Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Match your swing to your body type for maximum performance
The more symmetrically built Mesomorph is best served by a motion thats categorized as a Leverage swing. This player has evenly proportioned limbs and a fair degree of flexibility, and should strive to attain a position at the top of the swing that mirrors the backswing and downswing planes. The dominant power source for this player is Leverage, so hes a swinger. If youre a mesomorph, its critical that you focus on developing a swing plane that stays true to the lie angle of your clubs at address and impact. Your swing should travel along almost the identical path in the backswing and downswing, with little or no change in plane in the transition or through impact.
The thick-chested Endomorph has relatively short arms and lacks flexibility, but tends to have a lot of strength. To accommodate these characteristics, the Endomorph should make a Width swing, with low hands at the top of the swing and a noticeably low target arm. This player predominantly utilizes muscle strength during the swing and is a slasher. If youre strongly built and lack flexibility, its unrealistic to think you can get the best results from a swing plane that requires a high-hands position at the top and a lot of extension. Instead, try taking the club away from the ball on a slightly flatter plane, which then steepens on the way down. Stay compact and let your muscles go.
Several elements have to work together for any of the three swing types to function properly, but the movement and timing of the hips is potentially the most important. The easiest way to know how and when to rotate the hips with each type of swing is to remember that the longer and higher the backswing, the more time you need to allow the hands to drop the club to the plane. In addition, the higher the position at the top, the more lateral hip motion you need to provide this critical time. So the long, flowing swing of the Arc player requires the most hip slide and the most delayed hip rotation, while the short, flat swing of the Width player requires minimal hip slide and almost immediate hip rotation.
Its not enough to match your backswing or swing plane to your body type; its critical that your entire motion from takeaway to impact is properly coordinated. If you look at the best players in the world, youll notice that there are a lot of different body and swing types out there, all of which can work on the highest level provided they function together. The Leverage swing is one thats particularly popular on all of the professional tours, both because it works well with a balanced body type and its relatively simple and easy to repeat under pressure. The Leverage swinger concentrates on taking the club back and to the top of the swing, and then back into impact, on the same basic path and plane. This type of swing provides a fairly rotary-looking motion that appears smooth and is aesthetically pleasing. Fred Funk and Annika Sorenstam use this type of swing, and not surprisingly, both are extremely accurate and consistent.
There are also a lot of expert players who utilize the Arc swing, which features a relatively steep backswing and then a return to the plane in the downswing. This move tends to create a bit of a loopy look and is generally used by players who are relaxed and languid in their movements. Fred Couples and Lorena Ochoa are good examples of players who utilize the Arc swing.
Not all professional golfers have smooth, seamless swings, as anyone who has watched Craig Stadler or J.B. Holmes play can attest. Both players have large chests and thick torsos, and accordingly, utilize powerful, bursting moves that fall into the Width swing category. These players are the opposite of Arc swingers, with relatively flat backswings that steepen on the way down.
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