The right tools for the job
If you look at the highest level of any profession, you will find the best equipment in that industry. Exceptional professionals in any line of work are equipped with both the skill, and the equipment, to handle whatever problems may arise. If you have ever gotten a flat tire and tried to put the spare on yourself, only to realize the lug nut has rusted stuck and you have to call roadside assistance, then you know how important having the right tools for the job is. Those trucks are equipped with a different tire iron than the ones that come inside the spare tire kit in the trunk of your car. It will not matter how much you can bench press or how good your technique is if the small tire iron does not provide enough leverage to generate the force needed to break the rust seal. When roadside service shows up, they may be grumpy and out of shape, but he pulls out the larger, “t” shaped tire iron and removes the rusty lug nut like magic. (Humbling isn’t it?) Golf is no different, your bag is your toolbox and if you do not have the proper tools for the job, you may have to work twice as hard as someone who has the “t” shaped tire iron.Read More
A Breakdown of the World Health
Organization’s Recent Dietary
Suggestions for Adults
I wanted to elaborate on my thought process behind the World Health Organization’s Instagram post a few weeks ago. This is strictly my opinion on all of this based on recent research behind it. My goal is always to educate myself and in turn educate our athletes. I hope you enjoy it and learn something you can apply to your life!
Many of you may have seen my Instagram story a few weeks ago when I reposted the dietary guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO). In hindsight I’m thinking you all may have had some questions like “why don’t you agree with this Kyle?”, and “what the heck is a PUFA?!” (Don’t worry we will get to that) It’s my job to bring clarity to these types of things, so let’s break it down!
First let’s look at the foods the post is suggesting we consume more of during these times.
The list with the check mark included fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, soy, canola, sunflower and corn oils.
For starters (in my opinion) the only items you should eat off this list are fish (ideally types that have low levels of PUFA’s), avocado, and nuts (again, only those that contain low PUFAs!). The one thing all of these foods have in common is that they are high in or have some levels of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA).
What are Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) and why are they not the ideal thing to eat?
Simply put, there are 2 types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are the fats that are solid at room temperature (red meat, whole milk, butter, etc.) and have for a long time been regarded as “not the best for you.” The truth is, they have more benefits than you may realize! We will come back to this later. Within the category of unsaturated fats you will find two types; monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). PUFA’s, although thought to be beneficial to the body in some respects, they are highly unstable and cannot sustain under high temperatures. What does that mean for when we eat them? Our body can’t really use them to its advantage due to its high temperature, and therefore the body’s inability to metabolize PUFAs leads to lipid toxicity process called peroxidization. This then leads to cell suffocation and cell death. This toxic matter builds up in the tissue and causes “age spots” or “liver spots” called lipofuscin aka yellow fat disease. Over time, consuming high levels of PUFAs has shown to cause damage to the pancreas as well. The main role of the pancreas is to convert the food we eat into energy for the cells that make up the body. If the pancreas isn’t doing its job this will block the absorption of sugar from getting into the cell, which could cause a resistance to insulin, resulting in diabetes and many other diseases. Society is quick to point a finger at sugar as a main cause for diabetes when it could very well be high levels of PUFAs causing the insulin resistance.
In addition to the negative metabolic effects PUFAs can have on the body, imagine what happens to movement as well. If these fatty acids are sticking to and suffocating the cell, getting into the tissues, they are dehydrating your fascia. This will result in even more fascial adhesions, disrupting your movement quality. All of this combined is a recipe for a weakened immune system, not a stronger one.
So what should you eat?
I hope that cleared up a little confusion with the Instagram post from the WHO. The question now is, what should you be focusing on to strengthen your immune system and give yourself the best chance at staying healthy? The first thing is to substitute your vegetable oils with grass fed butters, ghee, or coconut oil, which are saturated fats. These fats are stable, can sustain the high temperature of the human body and can be used efficiently by the body without turning into a toxin.
