I’ve been involved with golf throughout my coaching life, and I’ve been following the many talented male and female golfers we have in our region with interest.
I never thought golf would be a sport I would experience, but a contact I had within a medical company put me in touch with one of Colin Montgomerie’s support team because of my expertise in movement. We hit it off immediately and agreed to work together to create a movement system for golf.
I was lucky enough to be invited to The Belfry, the PGA Headquarters and National Training Academy to present the system. The Belfry is a very impressive place to visit, it is steeped in history and a joy to just walk around, but more than that, it is an environment where excellence is expected, and state of the art equipment is helping them to push the boundaries of sports science – a major component of supporting golf in the UK.
The PGA accepted the training system I co-developed and this opened up many exciting experiences for me. The one I remember most involved the great Tiger Woods. After developing the training programme, I needed to address manufacturing issues with the equipment, which meant working with a company called EXF who were producers of sports training equipment for some of the biggest venues and sporting stars in the world.
While I was having a few days holiday, attending my best friend’s wedding in Italy, I received a call from the director of EXF telling me that Tiger Woods was staying at Eddie Jordan’s house on the Wentworth estate, and he had the personal job of overseeing the creation of a gym fit for one of the best golfers that has ever lived. He asked me to fly back immediately to add my equipment to the gym, which of course, I did.
The drive through the Wentworth Estate to the house was an experience in itself, with royalty and celebrities such as Elton John, the Bee Gees, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Ron Dennis (owner of Mclaren) who have all owned or own properties on the estate. The most expensive property would be on the market for around £80m if it were to be sold today. It was a life experience I will never forget, for sure.
The experience with the sport of golf led to many opportunities, and eventually to me using my movement coaching skills with my wife Elena Baltacha-Severino. The skills she perfected helped her achieve the status of a WTA top 50 player. Based on her performances we were both selected to join the great Britain Olympic Team during the 2012 Olympic in London and experience many great events at Grand Slams and on the WTA tour.
I have designed a fitness programme for a global company who have a UK base here in the UK, and they manage the dinners for over 600 schools in England.
I’m so excited about this role; I join a talented team including the ex-Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins who focuses on part of the programme called “from seed to plate”. Children’s health and well-being has become a very big part of my life and of course exercise and food can have a major impact in this area. I have been watching a number of interviews and reading quite a bit about Jamie Oliver, who I think has done an amazing job in highlighting how important school dinners are, because of this, he has had a very important effect on the quality of food served to children.
The team Elena and I built are dedicated to continuing the work we started while we were on the world tour, designing training programmes and systems.
I have written a number of blogs on this subject, and I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that there is a nuclear health bomb ready to hit humanity if children’s health and fitness is not addressed, and addressed now.
All you need to do is study the statistics, yes, you could say we are all living longer now, but this is the generation that was brought up on the good old-fashioned meat and two veg meals, cooked from scratch, and they were not exposed to massive amounts of sugar, saturated fats and lack of exercise.
I hope to share with you my thoughts and experience and do my bit to reverse the lifestyle culture our children are exposed to and support parental and child education through our school network.
Encouraging children to join a sport, any sport is part of the solution