Archive for the ‘Kids Fitness’ Category

Junior Golf: A Different Kind Of Golf Story

 

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Photocredit:jennleforge.com

In this Monday Mulligan we will look at a different kind of golf story. I’ve not written about this before but it seems now is an appropriate time.

On September 11, 2001, I was in the men’s lounge at The Dominion Country Club, near San Antonio, Texas, eating breakfast prior to a 9:00am tee time. It was to be a glorious day enjoying a fine golf course with 2 dear friends, Ron and Jim. As we watched the events taking place on the tv, Jim, a retired Special Agent for the FBI, needed about 1 second to say: “That’s no accident, that’s on purpose. It’s probably a terrorist attack.”

Jim and I first met in the 1970’s and we spent a lot of quality time together. His exceptional talents and skills needed no additional support, so terrorism it was. And of course, he was correct.

We decided to keep our tee time and try to play. After 9 holes we decided that our hearts and minds were somewhere other than the golf course and we walked off the 9th green and headed our separate ways. For the 3 of us at least, it wasn’t a day for golf.

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Photocredit:i.pinimg.com

Parents, the take home point today is that while there are few things better than playing golf, there are times when it is best to do something else. Life is full of highs and lows and some of the lows are so tough, so different, so once-in-a-lifetime, that it is just not possible to focus on anything, particularly our beloved sport.

 

Learning to differentiate between not feeling 100%, not being in the mood or having a runny nose and something truly devastating can be tougher than you’d expect. Playing hurt is part of sports and some athletes are better at it than others and certainly you never want to risk aggravating the injury or risking permanent damage to your child, but there are decisions to be made. To play or not to play, that is the question!

Linda and I were always wanting to give our kids the benefit of the doubt, in both directions. Frankly, in our house, if our kids could walk and breathe, they wanted to play, particularly in competition. And you know what, sometimes we let them and sometimes we didn’t. We had to make decisions and you’ll have to make some too. Please prepare!

See you on #1 tee with decisions made… Sam

 

 

Junior Golf: No Artificial Sweeteners

In this Friday Flop Shot we will continue our look at the world of sweets. Congratulations on wanting to take control of your family’s health. This process is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires constant vigilance and a desire for more education. A critical step is controlling everyone’s sweet tooth and in our family part of that process is avoiding artificial sweeteners. No artificial sweeteners. (photo offcoursegolf.com)img_0106

The 3 most common are saccharin, aspartame and sucralose (Splenda). These are found in 1,000’s of food items, even in some canned vegetables and can be very difficult to find on the label because a number of different names are used to confuse us, the consumers. To help with the confusion factor, consider buying only products that have ingredients that you can pronounce or at least have some idea what they are and are fewer in number. When you see sugar or cane sugar on the label, it’s pretty clear where the “sweet” comes from. In the USA beet sugar is mostly made from genetically modified beets, GMO’s, so we never knowingly consume sugar from USA sugar beets.

Saccharin has been around forever, perhaps even 100 years. There was a time it received little negative press, but as research has become more sophisticated and our understanding of our body’s functions has increased, it has led our family to avoid it and other artificial items, especially artificial sweeteners.

Aspartame is everywhere, or at least it can seem like it! The 1st time I heard something negative about it was in the late 1980’s when an article in a Pilot’s magazine talked about an increasing number of pilots having headaches and other head issues. What they all had in common was they each drank 4 or more diet sodas per day. There are now 100’s of studies pointing out the potential harmful effects of consuming aspartame, including the possibility of pregnant women giving birth to an autistic child because of drinking diet sodas loaded with aspartame. (photo rawforbeauty.com)

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Splenda-sucralose is in 4,500 products so read labels carefully. While the clever advertising makes it sound relatively healthy, we do not consume it!

Mom and Dad please remember that we do not necessarily believe FDA guidelines. In fact, this agency may have changed classifications on these 3 items from safe to cancer causing, back to safe or even to another category. The best way we have found to deal with all this is to just avoid the products completely and read some informative articles as we are led.

It is all controversial! As you grow in your steps of taking control of your family’s health, you will begin to feel more confident and more at peace with your decisions and your family’s health will improve!

