Could we be paying more attention to training balance?
I became aware one day of how much I was ‘off balance’ when I asked Jayne Storey from Chi Golf to look at my golf swing. To begin with, she asked me to stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart and then she pushed me gently in my chest and I fell backwards very easily. This seemed like a big problem, but the solution proved to be amazingly simple, using focussed attention and visualisation.
Jayne asked me to take the same stance but to find my balance point under my foot, somewhere just in front of my heel. She then asked me to flex my knees and imagine that a piece of string was attached to my head pulling me up. She attempted to push me in my chest again but was unable to knock me off balance.
By paying attention to finding my balance before each swing, and keeping my attention on my balance point under my feet, I now very rarely hook or slice the ball. In fact, I have never hit the ball so well in 30 years!
When we focus on a critical area such as balance, it can sometimes have an almost magical effect and improve technique in a natural way without any need for analysis. As Sir John Whitmore often reminded the Inner Tennis Tutor Training group when we were learning how to apply Inner Game theory; ‘Awareness is curative.’
Here are a couple of exercises designed to bring more awareness to a tennis player’s balance;
- Rally with your partner and rate your balance on a scale of 1-10 for each shot.
- Get your partner to basket feed a mix of forehands and backhands for you and after each shot hold your finish for 2-3 seconds and notice what your balance feels like.
Good luck with these exercises. They work best when a player is able to focus most of their attention on staying aware in the moment, monitoring what they notice, without over-thinking or anyalysing. . To learn more about how to help create a coaching environment where this type of focus happens more often, check out our workshops and courses.
For information on our workshops which can be delivered at your club please click here https://coachingkids4selfbelief.com/services-packages/coaching-for-self-belief-workshops/