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Injuries - They may happen

Golf is a dynamic activity, and at the competitive level involves HOURS of building a consistently repetitive swing and includes conditioning athletic endeavors, such as kettlebells, running, battle ropes, skipping, H.I.T., cycling, and the list goes on.

My son, a junior golfer, running down the basement stairs, in socks, (ask how many times he had been told not to), fractures his foot, and strains the tendons, ends up in a cast for one month. Thankfully it was at the end of the competitive season for him (5 tournaments), and he had won the last skills event he entered. Because of an understanding of his injury, and an understanding of where he was physically before the injury, we were able to train around his fracture, avoiding re-injury or long term damage. In fact, he entered a final skills event, wore his cast to the event, then removed it and had the highest score on the day, landing him at No.1 in CN Future Links Skills in Ontario.

So that one turned out okay!

Golf is a dynamic activity, and at the competitive level involves hours of building a consistently repetitive swing and includes conditioning athletic endeavors, such as kettlebells, running, battle ropes, skipping, H.I.T., cycling, and the list goes on. These repeated actions obviously can put stress on the tissues and cause injuries. Lower back pain is the most common golf injury, accounting for around 20% of all golf injuries. Other common golf injuries include elbow pain, shoulder pain, foot pain and knee pain. And I guess we should add blistering of the hands and sunburn!

So, what to do? Of paramount importance is to understand the injury, then address recovery and rehab, and hopefully streamline training to not come to a complete halt if possible, but ultimately ensure no re-occurrence over the long term is a critical component. Pain is an important indicator to STOP!

An example of what I mean by understanding your injury- hand blisters. What could be causing yours. Many people assume that its the hour on the range hitting tough range balls a couple of times a week that is the culprit. Maybe. But maybe its your grips, and your grip! What cause the blisters? Simply put friction. Maybe your actual grips have become hardened and not cushy/comfortable the way they felt when first installed. Do not presume that if you don't play a lot, and your clubs generally reside in your garage or basement for 2 to 3 months at a time, that the grips will not dry out and become hard. They may still look newish, no cracks etc, but when you grip them you start to grip harder and harder so they don't slip sending your club down the fairway! The stranglehold you now have can now easily result in wrist injury as you are unable to hinge and release effectively. So one issue can lead to more than one possible injury. Another issue may be your grip pressure being too light that the club is turning ever so slightly on each strike. Maybe, your actual grip, that is how you grip the club, is not bio-mechanical correct for you!. Yes, we all know that v's of the grip should point to the requisite shoulders, but sometimes looking down doesn't give you the precise matrix you need, hence a good old mirror can be of assistance if no coach is available. So are we over analyzing our grip and grips? I don't think so, based on one simple fact. Our hands are our connection to the club!

An exhaustive look could be taken with a persistent back injury, that only goes away when you don't play. Outside of a direct medical problem, this could also be a posture issue or a conditioning issue. Sometimes it is the result of a serious 'over swing' or trying to beat the golf ball to death! Here video analysis may be your friend if you know what you are looking for.

In both of the situations above, complete rest and rehab may be the only answer. Or a partial, streamlined approach may work. In other sports I have coached for example, a shoulder injury in squash may now be the time to put in the leg conditioning through spinning to build lung capacity and rapid recovery for match time. A glute injury that can severely impede a flutter kick for swimming, may now require some upper body Pilates. A groin injury in Karate, may now mean that only weight training upper body is the only option.

Its really incumbent on you and your coach to understand the injury fully. Often when one body part is injured people forget the connections of tissues, tendons , and supporting muscles. When you have a core injury, that limits you severely, and now what you might be left with is exercising the mind, start watching film in the case of team sports, like volleyball, or competitors, in the case of MMA.

Above all, long term impact must always be a HIGH priority. I used to say to young competitors, ' its not all about how you feel now, because a younger athlete recovers faster, its the residual scar tissue you may be creating that affects you after you competitive days are over"

Alas. sometimes you just have to kick back and catch up on all the movies you want, just limit the snacking!

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