Training early for lifelong success

By Golf Fitness MagazineFebruary 2, 2010, 12:40 am

It has become the status quo to take children as early as five years old and decide their course in athletics. My child is a baseball player, football player, soccer player, or golfer! If I make them train in one sport early they are sure to be a success! Not only is this approach a poor concept for sports skill development, it is a poor template for physical conditioning.

Junior fitness and sports specific conditioning has come to the forefront of marketing and advertising in the last few years. It is an enormous market and parents are quick to pay the price for their child to run faster, jump higher, or swing harder in six to eight weeks. The problem with this methodology is the development of a child is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The growth and development stages of a child through adolescence into maturity are many and differ with gender. Any short term gains for the sake of marketing typically put the junior athlete at risk for injury or burnout. High stress and high intensity workout programs early in development are typically more harmful to the developing athlete.

What must be understood by parents and coaches is that a junior should be developing neurologically and building strength through the course of normal daily activities. In today’s society of gaming systems, internet, and cable television juniors do not get the volume of “play” that was once the normative for a developing athlete. Most activities you can name that a junior could perform to build strength, endurance, and balance have been turned into a video game to be played while sitting in a chair. If you take this junior and put them directly into a sport or sports performance fitness program you are surely setting them up for injury. A junior must be prepared for demanding activities through methodical preparation using an age specific fitness program.

A solid junior fitness program is imperative to ensure your junior has safe and effective sports performance. Golf is an incredible sport. Golf teaches many of life’s lessons. Golf is demanding on the body at any age. Golf is demanding on the mind at any age. Building a healthy junior athlete for golf is a great endeavor for the parent and the junior. By creating an environment that effectively challenges a junior appropriately for their developmental stage you are ensuring a progression in sports that will develop the skills of your junior correctly.

Kid doing push-upsHere is some information to keep in mind while helping your junior athlete develop. If you want to build a great golfer, you must build a great athlete. There is no greater mistake in sports than training exclusively for your sport at a young age. Juniors must be involved in a variety of sports and play activities to help their bodies develop greater balance, coordination, speed, agility, etc… Believe it or not, skateboarding and playing basketball will provide a more well rounded skill development for golf than pulling on a rubber band in a golf motion could ever hope to achieve. Young golfers that start swinging a club at five years of age but never explore the motor patterns of movements in the opposite direction of their swing are building physical imbalances. These imbalances over time create an environment for injury and poor performance. It is important that juniors spend time jumping, running, throwing, catching, rolling, shuffling, hopping… you get the point! If you want to be a great athlete, look at the successful golfers of the past and present. What you will find is they are great at other sports as well.

How do I train? There are many ways to enhance your training to improve your golf game and your quality of movement. This article was written to give you some general ideas about how to go about this important skill. When you think of your training, think of movement patterns, not just movements. This means using as much of your body as possible to perform workout activities. You do not hit a golf ball with your back or biceps or legs. You hit a golf ball with the coordinated sequencing of all of your primary muscles and their supporting casts. For this reason, you should seek out exercises that challenge your strength, balance, coordination, and power all at the same time.

Here are some examples for smaller children (ages 5-10): push-ups, sit-ups, weight bearing stretches, bear crawls, two on two soccer and basketball, box jumping, frog hops. This list is endless and only limited by your imagination. The goal is to create activities that encourage the use of the juniors own body weight as resistance, promote simplified team games, and enhance flexibility performing stretches on your feet.

As you move into the 11-14 age division you are encouraged to get your junior involved in other sports to assist with creating a dynamic athlete that has a well developed neurological system. You can now begin to add external resistance as the junior has proven proficiency with maintaining excellent form using their own body weight. Continue with flexibility and increase the structure of the cardiovascular exercise.

Finally, as you begin training the 15-19 age division you are given more liberties with weight training and explosive strength. It is most important that as heavier weights are added and more dynamic movements at high speeds are required, the junior must maintain safe and efficient form during exercise.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Golf Fitness Magazine is the only national consumer publication dedicated to golf-specific fitness, mental focus, and improving ability, performance and health among all golfers. Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our free golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.