I recently took a break from writing and most work. We had a baby, and plan on moving across the country (again). I’ve had plenty of time to stew over some topics, and will be back better then ever. I semi-retired, cut my client roster down significantly, and will be giving up my business at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. This allows more time to begin the second phase of my career: sharing what I learned over the last 17ish years in the field. So, here goes!
I’ll be referring to golf, but really the idea of “sport specific” training for any sport is a bunch of BS. Here’s my crappy handwriting pyramid:
General: Basic strength exercises, mobility work, balance/stability, general conditioning, power work like med balls and jumping. Most athletes aren’t nearly as strong and mobile as they need to be to even get to proper speed work. On average it takes about 10 years to fully developed as an athlete. While that may be sobering, most people can spend their entire training lives in the general section and improve golf AND health dramatically.
Sport Qualities: While you may be relatively symmetrical, strong, and capable, golf may require more. This is where specific attention is paid to problem areas. I always like to have a “buffer zone” for things, for example you may need X amount of upper back mobility for golf, but I want you to have X+1 to have wiggle room to prevent injury or inaccuracy. Perhaps you spent a ton of time in the weight room getting strong and mobile, but now it’s golf season. Your endurance may be lacking, so we can address that as a specific quality you will need.
Sport: This is golf. Golf is golf specific.
Nearly everyone neglects to spend enough time in the general section. It sounds boring, and sometimes it can be. Most of the junk you see on the internet looks exotic and fun, but it’s junk. My athlete who can single leg squat like a boss and do some heavy pull-ups will crush an athlete doing a jump squat with a BOSU ball overhead and a crappy push-up in between. I’m half joking, but my point is that some athletes win with superior talent IN SPITE of their stupid training. Those with talent and who train properly will almost always win out. If the golf game gets out of hand, I know my athlete will win the wrestling match.
If it looks like golf, run out of the weight room. Trying to do a golf movement with bands or cables may be specific enough to your swing to screw it up. Training SPECIFIC QUALITIES does not mean SWING SPECIFIC. Golf requires anti-rotation and rotation movements. Digging deeper, those movements require proper mobility, stability, strength, power, speed, and the interplay between all of those variables. I’ll also include precision, endurance, and mental toughness. I joke that golf is a lazy man’s biathlon. A biathlon is that sport where you cross country ski then have to drop down and shoot a target. Walking and swinging a club occasionally is the college drinking game version of a real sport. Of course I kid, but if you can’t make fun of yourself what’s the point? My point here is that we need to train all the qualities that golf has in a non-specific way, and let those qualities translate to the range with your swing coach or practice routine. Let golf be the golf specific work, and let the weight room allow you to do those things for a long career.