Using proper techniques is critically important for athletic performance. Mastering the perfect golf swing or using good form in your tennis serve will definitely help you succeed in those sports.

The sooner you learn proper techniques, the better. If you use poor mechanics in a golf swing early, you might hit the ball farther by swinging harder. But you might never reach distances you could with better form. Once those bad habits form, they can become harder for you to fix them.

Learn proper techniques in golf and other sports

That technique cannot only impair performance, but they can also lead to injury. For this tip, I will use the example of a baseball pitcher, but almost any repetitive motion in a sport or exercise could apply.

Imagine a 12-year-old pitcher who throws harder than other pitchers in his league. He wins at that level because he can get kids out better than other pitchers. The coaches might teach him new grips to throw new pitches. His athletic ability alone helps him succeed.

Since the pitcher is doing his job and the team (and coach) is winning, no one corrects his mechanics. He continues to stress the muscles around his shoulder and elbow with improper trunk rotation and arm lag with each pitch. Those stresses don’t start to take a toll until many years later. No one corrects his technique because he is succeeding now.

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Keep young athletes healthy, and keep them in the game

Now fast forward to his college or professional career. His pitching coaches recognize his flawed mechanics, but they can’t fix them because he’s pitched that way for years. If they do try to fix his technique, his performance might actually suffer. They claim they don’t want to create an injury by altering his delivery. Regardless, his flawed delivery ultimately causes him to suffer a Tommy John elbow injury or labral tear of the shoulder. Maybe he needs surgery and misses an entire year of baseball. Maybe he never returns at all.

The take-home message is that all athletes should learn proper techniques and mechanics for the sports very early. Once you can reliably perform these motions correctly, then you can increase velocity, intensity and repetition. You might decrease the chance of injury – and improve your performance.