Do You Disassociate?
Do I what? Disassociate from what? How am I supposed to do that?
Disassociation is a major component of athletics and golf that is often utilized without even realizing it. If you watch just about any professional sport you’ll be able to pick it out. Watch the quarterback or baseball player snap their hips to create power in their throw or put speed behind the bat. The same technique applies to golf and actually has a specific sequence that it’s supposed to follow. Disassociation is where a great deal of your power is generated, and is a big part of creating consistency in your swing by decreasing the use of your arms.
You build tension in your core by starting the backswing with your hands, then shoulders, all while keeping your hips stabile until the very end when you finally allow them to rotate back. Then on the way down we work in the opposite order. Think of disassociation like creating a whip. Your hips turn into the downswing first, then shoulders, then your hands come through. But that’s not the end of it, in order to create the whipping effect, we need to be able to stop the hips while everything else keeps moving. Just like trying to crack a whip, the base needs to stop in order to create an effect on the other end of the chain.
Big hitters actually get their hips to come to a complete stop just before impact to maximize this whipping effect, then let their hips release again during their follow through. Check out this video below to see what I’m talking about!
Much like other athletic qualities, some people are naturally better at it than others and some people need to actively work on it to improve. Most of us aren’t like Rory. Like any other issue, the first step is admitting that there’s a problem, and this is something that you may need some guidance to figure out. We can actually test to see if we separate our upper and lower body, and many people find it surprisingly difficult.
Try these two tests in the mirror to see if you can disassociate. For the first, try to keep your hips in one place while you rotate just your shoulders. This is similar to being able to rotate into your backswing without bringing your hips with your shoulders too soon. In the ideal backswing you begin to create tension in your core by leaving your hips in place as you rotate your shoulders back.
Once you’ve taken a look at this, see if you can do the opposite. Keep your shoulders in place and just rotate your hips back and forth. This is what should be happening when you start your downswing to increase the stretch, and ultimately the power, generated between your hips and shoulders.
Like anything else, practice makes perfect, and now you know how to spot whether or not you’re moving well. Spend a little time working on whichever of these you found difficult and it will be second nature in no time, helping you to improve your power output and your consistency!
Steve Zarriello is the owner of Olympia Fitness and Performance, located in Cranston, RI. He has been training clients of all different ages, abilities and backgrounds to help them reach their specific goals for over 10 years. His primary focus is on working with golfers to help improve their ability to play the game and keep them pain free.