Assessment and recommendations for female junior golfers
B. HMSc, TPI-GFI
Having the privilege of working numerous national junior teams throughout Asia as well develop the regions’ leading youth fitness and conditioning programs, we have been able to pin point common areas and needs for junior girl golfers. The combination of being predominantly Asian, also show that hyper flexibility although genetic, can also increase the incidence of potential injury as well as prevent efficient loading and power development.
During the developmental phases of growth, junior girls tend to have the following common limitations:
• Over mobile joint structures
• Lack of strength and stability through the entire posterior chain
• Inability to control anterior and posterior pelvic tilt movements
• Lack active external hip rotation
• Poor hip strength, ankle stability
• Weak and inhibited gluteus muscles
• Poor special awareness and self assessment.
These physical limitations directly lead to the following common swing faults:
• Early extension and loss of posture
• Reverse Spine angle
• Sway and slide.
Generally, young athletes have never been taught how to move correctly, how to load forces, how to generate forces and power and are therefore prone to common injuries.
The most balanced athletes are also those who have played multiple sports, such as volleyball, basketball and soccer. A well rounded athlete will almost always have been exposed to numerous sports and not limited to single sport activities.
Lacking these fundamental physical requirements for sport, especially a dynamic, explosive multi plane sport such as golf (where strength and stability is crucial to a positive outcome, longer drives, consistency and power) will certainly lead to overcompensation injuries and poor performance in the future.
Strength conditioning programs are therefore essential to develop the foundational physical components of junior lady golfers. By strength training, we are not talking about machine based, weight loaded strength training. More like the development of multi joint compound exercises which stimulate the nervous system for prolonged and long term effect.
The following is a general foundation program that all junior golfers, especially girls will benefit from to maximize performance, enhance swing mechanics and injury prevention.
• Single leg bridge
• Lateral (side) plank
• Adductor planks
• Stork turns
• Anterior/Posterior tilt
• Lateral Lunges
• Basic squats
• Lateral Squats
Young athletes, including young golfers must be developed as unique young individuals and not simply the same as the adult population. In addition to specific golf fitness exercises, young athletes need to be taught how to move, with integrated teachings, coordination drills and games to not only make exercise fun, but an integral for of movement that will continue throughout their life. These concepts move way beyond normal golf specific skill acquisition and must be included in the overall development of junior players.
Nurturing our young population, and ensuring progressive skill development and movement modalities are crucial to creating future champions.
The teachings of the IYCA and Brian Grasso have many positive applications towards positive movement and activity habits. Applied to the junior golfer, the benefits and outcomes are immense.
More is not better. Better is Better!