If there is one attribute all athletes would want to have in common, it would be Speed.
That’s right, SPEED!
It does not matter what sport you play, they all require the ability to generate and control speed. If you look at the top of the list of every major sport, the common factor of success is power, speed and control. Golf is no different. The players at the top of the money list, the consistent winners, hit the ball further and control it better than everyone else, at least for most days.
In golf, developing speed early on is critical, and is not done by training with speed sticks, or some other speed cycle or routine. Building speed comes from building the quality of movement paired with strength and power over a sustained period. At The Golf Performance Center, our performance coaches work with our athletes to develop a plan for a golf athlete to increase the quality of movement with integration of strength and power through their physical workouts. For sure some athletes are genetically gifted the ability to move faster than others, however this only occurs when the environment is right. It is developed, not given. What I mean by this is you may have the genes to do incredible things, but if you have to develop them properly. A great way to see this is by watching an athlete from another sport, say, hockey play golf, they have incredible swing speeds without ever training for swing speed.
People may say they are “naturally” gifted. NO! They are athletes who developed their bodies to move well, and the sport of hockey has a built in speed builder; it’s played on razor thin blades and players have to swing a stick to hit a puck around the ice. By doing so, they are learning how to leverage the ground constantly to move, rotate and swing. This repeatedly will make anyone learn how to sequence properly, helping create a smooth swing with great energy, which then creates speed “effortlessly.”
Now, for someone who is beyond the prime years of developing speed, some speed training could work for you, but in most cases this is not sustainable unless you are doing the physical and neurological work on an ongoing basis. For junior golf athletes, in the physical science world there are “windows of opportunity” that are ideal for this based on someone’s development age. Usually, for girls/boys this is around 8-10 years old and again 13-16 years of age. Again, everyone is different, this can be determined by a good physical performance coach who understands the peak height velocity curve (PHV) and development age philosophy. The earlier you can find a great coach that is aware of development, the better. It would be important to first have an assessment of your developing skills, physical, golf, and mental, as each element can be trained to be the best in the world. If I were to ask you, would you rather look like a marathon runner or a sprinter, you would likely answer, sprinter, because the sprinter physique has a musculature about it that is more attractive to most people. A sprinter looks athletic and ready to do any sport. A marathon runner has little musculature, looks skinny and frail. Not that there is a right or wrong in being a sprinter or marathon runner, the two sports require two different types of training, and have two different energy systems.
Golf for years was treated as a marathon, but it actually is a sprint. The energy system required to be a great golfer is more like a sprinter than a marathon runner. Thus, when you are training, you want to keep this in mind. Golf is a ballistic sport, to swing the club at speeds of 95-125 miles an hour in 1.1 seconds, your engine and body system needs to be able to handle that stress. Research done by leading golf science coaches has shown that for every full swing a golfer makes they are using 100% of their body at 80% maximal capacity!! Wow, that is an incredible amount of stress on your system. If it is not ready for this type of work load, it will break down and/or you will find yourself having nagging injuries due to compensations from either the stress of too many “speed” swings, or the lack of good functional movement and strength.
If you are looking to be the best golf athlete in the world or at least the best golf athlete you can be, you need to come see the golf experts at The Golf Performance Center or find a PDI certified coach near you and ask about a Player Development Assessment. Find out what your Player Development Index (PDI) is, the only index in golf you need. Once you know your PDI, you will be able to clearly and concisely work on the right things to get you to be the golf athlete you desire to be!
Enjoy the Journey!