Off the back of Andrea Pavan’s recent win at the BMW International Open, the European Tour Performance Institute’s (ETPI) Strength & Conditioning Lead, Dan Coughlan, along with Consultant Physiotherapist, Nigel Tilley, detail some valuable insights into Andrea’s strength and conditioning programmes.
Physically, Andrea is an excellent athlete, having come through the US collegiate system. An experience which gave him a good strength base, as well as technical competency in a variety of lifts. As a result of Andrea’s prior training history, he was able to take to the programmes quickly, he required less supervision and coaching – allowing him to dedicate more time and effort to the work, and he was able to recover well from sessions, without excessive post-exercise soreness. For all these reasons, and more, we would encourage any young aspiring golfer to find a suitably qualified coach and to get in the gym and lifting as early as possible.
The ETPI have been supporting Andrea through the last 2 seasons, and during this time we have transitioned through a series of training focus’.
Andrea first approached us during the start of the 2018 season, and our initial focus was to develop good training habits, based upon programmes which would deliver improved strength during the in-season, but without causing excessive fatigue. Fortunately, due to his previous history, and his excellent consistency, we were able to quickly establish these habits, even despite his busy in-season schedule.
Over the course of the 2018 season and despite a busy competitive schedule, Andrea was able to increase his clubhead speed ~3mph, strength ~28% and explosive strength ~4%, following a largely strength focussed programme. We then continued to increase his strength over his short off-season.
At the ETPI, we typically measure explosive strength using countermovement jump net positive impulse and strength using isometric mid-thigh pull peak force. Andrea’s 2018 in-season improvements are shown below. We will put out a separate blog on our physical profiling approaches in the near future. However, these results clearly highlight the gains that are possible during a busy season of competitions.
|2018 Italian Open||2018 British Masters|
|Countermovement jump net positive impulse||367N.s||382N.s|
|Isometric mid-thigh pull peak force||2314N||2972N|
With a new year, came a new set of goals. Having established high levels of strength over our first season with Andrea, we began to move onto an explosive strength focus.
Explosive strength is of great importance in golf. Players are required to generate large forces through the ground, then transmit them through the kinetic chain, into the clubhead to generate speed. All within ~0.5 second window (the golf swing).
Clearly, being able to generate large peak forces is of great value, however if you cannot reach those peak forces within the imposed time-limit, they are not going to be of great use. This can be likened to a car in a drag race. You could be entering the 0.5 mile race with a car that has a top speed of 200mph, but with a 0-60 time of 10 seconds (this is the strong but slow golfer). You could also enter with a 100mph top speed and a 0-60 time of 3 seconds (the fast but weak golfer).
Developing a balance between these qualities is of high importance. In Andrea’s case, we had developed a high top speed over the 2018 season, and needed to shift the focus towards improving his 0-60 time.
When working with golfers in-season, we usually use a daily undulating model. This means that we will typically change the training stimuli throughout the week, working towards different focus qualities (strength, explosive strength etc.) on different days. This is usually delivered as a 2-3 day per week programme, starting with more of a strength focus and developing into an explosive focus over the course of the week.
Volume is normally also reduced as the week goes on (especially in less well trained players). This method allows us to control for fatigue over the week, while still getting the hard work done.
Our approach also allows us to work around the lack of ‘out of competition’ time (something which is an inherent challenge in golf). At the highest level, with players competing year round, golf is not a sport which allows for a typical periodisation model, so blending all qualities together, but shifting the distribution and focus is how we work around this.
These points are exemplified in Andrea’s programmes [below] – the first programme shows a 2018 in-season week, with a strength focus. The second programme shows his current 2019 programme, with an explosive focus. It is clear that in both cases, strength and explosive strength exercises are included, but the percentage of time dedicated to each switches.