How Decelerating Makes for an Efficient Golf Swing

MAtkins-225x300with Matt Atkins CGFP-1

Did you know that the hips decelerate during the downswing?  Not only do we decelerate our hips in the downswing, but this deceleration is a major power generator.

One of the most common misconceptions I hear from golfers is that they need to continuously accelerate their hips through impact. This is a fundamental problem for amateurs and professionals alike.

When we look at the best players in the world, their hips start the downswing with a rapid ACCELERATION followed by a rapid DECELERATION. In fact, several tour players are completely STOPPED at the moment of impact. That’s right, STOPPED!

The golf swing is not just about swinging fast and hard during that 1.5 seconds. It’s about segmental stabilization and mobility. The speed that is created at the club head is the end result of each of the segments (lower body, torso, arm, club) accelerating and DECELERATING. The speed and power that is generated by each segment is sequentially transferred to the next segment efficiently when the previous segment is STABILIZED and decelerates.

Producing and controlling movement is a lot harder than it seems. Take for example 100m and 200m world record holder Usain Bolt. His average speed during a race is around 23mph, translating into 34 feet per second. That’s FAST. Now, think about what it takes to decelerate a human body flying through the air at that speed. The key to decelerating a spring or after a jump is eccentric contraction-or lengthening of a muscle. Concentric contractions occur when muscles shorten to produce movement. Think of someone performing a jump-you would start standing upright, then perform a slight downward movement (the eccentric action), and then explode up as high as possible (concentric action).

Why do we care about this? Because the storage and recovery of the energy between eccentric and concentric muscle action is what causes a movement to be either powerful/explosive, or slow/weak.

In golf, we want to be both  powerful and explosive! We can achieve this by training the body to become more efficient at accelerating and decelerating quickly. A physical screen allow us to determine  any physical limitations in the body producing power deficits  that would be need to be addressed through proper exercise programming.

Elite Health Services, located in Old Greenwich, CT is a world-class provider of certified functional manual physical therapy, personal fitness, golf & triathlon performance training, massage therapy and wellness related services.  Our team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals take a no-excuses approach to providing exceptional care, and delivering exceptional results. To learn more visit

Comments are closed.