In general you should focus on eating a well-balanced diet. Whole foods like eggs, meats (grass fed/organic if possible), fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, quinoa, oats, sprouted breads and other grains should be a goal for everyone! It goes without saying that minimizing snacks like chips, cereal, and really anything in a box or a bag will eliminate much of the “bad stuff” from your diet while minimizing the PUFA intake. Your fat intake should be coming from the butter, ghee, avocado, eggs, certain fish, olive oil (a monounstaturated fat, more stable than poly) and some nuts (I’d suggest only almonds due to their lowish level of PUFAs).
My only other suggestion of what you should consume at each meal is to eat a carbohydrate, fat and protein. When combined will slow the digestion of all three which will in turn won’t cause spikes in energy followed by crashes in energy. This will ensure your body won’t be in a stressed state which will happen if you eat one of these by itself. Less stress equals a stronger immune system, and after all that is what we are all after during this time.
In this most recent post I really believe the one thing the WHO got right is to avoid Trans Fats. Simply put, those are bad for you and should not be eaten under any circumstance.
I hope this prompts you to do your own research instead of blindly following some suggestions you saw on Instagram or the internet.Read More
When there aren’t enough hours in
If “there aren’t enough hours in the day” seems to be a common phrase for you, then you most likely struggle with time management and prioritization. A common misconception is that we are inherently supposed to have these skills, but did you come out of the womb knowing how to swing a golf club? Didn’t think so. Just like the skills of golf, prioritization is a skill that needs to be learned and developed. Ethan Allen Prep uses a matrix like the one below to help our students visually categorize their tasks. Learning to assess importance and urgency is crucial to productivity and could be the difference between meeting deadlines and/or checking ten items off of your ‘to do’ list versus one. Although you may think that it is counterproductive to take the time to do this, it will save you time in the long run and ensure you are completing your most important and urgent tasks first.
“Want to be a Champion? Do
Whatever It Takes!”
Let us start with something basic here. You may not have the fastest swing. You may not be the best putter. You may not have the same talent as your opponent. Perhaps you do not have the high caliber training facilities and great coaching opportunities that your competitors have. Your technique may be unorthodox. You may be physically limited by your size. All this notwithstanding, you can still become a champion and out-compete your opponents.
How? You ask, disbelieving.
Simple! Maybe not so simple, you must be willing to do whatever it takes! You must be willing to outwork your competition. You must be willing to do all the little things most people do not want to do. You must do the sweaty, uncomfortable things that many athletes avoid. When practice is over, you must keep going in one way or another. You must keep looking for other ways to get smarter, stronger, faster, and better conditioned. The secret to success is tremendously boring. It’s all about deliberate, focused hard work! It’s all about the investment that you’re willing to make. You must have more conviction than everyone else. While the secret to success is available to all, precious few are willing to take advantage of it today or ever. Why? Because far too many athletes view getting to their goal as just too much work!! Simple is HARD!!!
In fact, while you are reading these words, 95% of the athletes out there are looking for ways to cut corners. They are complaining silently or out loud about having to push themselves and practice so hard, to follow their plan. They’re watching the clock and counting the seconds until practice is over and they can head for the showers (or not) and relax. They are resenting their hard-working teammates for taking things too seriously and going too hard. These athletes are kidding themselves into believing that they have done enough today. They’re fooling themselves into believing that they’re really prepared. They are lying to themselves!
I was recently watching a video of trout fish trying to migrate up a stream to get to the headwaters to spawn. It almost seems like an impossible task. The fish must face steep inclines, waterfalls and raging currents going against them, virtually impassable barriers. Each time they try to scale these obstacles they are thrown back. Yet they continue to try, repeatedly. I asked myself whether the fish are doing their best to make it upstream. The answer, “absolutely!” However, the more I thought about it, those fish aren’t doing their best! They are, in fact, doing whatever it takes! This is what being your best is all about: Doing whatever it takes!
Chances are good that you can look around and see athletes who have a lousy work ethic regularly outperform you; they may even hold a starting position while you must sit the bench. You may bitterly complain to yourself or to whoever will listen that it is just not fair when you work so hard and they do little to nothing! They are not true competitors and sooner or later their bad habits will catch up to them. No one can ever achieve worthwhile success in anything by putting out a half-hearted effort. It just does not happen! Instead, you must ignore them. Your job is to take responsibility for your training and to focus only on you. What is important here are Your habits, not theirs!
