Welcome to my blog post! Elite Player Development (The “Secret” Sauce)
“I played a lot of sports growing up: Lacrosse, Basketball, Baseball & Football. In high school I narrowed it down to basketball and golf. My whole life I know how much I loved golf. It was the sport I always wanted to play regardless of the season.”
~ Scottie Scheffler
This is a great reminder that you don’t need to specialize in golf early in life to become elite and make the PGA Tour. The more sports or activities an athlete is exposed to at a young age the better. A more athletic young athlete will become a better golfer over time and I’d argue that’s more important. You can still play a lot of golf at a young age but just don’t make that the only sport you play. Specialize when you become a teenager, but still try and play as many sports as you can. This creates the most well rounded athletes on the planet!
From Average to Elite
This blog post will discuss a few things you should consider if you want to be an elite athlete, then ultimately an elite golfer. I’ve worked with a lot of elite athletes and it’s fascinating to see what makes them tick and how dedicated they can be to their craft.
If you are an elite level golfer, in today’s game, then at some point you probably worked with a personal trainer, or a strength and conditioning coach . I hope they taught you a bunch of the things that we’ve discussed in my previous posts and videos. Coaches and trainers are guides and they can be extremely beneficial, especially for the athletic population. Even if you can’t afford a coach to work with you a few times a week it’s still a great idea to hire a coach to work with you monthly, or bi-monthly, to help program for you and provide advice.
If you haven’t worked with a coach then this is your chance to really take your game to the next level.
When you’re an elite athlete you are looking for that extra 1% wherever you can get it. A lot of the time that isn’t from your specific sport, or game! You work very hard on your golf game and it has to be the priority but that isn’t the only thing you should be focusing on everyday. I hope that by now you have come to understand that your body is a big reason you are good at golf and you need to take care of it like it’s your favourite club in the bag.
Elite level golfers make time for their bodies because they know that’s the key to success. If you are always injured, how will you compete? How will you generate the power and speed like Rory? Or DJ? The answer is quite simple and it’s training. Not just any training though, training that will work the areas of the body that YOU need to work on. You need to engineer your body to win at the highest level and there’s a lot that goes into that.
Speed and Power
This is one of the major things that separates the best players in the world. If you look at the stats on the PGA tour, for the last 5-10 years, you’ll see that the longer hitters are higher on the world ranking list. That doesn’t mean you can’t be one of the best golfers in the world if you’re not the longest, but it definitely makes the game a lot harder. If your competitor is hitting their gap wedge and you’re hitting a 6 or 7 iron, who has the advantage? How do we become a longer hitter?
Power = Power is the ability to overcome resistance in the shortest period of time leading to the ability to produce higher velocities against a given load.
Speed = Speed is the ability to move quickly across the ground or move limbs rapidly to grab. throw or swing.
We need to be able to generate a lot of speed but we also want to be powerful.
There’s a lot of different ways to achieve this! The ways that have worked for my athletes in the past is to combine a strength and conditioning program with speed training. I’ve talked a lot about power training in my previous posts so for this section I’m going to emphasize speed more than power.
One piece of equipment that I like to use is the Super Speed Sticks, and their protocols, to help achieve the speed training I’m looking for in a training session.. There are other systems out there now too, but I’ve had great success so far with this recipe. I would never put a speed stick in the hands of someone who wasn’t ready for them. You should have good coordination, a base level of strength and power before using the speed sticks.
There’s another similar product on the market that a lot of elite level players have also been using and that’s called The STACK System. This is a similar system to the Superspeed Sticks but it is a little more advanced as it uses an app that can calculates your swing speeds.
Orange Whip – is another brand that offers a few different products that will help you with your speed training. I know a couple athletes that use these and they do like them. In my opinion they aren’t as good as the Stack System, or the Super Speed clubs but they’re still a good option.
Whatever system you choose will benefit you; it’s just a matter of preference and the resources you have available.
Those are golf specific ways to increase your speed but there are a TON of exercises to increase rotational speed.
Here are 6 exercises to increase lower body rotational speed:
- Rapid Twist Drops – (Hip Rotations off a Plate) – https://youtu.be/hQlbnbpuif4
- Banded Cuts – https://youtu.be/FDxMf-B6rTc
- Depth Drill – In In Out Out – https://youtu.be/K5x-rYRUAvk
- Depth Drill – 2 Foot Rotations – https://youtu.be/khVLaSL7x6s
- Depth Drill – 1 Foot Rotations – https://youtu.be/wGq2fGCSZbY
- Depth Drill – Icky Shuffle – https://youtu.be/S6BSS3qBUAg
Here are 5 exercises to increase upper body rotational speed:
- Horizontal Chops – https://youtu.be/rtL76JvWZ9s
2. Skiing – https://youtu.be/UJ9FV6C_q7o
3. Step to Horizontal Chop – https://youtu.be/RR5O8pdWzEY
4. Empty Shaft Swings – https://youtu.be/gO5g4w7Ijrc
5. Single Leg Explosive Chest Press – https://youtu.be/aMnLHnOSYTs
There are many other ways to develop speed other than the ones mentioned above. One of my favourites is something you probably wouldn’t think of for golfers….
