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Chi-Power Golf Part 18 - How to release your inner strength

Jayne Storey’s chi-power GOLF is based on timeless principles from the Eastern art of Tai Chi and has been called the ‘missing link’ in player performance. This 'missing link' is the ability to unite mind and body to produce a fluid, powerful shot and maintain this connection when under pressure. Here she explains the Tai Chi principle that softness (relaxation) is the key to explosive power and how you can channel more energy through the ball at impact

In this issue we’re going to take a look at the moment of impact, what I like to call golf’s ‘singularity’ – that is, the moment your shot preparation and swing execution come together to drive the ball to its intended destination.

The Eastern approach to the martial arts such as Tai Chi, offers the secret to generating explosive power at impact, plus it helps to re-unite mind and body and develop a level of awareness such that your technique becomes an extension of what you do with your body, rather than the other way around – a root cause of the many problems golfers have with consistency.

Traditionally, the golf swing is approached as a technique to get right, with emphasis given to segmented parts of the body (i.e. head, shoulders, arms, wrists) and the various ‘swing positions’ – whereas the Eastern approach to movement highlights how ‘the inside moves the outside’ and,by extension, how the club/clubhead responds to what the body is doing.

During a coaching session at the K Club some time ago I can well remember my client stopping me in the middle of what I was saying to tell me that when he’d sat next to Tiger Woods at a dinner there during the 2006 Ryder Cup, Tiger had said pretty much word for word what I was advising.

And here’s the upshot of it: I was talking about explosive power at impact and how the secret to generating it has more to do with relaxation than it does with physical exertion or brute force. In Tai Chi we call this explosive power Fa Jing and you may have heard me before using an analogy Bruce Lee made about martial power being like an iron ball on the end of a chain – a sort of elastic, whip-like issuing of energy followed by a return to stillness, one of many similarities golf has in common with Tai Chi and other styles of kung fu.

Tiger’s key to maximum energy release is staying relaxed until the moment of impact (again, Fa Jing, which means to ‘issue power’ in a pulse or wave-like motion) and depends on two fundamentals, which are good structure coupled with a feeling of true relaxation – only then is it possible to explode through the ball, delivering the perfect body release and maximum energy transfer.

At the K Club dinner, Tiger had told my client the number one mistake the average player makes is the ‘grip it and rip it’ approach, believing that brute force and physical strength is what drives the ball through the air, whereas the key to power is actually softness or relaxation.

Here’s why. The more relaxed you are at the set-up and right through to the top of your backswing, the more force or stored-up energy you will have to drive through the ball. If you turn on the power too soon (if you’re tense throughout the motion) you will negate much of this force at impact, which , et’s face it, is the only place in the entire swing where force is needed.

So it’s not just about technique, it’s about learning to use your body in two distinct ways – almost like the yin and yang of the swing (yin being the soft, relaxed energy from set-up to the top and yang being the hard, explosive energy from the top down). In other words, this is about your awareness, learning to turn power on and off like a pulse. We find examples of this pulse-like beat in nature – from the way birds fly then float on the thermals, the way fish swim then glide in the water and even the pulse of neutron stars in deep space.

The Yin-Yang symbol shows two complementary types of energy you can use to generate more explosive power in your swing So instead of focusing on the various positions throughout your swing try instead to focus on two distinct yet complementary ways of using your body – staying relaxed from address through to the top where your energy and intent will naturally change from yin to yang – from soft to hard, from relaxed to explosive.

As always, focusing on your breathing quietens your mind, reduces anxiety and has a direct bearing on your muscles, which in turn relax and work better to help drive maximum energy through the ball.

To learn more about Chi-Power Golf, visit www.chipowergolf.com where you can find out about personal tuition, talks and workshops, and also sign up for a free newsletter, "The Mindful Golfer".

To contact Jayne Storey, ring 07986 447250

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine





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