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A Twist of the Wrist
A study by champion New Zealand croquet player, Jenny Clarke, study suggests a relationship between inward bending (flexion) of the wrist during a croquet shot and rotation of the mallet about a longitudinal axis through its shaft. It is reasonable to suspect that reducing inward wrist bending may improve consistency in your croquet stroke. Consistency in this context means having a longer period of time during your mallet swing where the mallet head is pointing squarely towards the target, so increasing your ability to hit the ball reliably in the desired direction.
Further, a significant proportion of croquet injuries involve wrist pain. Reducing wrist bending during your stroke should reduce torsional impacts on the wrist and reduce the occurrence of wrist pain and injuries in croquet players. This suggests a strong possibility that a mechanism generating a crooked backswing is lower wrist flexion.
Jenny suggests interventions to directly reduce the magnitude of twist of the mallet during the swing could include
practising with a mirror to reduce mallet twist,
psychological techniques such as deliberately trying to twist the mallet in the opposite direction to the natural deviation,
practising swinging a mallet back and forth without a ball to hit, focusing on keeping the wrist held at a fixed angle.
The study involved a group of players from New Zealand’s Canterbury Croquet Association (CCA), all using a standard grip. They ranged in age from 21 to 85 years old (average age 65 years and average playing experience 13 years). 3D motion capture equipment and high-definition video was used to determine if there was a connection between the lateral twist of a croquet player’s swing and the amount of bending of the wrist from the start of the stroke to the top of the backswing.
About The Author
Dr Jenny Clarke is a world class croquet player whose research at University of Canterbury is contributing to the sport internationally. World Croquet Federation 2020 Hall of Fame describes her as: the most successful woman croquet player at both codes. Jenny has four medals from the Women’s GC World Championships (including runner-up twice) and is the current Women’s AC World Champion. Jenny was also a member of NZ’s winning MacRobertson Shield team in 2014
Along with husband, Chris Clarke, Jenny hosts the website ClarkeCroquet, which contains interactive training resources such as self-marking quizzes, video demonstrations, photo essays, coaching and resources to help tournament managers. Well worth a look.
Original article published 18 June 2020: Clarke, Jenny. 2020. "Analysis of Lower Hand Wrist Flexion and Twist of the Mallet Head in a Croquet Shot" Appl. Sci. 10, no. 12: 4192.