In today’s culture of youth sports, athletic specialization is becoming the norm and the days of the three sport youth athlete are almost extinct. Golf or whatever your child’s sport of choice is, it is so important that they stay “athletically well-rounded” to reach their full potential. Early specialization of one sport can stunt long term athletic development. Many parents think that early specialization of golf or another sport may be putting their child ahead of the competition, but the consequences of early specialization can have a profound negative effect on athletic development. These consequences could be physical imbalances, overuse injuries, poor fundamental movement, and most commonly, the burnout effect.golfer

The mind set of youth sport needs to shift from making your kid the next Tiger Woods or Annika Sorenstam, to allowing your child to develop into a solid, well-rounded athlete. The former cannot happen without the ladder. The science behind long term athletic development is complex from both a physiological and neurological stand point. Simply put, a young athlete must develop fundamental movement skills before they can begin to master their fundamental sport skills. Examples of fundamental movement skills are agility, speed, coordination, balance, object control skills, and awareness. If these crucial athletic features are bypassed, the potential of the developing athlete will become limited.

So please, allow your developing child to become a well rounded athlete. Encourage them to play a collection of sports that involve swinging, kicking, throwing, swimming, running, and catching. If they are meant to be a professional golfer, football, basketball, or baseball player, they will already have had the built-in intangibles necessary to rise to the cream of the crop. Those intangibles are there at birth and will develop along with your child’s love of their sport.

For any questions about long term athletic development strategies and programs, please contact me, Jason Rivkin, directly at [email protected].

Jason Rivkin, ATC

April 13, 2013 – We just had the second week of our Future Collegians Class. We started with short game, using our putting obstacle course. After an hour or so we used the video camera to take a closer look at swing techniques and discovered an interesting trend. Every single player rocked their head and upper body back away from the target on the downswing. We were able to draw a box around the heads of our students and 100% of them moved a substantial amount. When we compared the head and upper body of Tiger Woods to our kids it was obvious what they needed to work on. If you want to hit the ball solid consistently you have to have a steady body. It helps so much to see it on the big screen. 

After a couple of hours of wedges and chipping we got to our fitness hour with Dave Ostrow from FitGolf. It was a spirited hour of speed training. The kids really enjoy this a great deal. Dave’s enthusiasm is infectious. The kids can’t figure out where the time goes. You can see it’s changing how aggressive they are through the hitting area. You can see how this is going to help them get out of the rough easier, hit better bunker shots and absolutely hit the ball farther.

We did a real athletic warm up program for fitness today.  The kids were walking like dogs, bears and ducks, caroking, hopping, skipping, and goose steps to improve reciprocal movements and ability to separate top from bottom. Dave congratulated the kids for doing their homework he gave them last week.  Somehow he knew they did it. Some said they did not do it every day, but several times in the week.  They are very motivated to improve and are doing exactly what is needed…the homework.  

Dave also commented that all kids were now able to touch toes, and several were squatting better.  Dave explained for a golfer touching toes and squatting correctly are critical for stability over the ball in all aspects of the game. He is even able to cite research that proves those relationship.   Next week Dave said we will begin rotational training…a cliff hanger…I am sure it will be both helpful and fun.  

This week we are adding Tom Sterner to the mix. Tom will help the kids with some Goal Setting and Mental Strategies. If you didn’t know, Tom wrote the Best Selling Book “The Practicing Mind”. It’s been very successful, having been written in numerous languages. So many great players have Mental Coaches and we are very fortunate to have one helping our students.  Tom Sterner and Dave Ostrow really make a tremendous impact on our program. We are fortunate to have their knowledge available for our students..  

If you want more information about this class please feel free to email me at [email protected]. . Eric MacCluen PGA Director of Instruction Applecross Golf Academy.

Last Saturday we started the Applecross Golf Academy Future Collegians Golf Class with me, Eric MacCluen, owner of the Academy and David Ostrow of FitGolf. The academy is at Applecross Country Club in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  I had asked Dave to help with this class to try to take our kids to a higher level. The Future Collegians Golf Class has golf instruction on all aspects of the game, and fitness to help the kids be more able to do what I ask of them in their swings.

In the morning we worked on the short game from pitching to chipping. Then the kids got lunch.  In the afternoon we worked on the full swing with drills, and instruction.  Then at the end of the day I had David in to work the kids in the way that only he can.  I will write more about the golf instruction in future installments of this blog, but for today I want to focus on the fitness class that David led. 


The focus of this class was on developing more clubhead speed to hit the ball harder. I wasn’t sure how the kids would take to it because it was held at 3pm after the meat of the day. First, Dave tested the kids extensively with stretches to see where they were stronger or weaker. He asked them to touch their toes, and squat, and rotate the upper and lower bodies independently.  I was amazed by how all of the kids were challenged physically. Some seemed tight, some seemed weak in key areas.  

The bottom line is that David’s testing helped me understand some of the challenges I saw the kids having in their swing instruction earlier in the day. Once David seemed to have a handle on the physical issues of the kids, he led them in exercises to help improve those issues in short order.  He had them do various exercises.  His focus was on improving the kids stability for golf. Those who could not touch their toes, worked on that.  Those who could not squat worked on that. Four of the kids who couldn’t get to the toes could soon stretch all the way to the ground shortly after doing a few “tricks” as Dave winked.

Then David began on a speed protocol he uses with golfers.  He said that doing that protocol 5 days a week for 6 weeks causes a 10-14 mph increase in driver club head speed.  That caught the kids attention. He had them doing things both right handed and left handed. Some were done on the knees and some were done traditionally. They were worn out at the end but the kids loved it.  I haven’t seen this much excitement out of a few of these kids since I’ve known them. One of the girls thought it was “so cool”. That’s what I’m after…educational, effective, and cool too! Talking to a few of the parents, the common theme was an excitement to practice the exercises at home each night. That tells me the message made sense to the kids which is great. I’m real excited o keep doing the class and see where it takes us. If you want more information about this class please feel free to email me at [email protected] . Eric MacCluen PGA Director of Instruction Applecross Golf Academy

Long Term Athletic Development for Junior Golfers – The Future of Golf

Long term athletic development is the process of creating superb athletes who then develop into excellent golfers. Please view the presentation below for more information on this process.

Long Term Athletic Development




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