The Second Fundamental: Balance

Balance is the secret to power. A body is balanced when the center of gravity is directly over the base of support, the feet. The feet need to be well grounded and the head has to be centered in order to be properly balanced. Move your head off of center and you are no longer in balance.

Balance is about the way you move before, during and after the swing. Footwork has a lot to do with balance. However, working on footwork is not the best way to actually improve your footwork. The way to better footwork is actually to work on balance. Good footwork results when you are balanced, not the other way around. Focus on improving your balance and your feet will move accordingly.

Balance and timing are interrelated. Swinging with poor timing throws you off balance and being off balance will disrupt your timing. If you’re balanced before you swing, you can use your whole body (kinetic chain) to generate power. If you’re balanced as you swing, you’re more likely to be balanced when you finish your swing which means you’ll be in a position to react better to the next ball.

When executing a stroke, the force  of the swing is determined by a kinetic chain that starts in your legs and then travels through the hips, trunk, shoulders and arm. It is the key to power. For the kinetic chain to work properly, your body needs to be grounded and balanced with no disconnect between your upper and lower body. Your posture needs to be strong with your head centered between your feet. Without proper posture you’ll lose links in your chain and, consequently, lose power.

This kinetic chain starts as a result of a phenomenon called Ground Reaction Force. Basically your legs push against the natural force that is keeping you on the ground – gravity. This push starts a rotation in the hips which results in trunk, shoulder and arm rotation. Energy moves through your body and, when you make contact, into the ball.

 


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