I caught a re-run of The Karate Kid (the 1984 original) movie on TV a few days ago.
If you’ve seen it, then you know the line “Wax on, wax off”. There are other lines which, back when the movie first came out, everyone was repeating. “Paint the fence”, and “Sand the floor”, all relate to basic movement patterns, that Mr Miyagi uses to teach Karate to Daniel-san.
I don’t think with those basic movements anyone can learn a complete martial art, but the message behind learning the basic fundamentals hold true.
For the golfer it’s the same. Addressing the fundamentals and building a movement vocabulary will build a foundation that then supports future skill development.
Movement development is just like learning anything else:
1) It needs to be done at a level which is achievable for the participant
2) It needs to be done consistently in order to keep progressing
3) It must identify and complement areas where movement is efficient, while developing the areas which require extra focus
4) It must be applicable to the athlete’s current level, not a level that was previously achieved and is no longer there; i.e: If you stop using it, you WILL lose it!
These basics apply universally, whatever the athlete’s age or experience.
Like the “wax on, wax off” fundamentals of Mr Miyagi, seemingly ‘meaningless’, menial tasks can be an important part of the process to achieving a desired outcome.
To quote one of my mentors, Kelvin Giles, “Start with ‘general’, move to ‘related’ and finally you have earned the right to do ‘specific’.”
To simplify that quote even further, “learn to walk, before you run”.
To give yourself every opportunity to improve in your golf fitness and ultimately your golf, it may be necessary to start with the most basic of movements, drills and stretches and build from there.
The elements of balance, coordination, strength, posture and flexibility are all requirements of the golf swing, which we take for granted will be at our beck and call.
However, when assessed, many players of all ages and abilities struggle to meet basic requirements. This can then lead to injuries, poor technique and frustration.
Older golfers may suffer from a case of, “if you stop using it, you will lose it”, while junior golfer, may have never had exposure to the range of movements that underpin technical improvement.
To get an idea of what needs working on, it’s best to have a physical screening and golf specific fitness assessment done.
A golf fitness specialist or sports physiotherapist can help with this and, will be able to accurately assess what elements need addressing.
Once established, a level of training can be determined, applied and monitored.
Often improving golf can be as simple as addressing the fundamentals of the fitness elements, rather than increasing the complexity of the training.