See you on #1 tee looking genuine… Sam

Junior Golf: Leave A Healthy Legacy

In today’s Wednesday Waggle we will look at how our actions are influencing our junior golfers and everyone around us. Dad and Mom, you are leaving a legacy so let’s leave a healthy legacy. (photo golfdigest.com)img_0102

My Mom was an amazing person. She passed away in 2012 at the age of 102 years and was extremely active for 100 of those years. She was, like all of us, a creature of habits and hers contributed to her excellent mental and physical health.

Mom loved to walk and growing up she always went at least 8 blocks every day, usually with a big dog on a leash. These were big blocks, long and straight. She walked fast. Most folks couldn’t keep up so she never really invited anyone to join her. And she loved her yard work. She mowed, trimmed, swept, did it all unless I was around to help. Dad was usually at work and frankly Mom loved the exercise. It wasn’t a chore for her.

She had an absolute aversion to being overweight. Her line was, “If I gain 3 pounds, I’m going on a diet!” And she did. Mom drank water with her meals and had some tea or a Coke made with sugar once in a while. She had a few guidelines as to what she ate. Her family was way ahead of the curve, using common sense for eating advice. “It’s the sugary things like desserts, breads, cookies and white potatoes that make you fat. Stay away from them.” And she did. Mom are whatever she wanted but controlled her portions. She quit eating when she started feeling full and pretty much never had second helpings. Ahead of the curve, way to go, Mom! (photo dailymail.co.uk)

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She was also not a fan of putting anything in her body that was not absolutely essential. So she stayed away from prescription drugs and all she took for those many years was one baby aspirin daily and a calcium supplement for occasional leg cramps.

I had to always check her inventory of her crossword puzzles and WordSearch and WordSeek books. She loved doing these and sometimes it was hard to find enough books to help her supplied. Her mind was always razor sharp! (photo net-thrift.com)

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Once I came to realize that Mom’s fabulous health was a product of a lifetime of healthy habits, I decided to emulate these habits. So I began changing my nutrition and exercise routine in college. Linda came along side me in these endeavors and we have made a concerted effort to be examples of healthy habits, mental and physical, for our kids and grandkids.

What can you do today to initiate or increase healthy habits in your home. Better habits, better golf, better everything!

See you on #1 tee with healthy habits… Sam

Junior Golf: Fun Stretches with Miguel

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we will look at some really fun stretches with the most interesting golfer in the world, Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez. His very unusual and interesting stretches have been shown many times during various professional tournaments. (photo jenlefforge.com)

Flexibility is a key factor for having a healthy active life and it is absolutely essential for all athletes to maintain their competitive abilities. After all the calories of food and excessive periods of likely inactivity over the Thanksgiving holidays, it’s time to get your son back into his regular golf and fitness routine. And a great way to plug in something different as in fun and excitement is to change things up. One of the easiest ways is to introduce a new stretching regimen. Miguel Angel Jimenez serves this up in spades!

Perhaps you remember the 1st time you and your son saw MAJ doing a stretch on TV and your initial thoughts were: “Wow, I’ve not seen anything like that before!” Please know that his unorthodox routine was likely developed over a lengthy period of time with input from experts in stretching, physical fitness and/or orthopedics. So if you look at MAJ’s record and amazing flexibility for a man over 50 years old, it’s obvious he’s using these stretches to great advantage.

In an individual sport where there is limited time for parent child interaction, stretching is an area that provides a great opportunity for bonding and a MAJ’s routine provides a chance for some comedy as well. I mean, some of these exercises are just going to look silly the 1st few times you and your son do them. Take a chill pill and embarrass yourself. Show some vulnerability in front of him, it shows him it’s OK to fail.

The above link will take you to a great video demonstrating some of these moves. When you see how genuinely flexible MAJ is, you should get very motivated to master his moves. Take it easy and don’t rush things. The more proper stretching you and your son do, the more your flexibility will increase. And 1 additional inch of flexibility increases swing speed which adds distance to the shot.

See you on #1 tee, looking nice and loose… Sam.

Junior Golf: Grab the Remote

imageIn today’s Wednesday Waggle we’re taking a look at the remote, yes that remote! But when we grab the remote, it may not be for the reason you are expecting.