Success is about regularly stepping outside your comfort zone. It is about pushing your own limits. It is about GETTING COMFORTABLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. If you have read this newsletter before you have come across those words several times. They are worth repeating here because they are your formula for success. They are your ticket to your goals. The more you put yourself in a position where you challenge your own comfort, the more you refuse to be satisfied with Good, the faster you will progress and develop as an athlete and a person. What does this really mean?
In conclusion, take an honest look at yourself, specifically your weaknesses. Most athletes do not like doing this. They do not like working on their weaknesses because they are not good at them and it’s not fun to be incompetent. They do not like how it makes them feel to be inadequate at something. Guess what? You will always be limited by your weaknesses, so enthusiastically grab the opportunity that your weaknesses present you. Working on and strengthening your shortcoming is the fastest and smartest way to bring your training up to the next level. Do not take the easy way out. Get in the habit of going that 1 more degree, 212!! Do not be satisfied with doing just enough to get by, you are just simply lying to yourself. Get comfortable being uncomfortable! Think about what your competition is doing and then do more. Do not just do your best. Do whatever it takes!
Enjoy Your JourneyRead More
We all have certain tendencies when it comes to ball fight, and in many cases spend a lot of time working to fix those tendencies. The best players in the world have the ability to shape the golf ball different ways adjusting trajectory and side spin to execute through the nine windows, however, even the best in the world have honed a ‘go-to shot’ that they can rely under pressure on any hole.
Common theory is that the ideal way to play a tee shot is to have the golf ball shape with the hole as it gives the greatest margin for error. However, we are seeing many great players shape the ball against the hole as they go with the shot in which they have the most confidence. It seems you have to be twice as good to curve a ball against the dogleg as it causes the ball to run across the fairway rather than down it, but if you are 3 or 4 times as good at that shot than the inverse it makes sense.
Regardless of how you choose to play the game a go-to shot will benefit you especially under pressure. If you spend time identifying and practicing your go-to shot you will be better prepared to select and execute it when it counts. Find ways to hone this shot under pressure situations on the range with challenges (4 in row into a 20 yard wide target) and competitions against friends. Then take it to the course and see if you can call on it when you need it.
PRACTICE SMART!Read More
Grit is for the Gritty?
It is that time of year… golf competitions start happening on a regular basis in the Northeast! The Master’s excitement has gotten you ready to go, the PGA Championship coming up in a couple of weeks, high school and collegiate golfers are nearing post season championships, your competitive juices are nearly at a boiling point! What an exciting time! Oh wait, I had this nightmare that these events got postponed or cancelled? WHAT, they did!! But wait, competitive golf is coming alive soon! Hang in there, you will get your chances!
So, when golf does return to your schedule, what will you do when disaster strikes, when you play and the game fails you, somehow at “the” most important time your game disappears! Well that is the challenge of competitive golf, you will not always have your “A” game or “B” game for that matter, so what do you do? You grind it out! You rely on your internal fortitude (grit) to keep you going, never giving up a shot or throwing in the towel!
How do you know you have “grit”? Here is one way you can find this out. How long can you sit alone, with no distractions, staring at a blank wall! If you want to test yourself for grit this is a simple way that can help you understand your endurance for patience, helping you fight against frustration and set back’s. Boredom is one of the strongest tests for internal fortitude. How committed are you? In a study done in 2012 on endurance runners for the book Endure, researchers had subjects stare at a computer screen for hours to test their mental capacity for endurance. To help runners break through the barriers of long distance running they found that it wasn’t the muscles that failed runners it was the mind controlling the muscles. What this study proved is how we as humans set limits to what we can endure. We set our “pain” tolerance before an activity. Frustration for golfers is that marker for pain. When golfers are pushing their limits to improve, frustration becomes the barrier. It becomes hard to stick with something when it becomes difficult, which is why each practice session you have you should push that limit. The more you practice or play into frustration the greater the tolerance, the more “grit” you build, and the improvements begin to compound! However, staying in the moment is hard, it is hard sticking to the process when things feel terrible or when you are having a tough practice session. It is easy to quit, to give up on practicing something hard, to make a change in behaviors. It takes an enormous effort to stick with something long enough. It will take all you have to stay with your process. We like to say at The Golf Performance Center, “simple is hard”. Doing the mundane is not sexy, it takes discipline, it sucks to stick with something that frustrates you.
