1. Break 80?
2. Lower your handicap?
3. Play without pain?
4. Increase your driving distance?
5. Not improveagain?
Again, the question is, did you perform and accomplish the goals you set for this golfing season? If your answer is no, then you must consider why. Is it because the new club(s) you bought just didnt perform like you thought they would? Is it because you didnt take enough lessons? How about because you didnt commit to enough practice time?
My challenge to you is to consider that it is not any of the above! It is what you did or did not do last fall, spring and winter, your off season preparation for the 2008 season.
I hope you dont expect to do close to nothing over the winter, then when March comes around think you are going to go out and play well, score well and otherwise be properly prepared. You know what, though? A majority of golfers think that they can do that, and then wonder why their game is suffering, their bodies hurt and their egos are deflated.
So, lets work on re-programming your idea of golf success next season, by learning the ten things you should not do this winter.
1. Be lazy
I mean, seriously! General fitness, function and performance in life (not just golf) are integral to longevity and physical prowess. If you are like me and expect to ride your mountain bike, play golf, backpack and water ski till your dead, you cant be lazy.
Recent studies reveal that between the ages of 65 and 89, explosive lower limb extensor power (part of the golf swing) declines at three and a half percent per year compared to a one to two percent per year decrease in strength. Another study revealed that maximal anaerobic power declines more than eight percent per decade from ages 20-70. In case you are slow at math, that is more than 40 percent in 50 years. In other words, you are losing almost 50 percent of your bodys oxygen carrying capacity!
2. Not stretch
I deal with clients every day in my practice that have pain because of immobility (joints) and inflexibility (muscles). And what do you think is the primary cause? Work! Thats right; the seated workstation is the primary work position for most people, and the one that wreaks the most havoc.
So, if you want to remain able bodied, and reap the benefits of maximum flexibility, then do your daily stretches. Realize the benefits of flexibility on your golf game (better posture, increased range of motion, higher club head speed), and you will hit the ball farther, lower your score, and most importantly, decrease your risk of injury. I recommend hiring a TPI-certified professional to create a specific stretching program for you. Go to mytpi.com and search for find a fitness pro.
3. Not strength train
Studies have shown that a regular weight training program can grow muscle tissue, and strengthen ligaments and tendons with participants as old as 92! Let me challenge your thought process about human function by asking a question: At your present fitness level, do you think you would have done well if you lived 250 years ago? In other words, if you think about how people lived in the 1700s, do you think you would have been able to function well in your present physical condition? Let me make it easy for youprobably not! Think about what early pioneers had to endure just to survive, including hunting for their food, cutting down trees to build their own houses, protect their land, and even migration.
Without a strong weight training program there is no way for you to maintain the levels of function that would be similar to those times. Back then you had to be good at squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, bending, rotating, walking and running. Are you good at all these?
My challenge to you, regardless of your age, is to, again, hire a TPI professional to create a personalized exercise program that will make you better at all of the innate, highly functional movements. If you do, not only will you be better at golf, but better at life.
4. Not practice
It still makes me laugh how the majority of golfers take the winter off from practice and training, and then expect to go out come spring and play the way they did at the end of the summer. What are you thinking? You spend all winter working in your seated work place, being lazy, and still expect to score well in the start of spring. Do PGA Tour pros take the winter off and expect to start in January with a bang, and win tournaments right off the bat? No. They train and practice in the winter so they can expect to do well when they start at the end of January.
Ok, for those of you living in the southern part of the U.S., winter doesnt really affect you as much as it does those in the north. That aside, you should not go all winter without practicing. This is an ideal time, along with your conditioning program, to make changes to your game, meet with your golf professional and get a plan and practice until spring rolls around, so you can start your season with a bang! Do it this way this year and watch how good you will be at the start of the season.
5. Not see your golf pro at least once a month during the winter
This ties into #4. Plain and simple, see your instructor once a month and have them create a plan to success that you can stick to.
6. Not Get a massage once a month
Because golf is such a one-sided stressful sport, you undoubtedly have asymmetry in your body. Because of this your muscular system can be tight on one side and loose on the other. Your muscles need some lovin for gosh sakes! Massage will help relieve stress, get rid of accumulated toxins, promote better blood flow, help your lymph system (which helps fight infections), help you relax, and promote mobility of the joints and flexibility of the muscles. And dont forget that is just feels good!
7. Not See your chiropractor
As much as golf is stressful to one side of your body muscularly, it is also stressful on your skeletal system and spine. This is why you should visit your chiropractor at least once every quarter to ensure that your neurological system is working optimally. Dont forget that your neurological system controls every function of your body, so it is essential that it is functioning at its full capacity.
8. Not eat right
Here is when I begplease, please eat as much organic food as you can! Commercially raised and produced food is being shown in research to be a major cause of disease. I cant tell you how many times Ive heard, But Dee, it costs so much more. Listen, first of all, no it doesnt. If you compare prices, they are pretty similar for the same food products. Second, who cares! Isnt your familys and your health more important than anything? If you need to sacrifice, do it somewhere else; dont rob yourself and your kids of the best nutrition you can buy. It just isnt worth the small saving every month compared to what you gain in health benefits. So, again, please support organic food growers by purchasing their products. Not only will you benefit, but so will the environment and Mother Earth!
9. Not Manage your stress
This one is easy. Do something every day that will allow you to download from the stressors of the world. Take a walk, take a nap, exercise, play like a kid, play with your kids, eat organic food, manage your time well, love like you love to be loved, and especially go and golf, the ultimate way to reduce stress!
10. Not see a qualified TPI fitness professional to create a specific program for your issues
Just as you would hire a professional plumber or car technician to address your plumbing and automobile issues, you should hire a professional to fix your body issues. You must seek those who are most qualified to do this work for you. Do not just go to your average personal trainer down the street, who not only doesnt know anything about golf, but probably doesnt know much at all about anything else except circuit training on machines! Use the find a pro sections of www.mytpi.com or www.chekinstitute.com or www.nsca.com to find those who can most specifically help you with your issues, and not address you as a number and put you on a cookie cutter program. You deserve it, hire the best!
So, if you have a desire to be a better golfer, if you follow these Top Ten Things You Should Not Do This Winter, not only will you enjoy a better game come spring time, but all other parts of your life will improve as well. Enjoy!
Since 1999, Dee Tidwell has been working with specialty athletes including PGA Tour winners Arron Oberholser and Joe Durant. He is a Level 3 TPI fitness instructor, MAT Specialist and TPI Assistant Instructor. Dee can be contacted at tgclink email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org or championshipgolffitness.blogspot.com
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