All sports have one thing in common; in order to achieve excellence, you must balance the storing and subsequent release of energy in a way that appears effortless. Denise McCluggage, the author of the great book “The Centered Skier” said;
“In golf, there are things that you cause to happen and there are things you allow to happen.” The pursuit of this balance is at the heart of “Zen Golf.”
Something else sports activities have in common is that they are done inside a circle. The human body creates energy by twisting itself into tension, then releasing that tension away from itself, and in doing so, creating a circle. It is when the outer most edge of the cirlce is reached, energy is released.
Simply swing a baseball bat, for example. As you reach the outer most edge of the circle, your wrists and arms turn over and release is created. This hitting the outer edge of the circle, I call ‘running out of rope’ because there is no more elasticity left in your body if you keep your head centered and send your energy out away from your center.
It is a lot like hitting a tether ball around a pole; the rope stays tight if you keep hitting the ball hard out at the edge of the cirlce. The rope goes limp if the focus of the energy is lost. Effortless power is the balance of storing up tension in loose muscle by twisting them and then allowing that tension to flow out again through loose muscle.
Most golfers are “hitters” and not “swingers.” By this, I mean at the top of their swing they grip tight and try to “hit” the ball. This causes their muscles to fight each other, shortening and holding energy so the circle is lost. In the martial arts, you will hear “a loose limb is a strong limb.” Once you find the balance between storing and releasing energy to the circles edge, you will have the key to the kingdom.
The tether ball is the best example of “running out of rope” I know. Go find a school yard and play some. You can’t achieve the extension these athletes are creating without sending your energy to the edge of a cirlce with soft limbs.