As you move into your golf season, remember it will take all you have to stick with your process to improve, it will not happen because you have taken some sessions with your golf professional. It will take grit to deliver your best game. Work on developing your internal fortitude by challenging yourself each time you practice. If you practice and it is easy, you probably won’t improve! Stick to your process and challenge yourself to master the simple things and you will find that your game and life will grow to new heights! Be gritty!! Also, one other thing, check out our NEW 5 Elements of Success Player Development Series every Tuesday @12pm eastern and learn more about how to be a “grittier” player and develop into the player you want to be!
Enjoy Your Journey!Read More
You Don’t Know What You Don’t
Know, But You Can Learn!
One of the best parts about watching reality shows like the X Factor, The Bachelor, and Survivor is listening to people brag about how they are going to win, only to be buzzed off, voted out, or not given a rose in the first round. While the person on the show is crushed and shocked, we as viewers are able to make that prediction fairly quickly. We can determine quickly if someone is not as good of a singer as they think they are, or are not as skilled as the other contestants. So why are the people on the show always so surprised to receive negative feedback? Simple. They don’t know what they don’t know.
Metacognition is a fancy term for being aware of your own thoughts, feelings, or learning. People with strong metacognitive skills are able to accurately judge themselves in terms of their skills and knowledge. While on the other hand, individuals with poor metacognition, like those portrayed on TV shows, are often overconfident and overestimate their own abilities. But reality stars are not the only ones who do this, in fact, most people do! Take a trip back in time to high school. You put all of your effort into studying for finals and feel like you are a master of the material. They should pay you for how much you know. You walk out of the test like Tom Brady after a Superbowl and rush home to tell your parents that you aced it. Two weeks later you get your grade back and… you failed. But how?! You studied! You knew everything! Well… apparently not, but how could you be so wrong? Simple. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Learning to learn
In school, students aren’t taught to evaluate themselves, which leads to poor metacognition throughout life. Like the case of the reality stars’ inability to know his or her skill level, students lack the ability to accurately judge their own knowledge. They do not notice when they don’t understand something, and are therefore unable to take action in fixing it. This affects how much time students will dedicate to studying, contributes to creating a false sense of understanding material and like the cases illustrated above, ultimately may lead to incorrect judgement of performance. Metacognition not only means accurately evaluating yourself, but also knowing how you learn best.
According to research studies, only 10% of people learn auditorily. Meaning, they can listen to someone speak about a concept, absorb it, and then apply it to novel situations. That means that the other 90% of people learn in other ways (i.e. Spatially, Linguistically, Kinesthetically, Mathematically, Interpersonally, Intrapersonally). Interesting then, that 80% of teaching is done through lecturing. How can we expect students to find success if those in charge of their education are not providing them opportunities to learn how they learn and evaluate themselves in the process?
Ethan Allen Preparatory, is flipping the table on old and ineffective teaching techniques that lead to poor metacognitive skills. We value all learners and use a variety of delivery models beyond lecturing to grow student-athlete’s unique styles for absorbing information. We encourage students to take control of their learning from the start, and to test different methods that do and do not work for them. These range from multimedia videos to one-on-one instruction and hands on activities. Most importantly, we help students become aware of their own thinking and understanding by providing many opportunities to monitor and evaluate themselves. By giving many low-stakes assessments, students and teachers can judge what they do and don’t know, and have the ability to take action before it is too late.
