IMPROVE MY GAME
8 Tips to Make the Best of Your Offseason
Sun Dec 8, 2019 by Africa Alacron
Off season is a period of time that you will be forced to take some time off golf due to weather or course availability. But if you play against players that are not forced to take time off because they live in a warmer area, you may be in disadvantage if you choose to slack during the cold months.
Here are a couple of tips to help you come back stronger than ever.
1. Have a plan and how to stick to it
You’ve heard this before. Having a written plan helps with consistency. If improving your health and game is a priority for you, let’s start right now.
Before an effective off-season plan can be developed by a professional, a clear and compelling vision is needed. What do you want to accomplish next season? Have specific goals in your plan.
Example: I want to add 15y to my driver, I want to have a club head speed of 120mph, I want to finish top 3 in my Country club’s ranking.
The first step is performing a thorough TPI screening plus data analysis with technology is important to set the baseline of our work. We need to know where you are right now to be able to compare your evolution in a couple of months. Know your numbers, your club head speed, your distances, your ground reaction force, etc. This tracking is highly motivating to some people and having check points along the way can help you stick to your program.
The strategic plan is the map to the vision and then only effective if it is implemented.
The most effective off season plans are those that are simple, completed with team approach (coach, trainer and physical therapist) and accountability on your part.
2. Use this time to recover from that old injury
Nobody likes an old nagging injuries, especially the ones you ignored for so long until it became a chronic problem. This takes our mind off the game, it can shake our self confidence and it's often the a primary cause of a new injury. I’ll give you an example, if you have chronic low back pain, the rotational movement plus the hip flexion in the golf posture can be very demanding, even if you are on pain killers. Your brain will try to avoid pain at all costs, even if it means modifying your technique to make you sway your hips or lose posture at the top of the backswing to give you the range of motion needed. You may not notice the strain it causes in your hips until it's too late and pain starts to build up. When you practice long enough with a painful swing, your brain will save and store a dysfunctional sloppy movement that later on can be difficult to correct.
Use the time off to have a physical therapist asses your function and work on a recovery plan. This time off should be used wisely to make you feel and move better so that next season you can come back stronger than ever.
3. Add speed work to come back longer than ever
What kind of speed training, you ask? You need to first understand WHERE are you losing speed and WHY.
Is it ground forces and lower body interaction? Is it lack of grip strength? Is it a kinematic sequence problem?
Getting tested is the best way to plan smarter to get the best results. I’ve found that with the older population the best course of action is a mix of mobility/strength work and pressure shift drills. Junior golfers will benefit tremendously of sprinting, plyometrics and ballistic exercises that emphasize ground force production like kettlebell swings.
Women will thrive with acceleration drills and upper body strength (grip, shoulder and scapular stability).
Choosing a plan because it looks good on paper may do more harm than good, so again, look for professional help.
4. Use other sports to benefit your golf game
Many sports can help you improve your game! Sports like tennis and baseball have a similar kinematic sequence. They improve your hand eye coordination and the running will make you faster.
Now thinking about other benefits like giving a break to the rotational pattern can help you heal overuse injuries and avoid compensation. Exploring other movement patterns and different equipment like racquets and bats help coordination and motor control.
Team sports can also help you improve spatial awareness and reaction time. And of course, all the fun and social interaction will help with stress levels and hormonal regulation.
5. Mobility always pays off
How about focusing on your mobility? I bet you are slacking here… Studies have found that if you sit for longer than 8 hours a day, the impact on your discs, fascia and muscles can be so intense that you may develop imbalances even if you workout for an hour daily. The result on your golf game is lack of rotation and diminished range of motion. A shorter swing will be difficult to accelerate and can affect your distance.
Working on maintaining good mobility not only will help you swing better, but it will help you feel younger. Also it’s not a difficult training to stick to because it’s not straining or demanding and you definitely feel better afterwards so there is an instant gratification. Other benefits: No equipment needed, short daily sessions have the best impact, you can do the exercises anywhere.
6. Add meditation and breathing to improve your mental game
Your mental health have a direct impact on your physical health. Research have found that meditation and breathing exercises can increase dopamine in the brain. The effect is improved concentration, memory and activation of all learning systems. It can also raise endorphins the natural pain medicine and happiness booster and regulate cortisol levels.
Breathing exercises will be very effective in those stressful situations in the golf course. Being able to focus on your breathing takes away your attention from intrusive thoughts of self doubt and judgement that can negatively impact your performance.
Here is a link of my favorite breathing exercise:
7. Swing both ways - bilateral movements to improve your coordination
Moving with great function bilaterally can help your swing in two ways.
- Better coordination, (kinematic sequence and weight shift understanding)
- Avoid compensations and muscle imbalances
Adding bilateral swing drills to your training can feel weird in the beginning but in time will be natural and can help you swing with better technique and speed.
8. Think consistency not perfection
Consistency is repeating the habits, actions and beliefs in the direction of your goals to build momentum. Once you realize the power of consistency, there is a danger that comes with the knowledge. And that danger is falling into an all-or-nothing mindset. The perfectionist.
If you miss a couple of sessions it means that it was in vain and that this won’t work so let’s quit already. All of a sudden, you go from hitting the goal you set twice a week to zero times per week. Let’s not go there…
This feeling of needed perfection will shake your self confidence because it's a huge mental block to try to achieve perfect score in your plan. Motivation is different everyday. Smalls steps towards your goal is still progress!Be reasonable and allow yourself to take a break and come back.
One extra tip: Having a support group, a coach or somebody that helps you with accountability will increase your chances of feeling motivated to stay on course. Set goals, write them down, share it with somebody.
Have a great off season!! And remember we are here to help. Let’s connect and plan for the best Off Season training for your needs!