to rank every single golfer, within their age group, as to what percentile of vertical power you can produce. With that, we can then create the correct jump routine and training program to compliment their power needs and best develop their club head speed gains.
Check out the link to take the home assessment and see where you rank in vertical power!
Home Assessment – https://par4success.com/adult-golf-performance-home-assessment-opt-in