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Casting call

A lack of flexibility in your wrists and shoulders can lead to an early release of the club and a loss of power and control.

BY STEPHANIE OVERBAUGHPublished: February, 2009

CHECK OUT A VIDEO OF THESE EXERCISES

Releasing the club early in the downswing — commonly known as casting — occurs when the wrist hinge breaks down and the clubhead gets ahead of the hands at impact. It can lead to scooping the ball at impact, which increases loft and decreases power and consistency.

Do the Double Tray Test to see if you have good shoulder joint and wrist flexibility. Stand and lift your arms up so your elbows are at the same height as your shoulders with palms facing the ceiling. The forearms should be perpendicular to the ground without changing your posture. If you’re unable to achieve this position on both sides, you have limited motion in your shoulders and wrists. This results in poor arm position at the top of the backswing as well as the arm position from impact to
follow-through.

Working on stretching your chest and front shoulder muscles, gaining mobility at the wrists and strengthening the shoulders will help you maintain better arm position at the top of the backswing.

Signs
• Arms dominate the swing
• Fishing rod-type motion

Symptoms
• Lack of wrist flexibility
• Difficulty maintaining wrist hinge through backswing and downswing
• Weak shoulder blade muscles
• Limited shoulder rotation
• Limited spine rotation


Chest Stretch Over Ball
This exercise helps release chest tightness and improves shoulder rotation potential. Sit on an exercise ball and walk your legs out until you roll onto your back. Your head should be supported on the ball. Perform a pelvic tilt, holding arms up and out. You can increase the stretch by rolling your upper body further over the ball. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat three times.

Rowing With Tubing
This exercise strengthens the shoulder blade muscles, spinal and shoulder muscles and improves the retraction of your shoulder blades, creating a more connected swing. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and together, being careful not to hunch up the shoulders. When your shoulders are squeezed, slowly bring your hands to your chest. Be careful not to lose  shoulder blade contraction. Repeat 15-20 times in one or two sets.

Stephanie Overbaugh, MPT, GPS, TPI, CGFI-MP2 is a physical therapist at Body Balance for Performance in Irvine, located at 16 Technology Drive, Suite 169. She can be reached at (949) 595-0700 or soverbaugh@fitgolf.com. For more information, visit fitgolf.com.