I didn’t think I could celebrate any harder than the hours after my athlete, Cam Smith, won the 150th Open at St Andrews. To be part of a team and see a guy achieve his dream, at the Home of Golf, was a memory that will last a lifetime. But, as it turns out, my recent trip back to my homeland of Australia was where his accomplishment truly sank in. I’m from Queensland, and so is Cam. Being back in Australia immediately after Cam ended a 29-year drought for Australian men at the Open (Greg Norman was the last Aussie to win in 1993), what really resonated with me was how much it meant to our great country and our great state. He was on front and back pages of newspapers, mentioned on radio and featured on TV sports bulletins. Queenslanders are so proud that one of their own stood and delivered on arguably the grandest stage golf has ever seen. It was an unbelievable experience.
For me, personally, it's a hard to put into words what it meant for one of my athletes to win a Major and to summarise what my contribution was to the win. It was a victory three years in the making. I think what I brought to the table was some consistency from a physiological and training and process standpoint; I’ve gathered my expertise from other sports such as rugby league, Aussie cricket and Brisbane Lions AFL in Australia before getting into golf, and also what I’ve learned in eight years on the PGA Tour. From a therapy standpoint, I tried to get my athletes to a point where the body isn’t dealing with any issues and if they have any, those ailments are being managed extremely well. As a team, we tried to find marginal gains where we could. Cam is incredibly talented and athletic, so all we tried to do was harness that natural ability in the programs and protocols we put in place. We wanted to allow him to be able to play the game he wants. So we focused on being able to get into the right positions with the body, and get his body to a point where he is effectively working like a like an F1 race car.
Cam is incredibly mobile, so a lot of our work is keeping his mobile joints stable. We make sure his body has still got the connections and activations it needs to maintain control at high speeds. I call it stability through mobility.
It begs the question, how can Cam get better from a physical standpoint? Well, just because something is the way it is, doesn’t mean it can't get better, right? With the physical abilities an athlete like Cam is blessed with, there's no reason why we can’t get just that little bit stronger, or more powerful, or more physically fit, or better with his short game and putting. It’s a wholistic approach where everyone in his team is constantly trying to make different facets of the game 1 per cent better. It’s not about changing anything, it’s about doing what we do just a little better each day. As long as it's done in an developmentally sound way, the sky is the limit for Cam.
About Nic Catterall/Peak Power Golf
Nic Catterall is an Australian high-performance coach, specializing in strength and conditioning, musculoskeletal therapy and sports science, for professional golfers on the PGA Tour in the U.S.A. Nic works with Cam Smith, Luke List, Matt Jones, Dylan Frittelli and Hank Lebioda. Nic created the Peak Power Golf company to educate about the athleticism of golfers and what they are capable of. Peak Power Golf provides online training, athlete mentoring and athlete assessments.