Justin James - World Long Drive ChampionJustin James - World Long Drive Champion

Staying Athletic

January 14, 2017 | by Justin James

A common pitfall I see golfers fall into is stopping participation in other sports. This is common among juniors who choose to concentrate solely on golf, but also with golfers in their 20's, 40's and 60's. No matter what age you are, you need to stay "athletic."

What does that mean? When we grow up, we are running, jumping, hopping, cutting, dodging, ducking, diving, etc. When we "mature," we loose some of that, and over time become susceptible to injury. I am not suggesting that a 60 year old man jump around the playground with little kids, but I do have my clients stay active with athletic activities well into their later years. Weightlifting is my number one priority in training any client - I believe strength is the X-factor in any activity. However, strength alone is not enough, and thus I implement athletic activities such as throwing, punching, kicking, climbing, running, etc.

These activities challenge our bodies in unique ways that weight and power training do not. They are essential for golfers who's only activity is golf. (Especially for kids and teenagers who are still developing.) Perhaps you can relate from playing an "alumni" game or a pickup football game after several years of inactivity. I certainly can. What was once simple is now next to impossible. When I played baseball, I was running, throwing, jumping, etc. every day. I now have to intentionally seek out opportunities to perform tasks I used to do as a part of every practice.

Golfers still need to be able to move and be athletic, if for nothing else to prevent injury. When we stress our bodies in responsible ways, our body will respond positively. When we do not "water the garden," the muscles, joints, and ligaments become brittle and die.

One of the major causes of death among seniors is falling. Years of inactivity (in addition to aging, of course) cause the bones to become brittle and break. When we stress our skeletal system, hormones actually cause our bones to thicken in response to the perceived threat of stress. Quick, powerful, athletic movements in addition to weight training are the perfect recipe for this type of long term health and sustainability.

My "athletic" activity of choice? Martial arts. It gives me the perfect combination of power, speed, movement, balance and stabilization that I do not always achieve with my power training.

The Point? You need an activity in addition to golf and weight and power training that tests your athleticism. It is not only a great change of pace from your normal routine, but also provides a needed concentration on balance and coordination that you otherwise would not receive.