Off-Season Conditioning for Juniors
Fall Conditioning: By September the junior athlete has probably participated in a full range of competitive events during the summer, and is weary from traveling, competition, and lingering injuries. September is a good month to help your body recover from the summer grind, and prepare for a solid off-season conditioning program. During this month, the junior golfer should continue hydrating consistently. This facilitates quicker healing and decreased inflammation. The best method for calculating your water intake is dividing your body weight by two, and drinking this amount in ounces every day. You should add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to your water to supercharge it with over eighty minerals and trace elements. The junior golfer should have their parents schedule them for physician and physical therapy evaluations for any injuries acquired during the competitive season. Avoid golf practice! Activity in September should be limited to running, swimming, low-impact aerobics, basketball and other enjoyable cardiovascular exercises. As the junior golfer enters October and November they can begin strength training and resume golf practice as injuries subside. It is important to have an assessment of flexibility to reduce the potential of injury during training. Strength training will begin in the presence of continued participation in the other cardiovascular exercises listed above. Your strength training should consist of lower resistance and higher repetitions. For instance, if performing dumbbell presses while lying on a Swiss ball, you would perform 2 sets of 15 reps with a lighter weight, versus 2 sets of 8 with a heavier weight. Higher repetition workouts with lighter weights will condition you over the next two months in preparation for heavier weights in the winter.
Winter Conditioning: As the junior golfer moves into December, January, and February, the focus will shift to strength and power. Practice should resume according to the golfers normal routines, and begin participation in competitive events. The junior golfer should have a reassessment of flexibility to ensure that the loaded joints and muscles are prepared for the increased weights. It is not within the scope of this article to suggest specific workout routines. You can visit www.juniorfit.com and learn how you can be evaluated and progressed through an age-appropriate exercise program. During this conditioning period, the junior golfer will want to add explosive activities to their workouts. Explosive activities are more functional and dynamic, and typically include plyometrics. Plyometrics uses the stretch-shortening cycle within your joint-muscle complex to help you effectively generate more speed and power. There are numerous functional movement patterns that the average junior golfer can participate in during their gym sessions. Cable machines and functional movement tubing (FMT) are great ways to challenge your body through normal movement patterns, and these patterns will equate to a more efficient and stable golf swing. Another consideration in this phase is circuit training. You can vary your workout from upper body exercises to lower body exercises within the same workout to get cardiovascular benefit as you increase muscle strength and power.
Spring Conditioning: For many junior golfers, this part of the season will include an increase in tournament play and travel time. This is a good time to focus on golf-specific exercises. Focusing on the larger muscle groups and dynamic shoulder muscles (abdominals, hips, rotator cuff, and leg muscles) will be of the greatest benefit in this stage. Once again, as with each stage, have your flexibility reassessed to insure safety for your muscles and joints. Flexibility, along with the stable foundation you have built up to this point in your off-season, will be the greatest determining factors of the quality, safety, and efficiency of your swing. As your playing schedule gets into full swing, it is recommended to continue working out. As a junior golfer, you need to exercise caution and look for some of the signs of overwork. In-season workouts should continue on a similar schedule that was used in the off-season, with less intensity and duration.
Golf is a stressful sport on the body. It is imperative as a junior that you have a safe, effective workout program designed specifically for your needs. Every junior develops at different times during adolescence and has different needs. Be sure to check the credentials of your choice of trainer to ensure they are educated in the unique art of fitness for junior golfers. Have a great off-season, and play fit!
About the Author: Brian Knight, author of Junior Golf Fitness is a Physical Therapist (PT), Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS), and Level 3 Medical Golf Fitness Instructor with the Titleist Performance Institute.
EDITORS 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. Our priority is to maximize your potential, lower your scores, reduce your risk of injury, and extend your golfing years. Each issue has departments dedicated to men, women, seniors, and juniors along with tips, advice and simple exercise routines from GFMs team of experts. If you want to improve your golf game, and hit the ball farther, click here for special offers on a subscription so you can have all this and more in-depth advice delivered right to you! Get cutting edge fitness & mental tips sent to your inbox each month with our FREE golf performance eNewsletter, Shape Your Game. To contact our Senior Editor, Publisher or Online Editor with questions or comments, please visit our web site golffitnessmagazine.com for more information.
Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday
Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.
European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.
Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.
Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.
Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.
Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.
In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit
Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.
Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.
“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.
Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).
It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.
“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.
“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”
Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.
“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”
Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.
“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”
Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.
This is how Kang remembered the conversation:
Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”
Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”
Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”
“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”
Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.
“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.
“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”
Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy
Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.
But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.
"Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."
Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.
"I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.
Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.
"I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."
Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup
Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.
Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.
But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.
"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."
It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.
"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."