Ah, the much-maligned remote. The evil tool of couch potatoes. We are going to use it for good, good golf, that is. Yes, if you have not already done so, grab the remote and search for the golf channel. If it’s not on your package, I am encouraging you to add it today. Usually it is a minimal monthly add-on. If it’s too much for your budget, then please consider dropping something from your package to be able to afford it. Our experience is that if you and your junior golfer are serious about golf, the Golf Channel is the single most important channel in your whole TV package. (Jason Duffner photo golfdigest.com)

DirecTV has been our TV vendor for more than 10 years and they are a great vendor. We only lose their signal when a severe thunderstorm is between our dish and their satellite. The Golf Channel is channel 218 on DirecTV and in our home, it is the most watched channel by far. They broadcast professional tournaments from: the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Web.com Tour, European PGA Tour and top amateur events. Many of these are rerun at least one time, so there is a huge amount of great inspirational golf to excite your daughter about her future in the game she loves.image

And the insight, golf tips, golf strategy, conditioning and all-around constant valuable influx of golf information is wonderful! The Golf Channel is never stale. Teaching/learning shows include: Champions Tour Learning Centers, The Golf Fix, Golf Channel Academy, School of Golf and Playing Lessons From the Pros and more. Plus the “Live from the (insert current tournament name)” and Morning Drive have amazing interviews and information. And of course, Feherty has interviews with high profile golfers and golf-lovers that are in-depth and very entertaining.

The point is: the Golf Channel is loaded with great stuff that you are hard-pressed to get anywhere else. And it’s clean wholesome TV! Now that’s a real deal!

See you on #1 tee… and you better have a recent Golf Channel quote… Sam

Junior Golf: It Starts with the Setup

imageIn this Monday Mulligan we are going to look at the setup. The setup is the last thing your daughter does before she actually starts the golf swing. It begins when she addresses the ball, that is, places the club behind the ball and sets her stance. The swing actually begins when your daughter takes the club backward, away from the ball. The results she gets from any given swing are dependent on a number of factors, but the ability to get good results starts with a correct setup. (photo jennleforge.com)

Depending on your daughter’s skill level, she may have different setups for different shots. For today’s purpose let’s take the most common and correct setup. What are the factors involved:
1. feet proper distance apart, shoulder width for most shots
2. ball proper distance from player, usually arms hang under the chin
3. ball in correct position between feet, 7-iron in middle between feet
4. correct grip
5. shoulder, hips and knees all square to each other
6. knees slightly flexed
7. rear end sticking out…no soft way to say this…for good center of gravity and balance
8. keep chin up, look at ball with eyes, not head
9. and there are a million more setup hints, but this is enough for now

In the Barclay’s, finished yesterday, Peter Kostis, network TV analyst and legendary golf instructor, had some significant insights into some of the player’s setups. On Friday when Jordan Spieth was having his second poor round, leading to his not making the cut, Kostis analyzed his swing, beginning with Jordan’s setup: “Jordan’s feet are closed and his shoulders are open and that setup does not result in good golf shots.” So the #1 player in the world got his setup out of alignment and was unaware of it. Even the best have moments like this. (Peter Kostis photo I.cdn.turner.com)image

Yesterday Kostis took a look at Sang-moon Bae’s setup. “His shoulders, hips, and knees are in beautiful alignment and he is hitting some excellent shots” commented Kostis. Bae was having a very good tournament and a big part of his success was a proper setup.

Mom and Dad, the setup is the one and only time in the golf swing process that your daughter has 100% control over the situation. Learning the correct setup and feeling the proper positions are critically important. Without this, the chances of hitting good golf shots are very poor.

So, go back to basics. Check out the setup. Once you are both happy with it, fire away!

See you on #1 tee, and let’s see a good setup… Sam

Junior Golf: Finger Stretches, Yes, Really

imageIn today’s Friday Flop Shot we will examine finger stretches and how great a benefit they can be in helping prevent injuries. Your son’s fingers, hands and wrist are sacred territory which must be protected at all costs. Unless these body parts are close to 100% healthy, the chances of playing decent golf are greatly reduced. More focus is needed on the proper stretching of fingers, wrists, forearms and elbows. Today these are not getting the attention they deserve.

