Ground Reaction Force and the Importance of the Ankles

A headline like “Improve Your Ankle Mobility for a Better Golf Swing” might have been laughed about ten years ago, but as more and more golfers are becoming aware of how the body interacts with the swing, the importance of ankle mobility is being brought to the forefront.If one considers the physical demands of the swing – especially as it relates to sequencing and using the ground to generate power – overlooking ankle mobility in golf is a big mistake.

“The ankle, along with the wrist, may be the most ignored joint in terms of athletic performance. It should be borne in mind that the foot is a golfer’s only contact point with the ground. In golf, a powerful swing is the result of creating large amounts of ground reaction force and consequently its importance should be obvious. Structurally speaking the foot is also our base and affects everything else further up the kinetic chain.”

– Nick Buchan

One of the strongest correlations that I’ve found in the body-swing connection is the relationship between the Overhead Deep Squat and Loss of Posture – specifically Early Extension. The Overhead Deep Squat is one of the most informative screens that we perform. It evaluates mobility in the thoracic spine, hip, knee and ankle. While numerous physical limitations can cause Loss of Posture, poor ankle mobility is most closely associated with early extension. Below is a perfect picture of an overhead deep squat.

As seen in the picture, the hips and ankles are not restricting / prohibiting the athlete to squat deep down. This means he has excellent mobility and flexibility in his lower half and no limitation in this region.

Here is another quote that find valuable if you wish to have a solid golf swing:

” The ability to have really solid footwork is critical to using the ground for power.” – Damon Goddard
KeNako Academy, Ground Reaction Force and the Importance of the Ankles, Fitness article.