Off-Season Starts Now (What should I focus on?)

Have you ever heard the saying that beach bodies are made in the winter? The same goes for improving your body when it comes to performance. Gains or improvements in the gym are made in the offseason because we can stress the body way more than we can during the season. Athletes who dedicate their time to their bodies in the offseason are the ones that continue to improve year after year and that compounds. 

Off season….What’s that?

In the professional ranks these are common statements. The PGA tour, LPGA tour and other professional tours pretty much play all year round now so there isn’t really a traditional offseason like most sports. For golfers you have to be a little more strategic on how you prioritize training if you want to improve.

For the weekend golfer there is a clear divide. If you want to be elite then you have to be willing to do or be more than the other people you are competing against. If you play in a beer league once a week then that’s your standard. If you play on tour, that’s your standard. I keep coming back to the thought from average to elite, I want everyone to realize that it’s relative to you and it all depends on where you are and how far you are willing to push yourself. 

The offseason is the perfect time to ramp up your training. Depending on the level you play at some people get a few months off and others only get a few weeks. This is when you should spend some extra time in the gym. Find a certified coach and come up with a plan for the off season. 

When deciding on what to focus on during the offseason you have to consider a few things: 

  1. Injuries 
  2. Weaknesses 
  3. Strengths 
  4. How old is the athlete? 
  5. How long is the offseason? 

Injuries 

Unfortunately, injuries are a part of sports and life. If you have any injuries those need to be taken care of first. Almost every athlete I’ve trained, over the years, has some sort of tightness, imbalances or even worse an injury at the end of their competitive season. 

The majority of the time that’s because they have neglected their recovery and have spent more time playing their sport than normal. Especially with a sport like golf, because you are swinging in one direction, you create limitations and tightness. If you don’t work on these things they will inevitably become injuries. 

Once injuries have healed and we feel good then we can begin our offseason training. We need to function optimally to excel during the season so step one of the off season is always to get rid of those nagging injuries developed during the season. I like to begin the first week, or two, with a lot of corrective exercises, mobility and stability to work to help get us moving properly. 

A lot of athletes play through their injuries and they create chronic issues that stay with them after their playing careers are done. The best way to avoid injury is to be proactive and take your recovery days and plans seriously. 

Over training isn’t as common in golfers as say marathon runners but you can overuse your muscles from swinging in one direction the majority of the time. This creates muscular imbalances and can cause issues down the road if proper training and recovery isn’t a priority. 

Weaknesses 

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in whatever they do. It doesn’t matter what they are but in order to improve you understand them. Assessments and knowing your body/game is a good place to start.

Common weaknesses (Physical) for golfers are speed, size, strength and mobility.

Size is something that a lot of young golfers try to overcome. As we see week in and out, on the PGA tour, you have to be able to generate a lot of speed and power to compete. Before we can generate speed and power, we need to develop muscle mass and strength. That means some athletes need to build muscle or add size to their frames. Usually this is the goal of younger golfers, but some older players come to this realization too. 

How do we put on size? Well the short answer is resistance training and more calories but there’s so much more that goes into it. For instance, you need to sleep more if you want to develop more mass and the calories you’re eating matter too. If you’re eating all of your calories from processed food then the mass/size you will put on will be unwanted or fat tissue. Understanding your frame type is a good way to determine how hard it will be to achieve this goal. 

Tall and skinny athletes have a tougher time putting on muscle mass compared to shorter stockier people. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible for both types, it means that you will have to work harder to achieve the same goal. A great body type for a junior golfer is tall and skinny because the muscle mass can come later. Dustin Johnson is a good example of this as he has gotten bigger and stronger as he has progressed through his career. 

If you’re lacking in speed and power because you don’t have the body to handle it, then try to put some more size on and increase your strength. Once those things are achieved add in the speed and power training and you will see those numbers go up. In the modern game it is a must to compete at the highest level. 

Mobility is usually a big weakness in golfers, especially aging golfers, and this should be a major focus during the offseason. As we age our mobility tends to be the thing that leaves first if we don’t proactively work on it. All of my clients get mobility programs that I advise them to complete daily. Mobility training can be very passive but it can also be very strenuous depending on your fitness level. 

Here’s a mobility workout to try:

Strengths 

Just because we are strong in certain areas doesn’t mean we don’t have to work on them. A lot of the time we neglect our strengths to focus on our weaknesses and there is definitely a reason to do that but don’t forget about your strengths! Our strengths need to be worked on so that they stay our strengths. 

When we think about fitness most people tend to like doing a certain area of their body more. Or they like strength training more than cardiorespiratory training. Either way your strength is most likely the one you gravitate to or want to do more of. Continue to participate in activities that give you confidence and make you feel good. 

If you have a lot of speed in your swing that doesn’t mean you should never do speed work. That’s your advantage and you need to continue to work at it! A lot of athletes forget to work on their strengths and they only focus on their weaknesses. There’s time for both! If you need help with this then it’s time to hire a coach.

How old is the athlete? 

Some of you might be sitting there thinking why does that matter? It actually plays a huge role in determining where to start training. Especially with juniors! If a junior wants to start training, then we need to consider a few things. Have they reached puberty? What is their level of maturity? What body type do they have? Have they ever been in a gym?

This will help us determine a good starting point that we can progress from. Understanding your body type will help us decide where to start with the training. An example of that is a lot of ectomorphs have trouble putting on weight and that is usually something they need. So when deciding on what to focus on first in the off season they will most likely work on putting on size first. Depending on if they have any other issues or injuries. 

How long is the offseason? 

Depending on what level you’re at will determine the length of your off season. Where I’m from in Canada we have a long off season. Usually, November until April. There might be a few rounds during that time but it’s cold and a lot of the competition is played when it’s warmer. So, during the off season up here we have lots of time to build muscle, turn it into strength, power and speed! 

If you are a pro there really isn’t an off season at all anymore. There’s the wrap around season on the PGA tour and all of the other mini tours are holding events year-round. This means that it’s tougher to really work on certain things as you have to focus on golf more than the gym.

3 Strategies to improve your Off Season Training: 

  1. Daily Movement Routine to improve movement efficiencies. 
  2. Increase Strength, Speed and Power by training regularly with a coach 
  3. Periodize your training so you can maximize your improvements in the most efficient way and be at your best during the season.

Check out this webinar I did last year, on goal setting, for information to help you have the best off-season ever!

From Average to Elite.

Stop misusing your time doing the same thing in the gym expecting a different result! Let me develop a personalized plan to maximize your potential and start living the life you deserve. We will identify your limitations and turn them into your strengths! Take your athletic ability, game, body and LIFE to the next level! Don’t waste another minute. LETS GO!

Check out the ways I can help you go From Average to Elite:

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Thanks for reading! Until the next one……

Mark

CSC Performance Coaching

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