The good news is that finger stretches can be done anywhere, anytime. No special equipment, clothing or location is required. All you have to do is help remind or help your junior golfer to do them. Mom and Dad you should do them as well. Be the example. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

Easy and effective finger stretches:
1. Hold both hands in front of your face with all 5 fingers spread apart and the same fingertips on each hand touching the fingertips on the other hand. Relax the fingers on the left hand and push them backwards with the fingers of your right hand. Repeat with the left hand pushing the right hand fingers rearward. You can push both hands against each other also, but the feeling when fingers are bent backward is totally different than fingers pushing forward against each other. You will feel this in your forearms and up into your shoulders.
2. Martial art stretch for hands, fingers and wrists: stand up straight with your left arm straight along your left side with the elbow locked out and palm facing forward. Maintain the left arm and swing it in front of the right quadricep muscle (right thigh). With the right hand, grab the 4 fingers of the left hand and gently pull them, while raising them up, toward the outside of the right hip. Hold for 20 seconds. Then reach under the 4 fingers of the left hand with the forefinger of the right hand to grasp the left thumb and gently pull it rearward. You and your son will really feel these, all the way into triceps and beyond. You may also do this exercise with your arm extended straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor.

Great examples of the need for these stretches include times when your son has been spending an inordinate amount of time doing schoolwork that requires lots of keying in on a computer. The hands, wrists and forearms and elbows can get almost locked in place. If you head to the range right after this, your son’s tendons and ligaments may be slightly misaligned and could be damaged unless proper stretching/warm-up takes place. (photo from developersaccomplice.co.uk)image

Also, in our house, S3 and I love to play Call of Duty and especially love killing zombies together. After hours of holding the PS4 controller my wrists start to ache and I feel like I almost need to crack my fingers loose to get them out of the PS4 position. We do have an absolute blast and we are big fans of parents playing video games, in moderation, with the youngsters. However, when we put down the PS4 and head to the driving range, we all know that special stretching is needed to switch over the hands, wrists, forearms and elbows from video game mode to golf mode. Injury prevention, if you please.

See you on #1 tee… and you better be stretched out… Sam

Junior Golf: More Stretching=Better Golf

imageIn this Wednesday Waggle we’ll see how more stretching equals better golf. Yes, your daughter is as nimble and flexible as a piece of string, but she will benefit from proper stretching. The best golf is a result of many things including a body that is properly stretched out. Tight muscles just cannot get into the proper positions to execute good swings.

Even with the innate agility that comes with youth, your daughter still needs to start investigating a solid stretching, strength and conditioning program. The easiest to implement is the stretching because it requires no special equipment or clothing. 40 years ago the only guy doing anything remotely resembling these things was Gary Player. Look at him today. He looks great and can allegedly outwalk the young pros on tour! It’s no accident. His years of extra conditioning work have really paid off. (Jason Duffner photo from golfdigest.com)

Where do you start with the stretches? Our family has a series of stretches that have helped 100% of the folks we know have properly used them. These were given to me by an orthopedic surgeon 20 years ago when my lower back was knotted-up. They are designed to stretch pretty much everything on your back side from the base of your skull to your Achilles’ tendon. And with a knotted-up lower back, I was pain-free and better than normal after 16 days of doing these stretches 2x daily. Now they are an integral part of my fitness regimen. And they stretch the quads and calves too!image

Today virtually everyone on the PGA/LPGA has some sort of fitness routine. The competition demands it. Sometimes kids take more readily to new things if they are fun, so here are 2 stretching situations that you can certainly make “fun” to your daughter. It is just plain “fun” to watch Miguel Ángel Jiménez do his brief stretches on the driving range. They are quick and easy, but they may not be the only warmups he does. Find a video and go for it. (photo from i.ytimg.com)

Another great video from The Golf Channel, I’m sorry I don’t remember the specific show: is one of the guest instructors showing quick stretches to do when your daughter is late getting to #1 tee and there is no time for formal routines. It is great and it takes just a minute or 2.

See you on #1 tee…and your daughter better be stretched-out and ready to play… Sam

Junior Golf: The Best $100 You’ll Ever Spend

imageIn today’s Monday Mulligan we’ll look at the best $100 you’ll ever spend on your junior golfer. Yes, there is money to be spent on every athlete, but the money we will talk about today is probably something you have never heard of. Our family certainly was not aware this technique even existed.

So when S3’s knee dislocated during a high school golf tournament, he saw his orthopedic surgeon, had an MRI and it was determined that he had loose kneecaps. The requirement/rehab was to get the supporting tissue around his knees stronger, basically. His doctor told us to go to a physical therapy clinic that had a therapist certified in sports medicine. As an elite athlete, S3 needed the unique expertise the sports medicine certification brought to the table.

Our first rehab visit began with a review of the incident and an evaluation of his knee. Then we were asked if we would like to put S3 through a 7-stage test which would identify muscle imbalances throughout his body. Then a custom rehab program would be instituted to reduce his risk of future injury. Insurance wasn’t covering it and the out of pocket would be $100. We said, “Let’s do it.”

