With the start of football season around the country it got me thinking about what students can learn about the golf swing from America’s favorite sport, (sorry baseball its true). There are striking similarities between the actions of the place kicker and the actions of the golfer. Like any other sports where you are required to throw, kick, or hit an object, it requires rotational movement that is harnessed against the ground. This will produce a powerful free flowing circular swing. Now let’s take a look at the actions of the place kicker. As he steps into the ball he pushes his lead leg into the ground. With the ground acting as resistance, he then swings his kicking leg in a circular motion around his plant leg.This rotational force creates tremendous leg speed through the football. In the golf swing we also need to use our lead leg to plant onto the ground to allow the club to whip through the hitting zone at speeds faster than we can create manually.
There are a couple other key elements in the place kicker’s motion that we need to pay attention to. The first being the location of his upper body in relation to the football. At the time of impact the place kicker’s upper body is behind the ball. This should be the same for the golf swing. If you feel your upper body in front of the golf ball before the clubhead arrives, then you are likely sliding laterally into impact and this will cause inconsistent ball striking. Another element of the place kicker’s motion that we need to emulate is the upper body rotation. You will notice that the upper body of a place kicker will rotate past his intended target (to the left of target for right footed kicker). This is the same for the golf swing and is a result of correctly rotating your lower body through impact. Finally all place kickers know that for more power they line up to the right goalpost and hit a draw. This is done with a kicking leg motion that is swinging to the right of the goalpost with the foot angled at the goal post. The same is done with an in to out swing path and the clubface slightly closed to that path. By opening your body in the downswing, you will swing more in to out and produce more powerful shots.
So the next time you watch your favorite team, pay attention to the place kicker and how you can copy him to hit the ball better.