Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wild World of Wednesday - A Sucky Session And Yoga

Yes, a range session with total suckage! Unbelievable shots. Bruised egos.

Yesterday I made a specific point to take a lunch away from the desk that I am normally chained to and went to a nearby driving range. The session started out innocently enough. I took out my most lofted wedge and, after a few practice swings, hit about 5 or 6 balls. Only one of those shots did something odd so I moved on to the pitching wedge. Again, everything went rather smoothly and "normal". Next, I grabbed the 9 iron. The first shot went nearly straight ahead from the spot on the ground and rolled quickly along the grass. Awesome. Then the second hooked hard and went about 25 feet. Great. This sort of nonsense continued regardless of my many attempts to relax, realign, focus, etc. I grabbed the 8 iron to see if maybe I had accidentally banged my 9 against the car, wall, or something and knocked it out of line in some way. This didn't work either. Sure, this was the first range session that I had since the outpatient procedure and adventures in acupuncture but was that knocking my swing off that much? I decided to go to the 3 wood to see if that was off. Pow! Perfect shot. Next, the driver - and, boom! Perfect shot. What the heck? I spent the rest of the session working on the longer shots. I have no idea what's up with the irons but I am sure you commenters will have a hypothesis or two?

In my quest to improve my overall health and fitness I also decided to try something different and introduce yoga in to my routine. I recently scored a great deal through Groupon where I paid only $15 for two weeks of unlimited classes at a local studio. I went to my first session last night and it was a mix of cardio, pilates, and yoga moves and it felt pretty great. I'm headed back tonight to try an Iyengar class. This form is touted to be a great way for me to gain strength and stability in my neck and spine so I am ready to try it out. Overall, I hope to increase my flexibility and promote healing to my injured areas.

*P.S. Groupon rules by the way. Check it out and sign up for the free email alerts in your area through my referral link and I get a $10 credit when you take advantage of your first deal. After you sign up, get your own unique code and refer your friends to get $10 credits to your account. I've bought and used 4 of these in the last month and the discounts for awesome places around town are epic!

*P.P.S Yes, this is the first time that I am honestly trying yoga. I think I did a touch of it when I was a little girl but for the most part SoCal natives don't do yoga and don't eat granola. Those are things that people do when they move here because they think it is the "California" thing to do. I'm not going to take up eating granola, however, there is waaaaaay too much sugar and processing in that for my liking. And no, I am not knocking you if you enjoy one or both of these things - to each their own.


Mike said...

Any hypothesis would require a bit more information... namely, did the balls start out straight and then hook, or did they start right and then hook? (Or even, did they start left and then hook?) Each is a different problem.

(And for you readers, remember that Apryl's a leftie, so her hooks are a rightie's slice.)

Apryl DeLancey said...

Yes, left-handedness is most definitely my way!

To answer your questions Mike - I shanked, I hooked, I hit the ball like there were bowling pins in front of me. Irons were a complete mess. Once I got to the woods I was fine with my usual straight ahead or the subtle slice that plaques them.

Mike said...

Ok, here's my best guess at what's happening (without seeing you swing, of course):

You're used to playing with pain and the resultant tighter muscles, so you've had a somewhat limited range of motion in the past. If you have a larger range of motion without pain now, it only makes sense that you'll have to develop a new "feel" for your swing.

With the shorter clubs, you're more bent over the ball, so there's more "over and under" shoulder motion, as well as more lower body movement since your spine can move more freely. In fact, I'd guess extra hip motion is more to blame than the shoulder motion right now, because your hips move more when you're bent over; they have to "get out of the way" but they don't have as much room in which to move. This is a good problem, though. Don't worry a lot about it right now; focus on getting as pain-free as possible.

Your long game isn't affected as much because you stand more upright and your swing is on a flatter plane, so your hips aren't as restricted and your shoulders don't normally move up or down as much. Think about it this way -- when your back hurts, it hurts more when you bend over than when you stand straight up. It's the same principle here. When you swing "standing up," you're affected less than when you swing "bending over."

For the time being, while you're healing, I suggest you practice short game shots instead of full wedge shots -- chips and pitches -- that will help you develop a new feel with less motion. It'll be easier to get some consistent rhythm in your swing. You can work with your long swing as normal; it'll help lengthen and strengthen the muscles without putting so much pressure on them. Your sports doctor may have some more specific guidelines for you, since he can actually see what you're doing... but I think he'll be ok with this advice.

Apryl DeLancey said...

I knew I could count on you Mike!

I think you're postulations are great and especially believe the practice recommendation.

I should make a few points of clarification though for everyone's understanding:

* My neck, right shoulder, and right arm are where the pain is. The nerves are affected so my right elbow and hand have big issues. The middle and lower portion of my back have no issues or pain.

* My shoulder flexibility has definitely improved as evident by my consistent 200 yard drive day at the range a few weeks ago.

* My irons and short game definitely need work. Period.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chime in!

Anyone else?