Checking in with Team Canada

Tip: Produce power from your ankles

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A crucial component of generating power in the swing is ankle mobility. More specifically, dorsiflexion mobility, which is the bend in the ankle where your foot flexes towards your head. From the top of your downswing the ankle progressively flexes more and more until maximum ankle dorsiflexion occurs just before impact. The greater dorsiflexion you have the more you can impart muscle force into the ground and thereby create a reaction force from the ground. The reaction force is what enables you to generate maximum power from the glute muscles and the rest of the leg. It is what produces club speed and, therefore, distance.

Our demands on the ankle don’t end there though. In addition, we require the ankle to be dynamically stable and not collapse in the downswing into what’s commonly known as pronation. A muscle called the tibialis posterior (A) is your chief stabilizer here. So it’s very important that this muscle is strong but flexible.

The other variable to consider is that a lack of mobility in the ankles — or asymmetry in ankle mobility — leads to swing problems, such as coming out of one’s posture early in the downswing. This often leads to nasty habits, like topping the ball or big sweeping slices.

However, spend three weeks performing these two exercises and watch your ankle compression improve and your golf ball soar.

Calf Massage
Very straightforward: use the shaft of an iron to work out and massage the calves at the back of your leg. Do this for three minutes on each leg before hitting the first tee box.

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Ankle Strength

Wrap a rubber band around the ball of your foot while holding the opposite end of the band with your hand. On the count of two seconds, push your ankle down and in towards the other foot. Hold for another second before returning to the start position for three seconds. Repeat until fatigue.

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This article was originally published in the Fall Issue of Golf Canada Magazine. Click here to view the full magazine.