After a recent session with a new student I received a really insightful response in my inbox.
I wanted to share it with you because it honestly has some really good insights into a concept that we often brush over in golf. Grip pressure and relaxing. We spend so much time talking about angles, spin, speed, distance that we forget about the element that holds it all together.
The connection between the club and our body – the hands.
Check this out…
I enjoyed the first session very much. Thoughts about “relaxed hands” with my professional instruments follow.
A tight, tension filled grip on the many specialized (and sharp!) dental instruments diminishes their effectiveness while at the same time increases their risk of doing harm. There is rarely an advantage of strength with dental instruments; they are well designed in a way to utilize leverage and rely on positioning and application more than power, the mechanized instruments even more so. If they don’t work with a normal, relaxed grip to achieve the desired result, it’s probably the wrong instrument. A stronger grip (and more muscle involvement right up the chain) may affect a result, but more often than not, not the desired one. A strong grip pressure in many cases actually becomes counter-productive for the intended design and application. I cannot tell you how many times the term “light, finger-tip pressure” is used in dental texts and instructions.
Envisioning what would happen if I gripped my instruments with excessive tension or pressure is not a pretty thought. First, the precision of small, intricate, delicate movements would be lost. The “flowing” transition of the instrument in space or in contact would instead become a series of starts and stops…jerky, with less control. Second, it would be much harder to quickly change speed or direction of movement since this would involve first lightening up then re-applying the force or calling in a new set of muscles. Reaction time would increase, and this could spell disaster with something sharp spinning at 250,000 rpm. Third, even if precision could be maintained with an overly strong grip initially, it would surely erode quickly due to fatigue. We’re not just talking about fingers; arms, necks, backs all would get a chance to be ineffective…and sore.
I think I get the message here. The benefit of a tensionless grip on my professional instruments translates to the benefit of a tensionless grip on my golf instruments. Yes?
Thanks, Joe. See you next Thursday.