The proper name of the test is the Functional Movement Screen and when you watch your son go through it, it doesn’t look all that difficult, that is until you try to do some of the stages. Well, S3’s score was 14, out of a possible score of 21, 3 points max for each of 7 positions, which meant he had a slightly higher than average risk of future injury. A custom program was designed with the express purpose of getting his score up to 17 which would genuinely reduce his risk of future injury. After 6 weeks of rehab he scored 17 on a retake of the test. He/we were elated! Then S3 was fit to enter another 6-week super-advanced training for very elite athletes. He was in with college soccer players mostly and the instructor was basically trying to wipe everybody out during every session. Our son held his own and really benefitted from this whole process.

It is pretty much a certainty that athletes will have injuries. I encourage you to investigate the Functional Movement Screen in your area. The best exercise programs are custom programs but there are things you can do to make your son’s body stronger, more muscularly balanced and less injury-prone. Probably if your young golfer is not a teenager-read hormones-you might want to wait until he is in junior high or a freshman in high school before spending the money.image

The fact is that this test and the resulting custom rehab and then ongoing custom physical training programs have changed our son’s life. As he enters his senior year playing college golf, his legs, knees and ankles are stronger and more balanced than they have ever been. Please ask orthopedic clinics and physical therapy clinics in your area about the FMS. Someone will be familiar with it and where you can have it done. Check with your insurance and if they won’t pay, then save up until you have the cash. Knowing all this, I would have had S3 do this test before puberty because it still has value. Really, check this out!

One final word: the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and multiple US special operations forces spend millions of dollars every year on FMS and related custom physical training programs to keep there elite athletes and warriors healthy. What better recommendations are there?

See you on #1 tee…with strong legs… Sam

Junior Golf: Emergency Kit

imageIn this Friday Flop Shot let’s discuss what to put in the Emergency Kit for your son to carry in his golf bag. Unexpected situations happen on the golf course and having just a few items on hand can help keep him in competition. (photo from offcoursegolf.com)

A quart-size zipper-style bag is a perfect size to hold some items that your son probably need during one of his tournaments. The goal here is to provide some relief for weird accidents or illnesses that can show up out on the course. Remember, once your son reaches a certain age, maybe 9 or 10 years old, you can’t give him anything once he puts his ball in play. And verbal communication usually is strictly limited, as well. And if caddies are not allowed and his coach is nowhere to be seen and he gets hurt, he’s pretty much on his own unless he needs EMS.

Things we have seen that are disruptive and inconvenient, but still can be played through by your son are: blisters, headaches, seasonal allergies, stingers, bleeding-usually scratches from bushes and trees and brief periods of just not feeling right. So, please check with your medical professional, but here is what we put in the quart bag: bandaides, gauze pads-small, athletic tape, aspirin/ibuprofen, Alleve, Claritin D, small tube of antibiotic ointment and a small tube of sunscreen. Again, with the exception of coaches and caddies, once your son gets around 10 years old, he’s on his own where minor illness and injury are concerned. So the choices are only play through the discomfort or take something from this bag to help with the discomfort or the dreaded WD-withdrawal, which no youngster really ever wants to do.

Here’s our crazy real-life example: S3 was on his final hole of a high school tournament at the Ram Rock Course at Horseshoe Bay in Central Texas, always one of the Top 5 toughest courses in the state. He was playing well, maybe 2-over through 17-holes and just had this tricky par 3 to finish the round. Linda and I were looking back at the tee box from the green and watched in shock as S3 took a practice swing and collapsed on the ground. We rushed down there to find that his left knee had dislocated, causing the collapse. And it popped right back in as he stood up. I mean nobody had ever seen anything like this on the golf course. And like every true competitor, he said, “Dad, I’m finishing this round. It’s only 1-hole.”image

Well, he wasn’t going to die from a dislocation, but I can’t imagine what was going through his mind as he hit his tee shot! Anyway, he bogied the hole, to complete a pretty good round. Please, at least with golf, don’t ever think you’ve seen everything, because our family can assure you that there is always something new and interesting waiting to show up when you are on the golf course. (photo from hsbresort.com)

The total weight of the golf bag is important, so keep the contents of the emergency bag to a minimum. Your son will appreciate, especially in hot weather during the last few holes.

See you on #1 tee… Sam

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