Taking your Golf or Tennis Game to the Next Level

Kettlebells for Golf & Tennis?  Who Knew!  

If you’re passionate about a sport and invested in it, you know that you need to train and practice to improve your game.  Taking your game to the next level requires discipline and dedication, which usually takes on the form of consistent sport-specific training….LOTS and LOTS of practice! In time you begin to see incremental improvements that keep you focused on the next level, and as you progress, your relationship with the sport continues to evolve and each step along the way offers up new and more ‘colorful’ challenges.  At some point during this evolution, as with many relationships, you may feel like you’ve hit a wall or gotten “stuck”….either experiencing difficulty with a specific technique or move, or just plateaued in general.

When this happens, what do you do?  I know from personal experience that golf can present this “opportunity” on a regular basis!   If you play golf and/or tennis, it may be worthwhile to consider taking your training to the next level, in order to take your game to the next level.  So if your training has up until this point been sport-specific, consider going a “level deeper” and taking your training outside the boundaries of your sport by building physical strength and endurance in areas of your body that are relied upon for your sport.

Kettlebell Training is an ideal complement to sport-specific training for golf or tennis. It helps build the athletic skills necessary to play these sports at your highest potential.   In order to optimize your athleticism for these sports you need to be able to incorporate the multitude of the body’s joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles in an explosive and coordinated manner.

For golfers that means utilizing the muscles of the hips, glutes and back when making a good swing turn. As an example, the kettlebell swing when performed properly reinforces the proper movement to make these muscle groups work in unison. It is similar to what your body attempts during the golf swing. Swinging a kettlebell teaches us how to generate force from these powerful muscles which in turn improves body awareness, flexibility and balance. The swing also improves coordination for proper movement patterning which facilitates developing and maintaining more power for generating improved club head speed for more distance. You will develop greater strength, endurance and protect your body against injury by strengthening connective tissue and developing superior joint mobility.

For tennis, just like golf, hip drive is also a critical component for shot making. Explosive power and shoulder mobility are also needed for the serve and overhead. Kettlebell movements in addition to the swing such as cleans, push presses or snatches can facilitate that requirement. In addition since ballistic kettlebell movements tend to emulate the short bursts of power and speed that tennis players exhibit on the court they are a perfect complement to a player’s anaerobic conditioning training and potentially improving that critical first step to chase down a shot more quickly.

There are a variety of kettlebell movements that can help make your body stronger, more resilient and help you to improve at your favorite sports. Kettlebells offer a simplistic approach to fitness and don’t hinder the biomechanical or neurological demands of the golf swing or tennis stroke. Leave that type of work for the practice range and court.

Improving overall strength,  flexible and balance in the body will help you maximize your athletic potential…..and once you’ve done this you’ll be well-equipped to handle the rigors or the game, which means you can have a better “relationship” with the game cause you’re having fun!Contributing Author and RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor – Marc Fine