Phil Mickelson Talks Career Longevity, Credits Sean Cochran, Dave Phillips, Dr. Rose and TPI
Thu Feb 2, 2017 by TPI
Phil Mickelson might not come across as a spokesperson for golf fitness, but he's a testament to many of its virtues. The video above was from Wednesday's press conference at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. In it, he was asked about the keys to his longevity, to which he responded:
"I give a lot of credit to [TPI Certified trainer] Sean Cochran and him staying up on new techniques working with Dave Phillips, Greg Rose and the guys at TPI and having our workouts being designed to elongate my career..."
Phil might not be in line for the next cover of Men's Health like Rory, but, bottom line, you don't play elite golf for 25 years without taking care of your body.
Phil had hernia surgery in the off-season which prevented him from exercising on a regular basis. On a podcast with Golf.com, senior writer Alan Shipnuck noted that that was one of his only physical setbacks of his career. Phil credited his physical readiness, in part, to his fitness.
"I think there are two things that I attribute to my health and longevity. One is working with Sean Cochran since 2003. He's not trying to get me to bulk up, he's trying to get my body function sequentially in the right way. That's a big part of it. The second is that my golf swing doesn't put a lot of pressure on my body... I try to let the length of my arc create speed as opposed to trying to be short and violent."
In the podcast with Shipnuck, Mickelson goes on the discuss his diet, specifically his dedication to a coffee concoction provided to him by Dave Phillips (story starts at 8:20).
Like 99% of elite golfers, Phil works hard on improving his body, but he also works smart. The media can give the impression that pro golfers are recklessly throwing around heavy weights in hopes of looking better during beach season. That couldn't be further from the truth. The reality is that they are working with qualified trainers (many of whom are TPI Certified) who are carefully presribing appropriate workouts. Phil is no different. Here's his trainer Sean Cochran desribing the philosophy behind their workouts to Golf Channel. Sean could literally be teaching a TPI Certification seminar here:
And here's Cochran describing their core training to Golf Digest:
"Performance coaches don't train muscle groups, we train movements. Phil (and every golfer) is a rotary athlete, and needs to train the core in three ways. One, stabilization with extremity movements. Two, anti-rotational capacities, where golfers need to not rotate (similar to coiling during your backswing). Three, the need to rotate at high speeds (downswing rotation)."
Aside from a nice nod to TPI, we appreciate Phil's words about longevity during his presser because they emphasize what's most important about golf fitness: moving and playing better.
Occassionally, the uninitiated can reduce "golf fitness" to a golf-specific pursuit of a better body. That's not what it is. Losing weight or improving body image is not a bad thing AT ALL. In fact, it might be an important goal of yours or your client. However, it's possible to achieve body image goals without becoming a more functional, durable golfer. Ultimately, golf fitness is a performance project, not a vanity project.