We have the power to know what we don’t know. We can use thinking about our thoughts to learn how we learn, and avoid becoming the next failed reality tv star, or the next student who prematurely announces an “A”. Now that we know what we don’t know, learning can be more effective for everyone.Read More
ADDING EMOTIONS TO YOUR
Positive affirmations. We often use them as a way to get us closer to what we want or to potentially overcome self-sabotaging thought patterns. Most of us have heard of them and have an idea about how they might be helpful, but, really, how can just repeating words every day that state life ‘as we want it to be’ really work for us? That’s a great question! Let’s take on an open mind and try a few. Right here and now state the below affirmations aloud.
I have an abundance of energy
I am surrounded by uplifting people
I live with passion and purpose
I am at peace and one with everything
All good things are coming to me today
I believe in my skills and abilities
I am worthy of love and joy
I am free to be myself
I am grateful to be alive
So, how do you feel?
It’s likely after reading these statements aloud you may be feeling a bit more ‘lifted’ in your energy because you’ve raised your vibration by raising your emotions. Although some of you may not have felt anything at all. Some of you may have even fell a bit lower in your vibrational/emotional state due to feeling doubt around such aspirational phrases. Interesting how words can have so much power, isn’t it?!
The important thing is to understand where the power is actually coming from because it’s not just the words alone. Emotion stands for Energy in Motion – E-Motion. Energy is vibration, it’s a frequency that can be felt and even scientifically measured. Your emotions ARE energy.
When we talk about using affirmations it’s important that we realize what we are using them for so that we may get the benefit we’re desiring. The purpose of affirmations is to FEEL the statements and to FEEL the meaning in the words. We might apply this tool for a number of different reasons. Perhaps it’s improved performance in our golf game or for a greater quality of life. For me, I enjoy using affirmations because they support me in working towards mastery of my internal environment and more importantly, they help me maintain a higher vibration that allows me to positively affect other people for the better. Everyone’s reasoning is unique and there are no right or wrongs in that. Although what remains is that for affirmations to work, we must feel them right here and now as truth.
Just remember that it’s all about the feeling, the emotion is what makes the difference. So, as you sit with your chosen affirmations and repeat them aloud or silently to yourself, be sure to take some time with each one and really get into the emotion of what it would be like if it were real right now. In the beginning you may struggle and the emotions may not seem to come right away, that’s when we need to be sure to stay disciplined. Keep at it, keep practicing, tuning into your body (your heart and gut centers specifically), and feeling the emotion for each one of your affirmations. One day you will begin to feel your affirmations more fully and viscerally. Then you may discover how you can strengthen your ability to make the emotions behind the words grow within you and begin realizing the benefit and true power of affirmations.
Remember, simply repeating your affirmations won’t give you power, but feeling your affirmations will!Read More
Photo courtesy of David Cannon/Getty Images North America
Managing your way around a golf course entails a combination of correct thinking/calculating, execution, self-awareness, and emotional control. All these areas will affect each other as you make your way around the golf course. For example, a poor decision can lead to a bad golf swing as you will, at least subconsciously, sense that there is little margin for error with your shot selection and make a tentative swing as a result. No doubt you need the skills to execute but shot selection plays a bigger role than you might think. Of course this is all part of self-awareness and ultimately emotional control.
Let’s look at an example of a shot selection and how it can spiral into poor play. You step onto the tee box of a short par 4 and think if you hit driver over the bunkers you can have just a flip wedge in. If you lay back short of the bunkers (the much easier tee shot) you will have a full wedge shot and a harder time making birdie. As Scott Fawcett points out in his Decade Golf system the best players in the world only improve by around a tenth of a stroke on average going from a full wedge to a half or ¾ wedge. If we had the stats for juniors or the average golfer that difference would most likely be even less. So the decision is not an easy one and may ultimately be determined by what other trouble is on the hole. Nevertheless, you decide to hit driver and make a marginal swing sending the ball over the right bunker and into a water hazard. Now, you are frustrated with yourself but may not be sure what you did wrong. The default is to blame the bad swing and work to figure it out bringing you only farther away from focusing on shot selection. This then spirals into unproductive emotional states which can be very hard to reverse only compounding the problem by making more poor decisions.
Take the time to think through risk/reward and whether you are playing into your strengths and you just may find yourself in more command of your game.Read More