Sprinting is a great way to develop speed! Think about short distance sprinters like Usain Bolt and look at the way he looks. Very muscular and powerful and can generate tremendous amounts of speed and power. Sprinting can be added to workout sessions very easily. Try to start with two or three sprints and work your way up to ten. Take breaks between each sprint and properly recover. You need approximately three to five minutes to fully recover from an all out sprint.
Daily Movement Routines
Do you have movements that you perform daily to keep yourself active, primed and performing at the highest level?
Elite players do because they know the little things matter. This might be their warm up routine that they do every time before they play. It could be something you do when you wake up in the morning. Or maybe it’s similar to what I do; 15 – 30 minutes of dynamic and static movements and some sort of tissue work, like foam rolling, every night.
This has a very low impact on your body, meaning you don’t need a lot of time to recover, but a HUGE impact on your performance. I’m not just talking about static stretching either. This could incorporate mobility, balance, coordination, body weight drills and static stretching. A combination of all of these things strategically done based on training is the way to stay injury free. Especially during the season, more moving equals feeling better when it’s time to play golf. Having a daily mobility routine is a great way to do that! Every one of my programs comes with recovery / mobility days.
I always tell my athletes that these workouts are extras, but they are also very important and shouldn’t be overlooked. The ones who take it seriously and do them are the ones that get the most out of their training. They also improve the fastest and have less injuries or slip ups throughout the year.
These types of workouts require minimal equipment, if any, and I usually suggest they be completed at the beginning of the day to get you going or at the end of the day. Even while you watch tv! Below is my free e-book called: Mobility for Golf. Check it out!
Mobility for Golf
Here’s a couple examples of recovery workouts that I have my clients complete:
This is an area that really can get to a golfer if they don’t know how to manage it in a positive way. Golf is a very stressful sport, and it can get to you at times. Anyone who plays this great game knows what I mean. Being able to manage your stress on and off the course is crucial to success.
Things like breathing, visualization and meditation are great ways to relieve stress. Things like drugs and alcohol are not good ways to alleviate stress. If you are an elite player then then I hope you don’t have to worry about that, but I wanted to say it in case there are athletes out there that do struggle with negative stress relievers.
Understanding that there is good and bad stress is the first step.
Eustress is positive stress that we look for to use as motivation or energy.
Distress is negative stress that can alter the way we think and play if we let it.
Finding ways to combat stress is something every human being struggles with but the ones who do figure it out are a step ahead of the rest of us. EXERCISE, Deep breathing techniques. meditation, visualization and journaling are all positive techniques to combat stress. Unfortunately, most people use negative means to combat stress like watching television and scrolling social media. Elite athletes do a better job at utilizing the positive techniques and just being active is one of the best ways to alleviate stress.
The stress I’ve been referring to so far is emotional stress but we do go through a lot of physical stress too. Every time you train or play golf you put your body through stress and if you don’t recover appropriately it adds up. It adds up quickly!
Chronic stress to certain areas without proper recovery is a recipe for disaster. A very common injury that is a result of chronic stress is golfers or tennis elbow. This injury results in inflammation at the joint and can make using your upper body very uncomfortable. Constant smashing of the golf club into the ground over and over again, without proper recovery and strength training, can really hurt. Always include your recovery workouts and consistent warm ups and cool downs, to combat the physical stresses of our wonderful sport!
Basics and Consistency
One big misconception of elite athletes is that they do crazy or extreme things when they train. This is so far from the truth. They do the fundamentals very well and they do them often. Some athletes can continually progress but but most people just need to be consistent with the fundamentals of exercise and health and they will become elite in their own way. Every elite athlete started with the basics and they still practice them all the time.
Elite players are in the top percentages of golfers and they have a different outlook on the game and different expectations on the results. If you want to take your game to the next level and be an elite player then you need to think about more than just golf. You need to consider your training, coaching, equipment, financial costs, nutrition, sleep, relationships and more.
There are a lot of great golfers in the world who just lack some of these basic principles. If you are one of them then I challenge you to try some of the things discussed in this post. I know it will help take you to the next level.
It’s better to be consistently good than occasionally great – Jeff Cunningham
You probably don’t know who that is and that’s fine. He’s a running coach based out of Texas and he trains some incredible runners. I heard him say this one day on a podcast and it really resonated with me. So many people care about that medal or shiny thing at the end of the day but if you can think like you need to be consistently good every day then all those other things will just happen. The best athletes in the world understand this and they thrive on it. Trust and enjoy the process. Whether that’s learning a new swing or losing 20 pounds, start to find the positives in the process and you will become great consistently, not just on occasion.
This is really the secret sauce. I’ve been doing this for years and trust me I’ve been looking for the magic fix and this is it. If you want to go From Average To Elite then this has to be more your number one priority. Consistency. Breathe consistency. Sleep Consistency. You get the point! Some days you will feel like doing everything and more, other days you won’t. The key is to still show up and do something on the days you don’t want to do anything.
In conclusion, be consistent and you will continue to improve and become an elite level athlete. Speed and Power, Daily Movements and the Basics are what will keep you playing this game injury free and for a long time. Hire a coach to assure you are doing the right things in the gym and watch your goals become reality. I hope you have the best year 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:
Thanks for reading! Until the next one……
CSC Performance Coaching
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