Missing The Big Point Re: Technique & Injuries

I came across an article on Golf WRX that initially gave me hope that people are trying to prevent injuries by looking at prevention a.k.a. fixing swing techniques that raise the risk of injury.

It is amazing to me that the golf fitness and rehab experts are overlooking the number one cause of injury – technique – in a sport that has no contact (like football or hockey) or doesn’t involve violent changes of direction (soccer, tennis, basketball), etc.

In this piece by Nick Randall entitled “Preventing injuries on the LPGA Tour: A case study with Madelene Sagstrom,” I figured they’d get right into it, but instead I get this:

My primary role as a physiotherapist working on tour, is to keep my players injury free. I’m obsessed with prevention over cure, and really want to avoid “treating” my players for constant niggles and issues.

There are, of course, several factors that contribute to injury risk, but the one that is most important and often neglected or misunderstood, is stability. Creating stable joints and spinal segments is all about activating and strengthening deep muscles, whilst holding good posture or position.

Right there, I knew that there would be nothing in this article to give me hope.

There is no way on earth the explosion of injuries on the professional circuits has anything to do with joints that aren’t stable enough, or spinal segments, or muscles or cores that aren’t strong enough.

Exhibit A – Picture From The Article

First of all, take a good look at the above picture.  You see barely any hip turn (1), a big shoulder turn (2), and this is all possible because of the big no-no, which is the twisting of the lower back or lumbar area (3).

If the players in question are swinging with a mechanically-unsound technique known as the Modern Golf Swing, where you try to generate power by limiting hip turn and twisting the lower back make a pivot and shoulder turn, then nothing you look at in terms of prevention is going to help.

All of the problems that arise from the strain that trying to swing this way, won’t be helped by band-aid remedies.

In fact, you can put a large portion of the injuries on any Tour down to the fact that players are indeed already stronger and fitter on average than they were in the days of the Classic Golf Swing – and that is a huge problem.

The ladies back then, I bet you, would have knocked the ball every bit as far as today’s players given the same equipment and course conditions, and many would likely crush them, but they happened to swing like this:

Babe Zaharias

And also like this:

Mickey Wright

Here’s what Mickey Wright, one of the greatest players of all time (ranked 8th greatest ever, male or female) has to say about the Modern Golf Swing in a GolfDigest interview with Guy Yokom:

I’VE BEEN TRYING the new swing ideas I keep hearing about, things I see players doing on TV.

They leave me cold, to be honest. I watch the way players keep their feet planted, their backs perfectly straight and rigid with their lower bodies hardly moving at all, and just know they’re going to get hurt

It’s just the opposite of how I learned, which is the swing happening from the ground up. I guess I just don’t understand the modern way. One thing’s for sure, I see an awful lot of players wearing medical tape. Hands, arms, legs, back, everywhere. That can’t be a good sign.

Mickey nailed it, and think about it for a second – if twisting the lower back, thereby putting strain on the rest of the back and torso, and putting strain on the lower body joints by resisting the hip turn, all accompanied by violently torquing the body to initiate the down swing is bad, which it is…

Do you think you’re going to solve the issue by making the swingers more muscular and stronger, thereby increasing the twisting and strain forces on the body swinging the same way???

Of course, we know that Jack Nicklaus, back in 1974, went so far as to call the Modern Golf Swing “hogwash,” and he was correct then and would be now if he said it again.

It’s no coincidence that the pace and frequency of Tiger Woods’ injuries increased the bigger and more muscular he got – he only had the left knee issue from his amateur days (caused by the twisting strain on that knee swinging with a planted leading foot) until the mid-to-late-2000’s, which is around the time analysts couldn’t stop raving about him being the “world’s greatest athlete” simply because he was working out in the gym and putting on bulk.

Then it became knee, neck, back, Achilles, hamstring and every other body part breaking down.

I wonder why that would be?

Hmmm… more muscle, more power, more damage to the body parts you’re already hurting, because of the increased force…

Have a read of this article if you wish, and the big, whooshing sound you hear will be that point being completely missed by everyone involved in writing it.

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video



5 thoughts on “Missing The Big Point Re: Technique & Injuries

  1. Mr. McJohn

    Absurd the two paragraphs highlighted, so absurd, I don’t even want to read the rest of the article in case I get so mad I throw my laptop out the window lol.

    I’m not sure what to think. Sounds like the way it was worded he knew better. He’s probably been scripted or something, or is an inexperienced physiotherapist. Of course, human motion isn’t his profession in a direct sense, but he must have studied some kinesiology in school, so I’m calling BS on what he says. It doesn’t sit well with me.

    I think being discerning when it comes to stuff like this is important, as we need to filter fact from fiction. I’d say the majority of modern swingers know better, but refuse to change. It’s denial more than being uneducated, as there’s plenty of proof in front of them. Stubbornness never helped anyone, and frankly, it’s hurting people’s backs.

    It’s one thing to be called an expert. It’s another to be one. The article doesn’t sit well with me.

    1. D Watts Post author

      I’d say the majority of modern swingers know better, but refuse to change. It’s denial more than being uneducated, as there’s plenty of proof in front of them. Stubbornness…

      Sadly, this is becoming ever more likely, considering what we all know. And the worst offenders of all, the ones continuing to push this garbage on TV, in publications and the field of instruction.

  2. Mike Divot

    I read the article and I wasn’t completely outraged (which I expected to be).
    I think the author doesn’t know a whole lot about the golf swing and has bought into the idea of “this is the way you’ve got to do it to be competitive”.
    From there, her physiotherapeutical point of view is to limit the injuries you would get if you swing that way.
    If she knew more, from biomechanics, or easier, just reading this blog, she would know that golfers believe in a “rubber band effect” and other fairy tales. Which would give her a whole new perspective.

    1. D Watts Post author

      Not really anything to outrage, MD – just depressing.

      The problem is the people teaching the swing are teaching an improper, mechanically-unsound way to swing, and the people who are supposed to treat and prevent injuries are playing along with the program, either not knowing the Modern Swing is bunk, or just toeing the line.

      This article highlights the problem from the treatment/prevention side. As you mention, any type of “rubber-band effect” type of swing is naturally going to place more stress and injury potential on the parts of the body above the lumbar area, which is…everywhere in the upper body.

      Until you fix the underlying problem (swinging in the Modern style), nothing you do to treat/prevent is going to provide more than a band-aid.

    2. Mr. McJohn

      To be honest Mike any competent medical professional could easily see the damage the modern swing creates, just by looking. Thinking back on my original comment, I see it like this: It’s obvious to me she kind of knows the modern swing is BS, but since she’s a physiotherapist, and not a swing coach, I guess the fact remains that she’s not qualified to give advice on how to swing, just keep health in order for the players involved. It’s my opinion that regardless, it’s just not good to leave it be. It just didn’t sit well with me the avoidance of the true issue.

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