Posts in August

Why you should have a plan

With the golf season coming to an end i am finding more time to catch up on my reading. I love reading. Its relaxing, educational and it sparks a fire in me to be more productive with myself in everything i do whether its work, education or sports. Currently I’m reading a book called “Start with why” from  Simon Sinek. Simon’s passion in life is to inspire people to greater things. Quiet rightly he believes we are all capable of greater things with the correct attitude and application. At some stage we have to take leadership for the things in our lives. Whether its our college course selection, career direction or revamping the process and work ethic to our golf game. One thing that is vital in all decisions is the importance of planning ahead and getting a structured game plan in place. In his book Mr Sinek tells us a story that shows us the importance of getting that plan right from the very beginning.

Japanese Car Makers

A group of executives from An American car company visited Japan to study how the Japanese car company ran their assembly line. It all seemed routine and standard to the American assembly line apart from one process at the end of the line. On the American line they employed someone to tap the edges of the car door with a rubber mallet to ensure the door fitted perfectly on the hinges. Japan had nobody doing this or a machine to do it. On noticing this the American executives asked their Japanese counterparts why wasn’t this done. “We make sure it fits when we design it” was the reply. Japanese car doors last longer and are safer structurally than the American car doors. Why so? It is because they designed the outcome they desired from the start of the process.

Why we should have a fitness plan 

We can learn a lot from our Japanese car making friends when it comes to starting a fitness plan. We need to set ourselves a long term goal and have that final goal in mind from the start. Instead of making short cuts and stop gap solutions we can save ourselves time, protect our long term health  and save some money with a proper long term plan.

First Steps to your golf fitness plan 

August and September is a great time to get your plan together and get a headstart on your 2015 golf season goals. First step is to get a full body screening and assessment which should include a movement screen identifying your mobility and stability weaknesses. These issue’s could be preventing you from getting into technical swing positions that your golf coach wants you to be in. A qualified strength and conditioning coach who is also certified with TPI with a good understanding of the golf swing and the body will ensure there is no stone left unturned.

A body fat measurement is also a good idea so you can monitor your progress over the winter. A leaner golfer equals a more efficient golfer and fat loss with muscle gain should be one of your goals.  A leaner golfer will not only have you better physically but mentally too as looking and feeling good will give you a huge psychological boost.

After your initial screening your trainer will be able to design for you a proper periodised plan for the months ahead. I have all my players on a proper structured plan with different phases for the season. Normally i work on normalising players mobility and stability issues at the first phase before moving on to strength, power and then golf specific. This ensures the player is flexible, strong , explosive and dynamic for the start of the 2015 season.

Having a golf fitness plan is one part of the jigsaw. A player should also sit down with his golf coach/psychologist at this time of year for review and reflection of the 2014 season. Discussing your strengths and weaknesses will enable you to come up with a plan to address any issues that need to be worked on. Structuring your plans from the very beginning , just like the Japanese car makers , gives you the best possible chance to make 2015 your most successful season yet. To quote Oliver Wendell Homes  ” I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving”

 

How Strength Training helped Rory McIlroy

In August 2006 Ballyliffin Golf Club was the venue for the Interprovincial championships. For any non Irish reading this, the interprovincial championships is a team competition between the four provinces of Ireland. Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster. I was playing for Leinster and  a 17 year old kid called Rory McIlroy was playing for Ulster. It was here that i first noticed Rory’s interest in fitness. I had just finished a workout in the gym and bumped into Rory in the lobby. “I want to get myself some of those” he said pointing to my biceps. I don’t think they were that impressive back then! But that moment always stuck in my mind as I’ve watched Rory turn himself into an athlete. He has always had an interest in fitness and making himself stronger. With enthusiasm, its a lot easier to have dedication and he clearly has for strength training.

Earlier this week at his media conference at the PGA Championship Rory talked about how he has gained 3kg of muscle in 8 weeks and how much stronger and stable he has become.

Ive had a lot of questions about the topic this week which is the reason for this blog post!

What is Strength Training?

It is the process of effecting overload through the use of progressive resistance exercises with the aim of effecting positive force-time adaptations.

So why has Strength Training helped Rory become a better golfer? There are several reasons.

Injury Prevention

When Rory first turned pro he suffered with some minor back injuries. Back then he didn’t have the strength and stability to cope with the incredible amount of clubhead speed his golf swing produced. This was causing some dysfunction in his body leading to some pain and injury. He quickly addressed this and brought in Steve McGregor to design a programme to make him stronger in areas that needed stabilising such as glutes and abdominals. Since then he has had no back injuries. Building strong tissues- bone, muscle, tendon, ligament has enabled Rory to withstand the forces of gravity and the force of his golf swing.

Stabilisation of his neuromuscular system

Strength training involves both muscle and nerve adaptations. Strengthening the neuromuscular system results in a greater force and power output during a dynamic movement ( such as the golf swing) where speed is a key influence on the amount of force expressed. Rory is better prepared to perform his sport skills with a strong neuromuscular system.

Power and Force

Rory is ranked 3rd in driving distance on the PGA Tour this season at 310.3 yards. Last season he was 8th at 302.2. Interestingly in 2012 he was 5th at 310.1. He has certainly got his distance back this season and hitting it further than ever but more importantly he is hitting it straighter, leading him to hit more greens in regulation. Rory has been training quite a few years now and has a higher training age. This means he is much more specific with his strength training which is required for the enhancement of force and power. Being heavier but with  lower body fat  will help with this.

Leaner and meaner

Strength training burns calories and will reduce body fat levels with the help of a good diet. Increasing the proportion of lean tissue in the body will as a consequence burn more calories during exercise. Also being stronger,  looking leaner and feeling fitter will give anybody a huge psychological boost.

Without doubt strength training has helped Rory McIlroy become the worlds best player. With three majors under his belt already, the sky is the limit to how many he could win in the next twenty years. Being in great shape will help him play for another 20-25 years at the highest level.

Rory is a great role model for young golfers. Not only is he an amazing golfer but also an extremely polite and likeable guy. Any up and coming champion should watch his press conferences and how well he speaks to the media.

Strength training can help to instil order and discipline to any young athletes lifestyle. Which Rory is clearly showing at present.

Cannon Performance