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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chew on This for a While

As I’ve tried to get my Twitter page up and running, I’ve been trying to find golf-related folks to follow… including some teachers and players. Peter Kostis is one of the teachers, and I had just set up to follow him when this little tweet came through:
peterkostis Twitter Tip #7. A tight muscle is a slow muscle. Relax your jaws and your grip pressure if you want more speed.
I’ve mentioned the importance of relaxing your grip pressure before. (It’s Principle 3, after all.) But what caught my attention was his specific mention of the jaw muscles. If you think about it, it makes perfectly good sense.

Don’t you clench your jaws when you’re under stress? You probably do without even thinking about it. Simply stretching your jaw muscles by trying to open your mouth as wide as possible can help. (Perhaps this is part of the reason that yawning feels so good.) Moving your jaw slowly from side-to-side can help also. But you may want to do a bit more.

A quick websearch pulled up this page at Braingle.com on something they call ‘mentalrobics.’ This page mentions that tight jaw muscles can also contribute to back pain and tension headaches. I’m going to use the old disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and that you follow their advice at your own risk, but they mention an exercise that may help you learn not to clench. I would be careful about their instructions to “try hard” with the exercise, but judicious use of it may help you relax.

And relaxation almost always means better performance in golf.

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