What is TPI?
Within their website, Titleist Performance Institute claims to be ”the world’s leading educational organization dedicated to the study of how the human body functions in relation to the golf swing” (my TPI).
Purpose of TPI certification
The purpose of the TPI certification is to teach coaches 16+ fitness tests that they can use to evaluate a golfer. In doing so, a coach learns how to spot deficiencies in certain ranges of motion throughout the body. Once deficiencies or limitations in movement are noted by a coach, he or she will begin to implement a training intervention. According to my TPI, ”the plan may include fitness training, physical therapy and treatment, coaching of swing mechanics or biomechanics, nutrition, mental strategy or all of the above”
TPI fitness tests (TPI Screening)
The 90/90 Test
This test is designed to highlight any limitations in mobility of the gleno-humeral joint and/or stability of the scapulo-thoracic junction.
The Bridge with Leg Extension Test
The Bridge w/ Leg Extension Test is a great test for stability in the pelvis/lumbar spine/ core, especially the gluteal muscles.
The Cervical Rotation Test
This test evaluates the amount of available cervical spine rotation and lateral flexion.
The Forearm Rotation Test
The Wrist Pronation/Supination Test is an important test to determine the mobility of the wrist and forearm in two specific movement patterns; Pronation and Supination.
The Lat Test
The Lat Test evaluates shoulder flexion which includes the flexibility of the latissimus dorsi muscle group, shoulder joint restrictions and scapular motion limitations.
The Lower Quarter Rotation Test
This is a good way to measure the rotational mobility of the lower quarter.
The Overhead Deep Squat Test
The deep squat portion of this test is used to assess bilateral, symmetrical, mobility of the hips, knees, and ankles.
The Pelvic Rotation Test
The Pelvic Rotation Test checks the player’s ability to rotate the lower body independently from the upper body.
The Seated Trunk Rotation Test
The Seated Trunk Rotation Test is designed to identify how much rotational mobility is present in the thoraco-lumbar spine.
The Single Leg Balance Test
The Single Leg Balance Test measures the golfer’s overall balance.
The Toe Touch Test
The Toe Touch Test is a great test for overall mobility in the lower back and hamstrings.
The Torso Rotation Test
The Torso Rotation Test checks the player’s ability to rotate the upper body independently from the lower body.
The Wrist Extension Test
The Wrist Extension Test is a great test to determine if the wrists have enough ability to extend or “bend backward”.
The Wrist Flexion Test
The Wrist Flexion Test is a great test to determine if the wrists have enough ability to flex or “bend forward”.
Wrist Hinge Test
This test determines the mobility of the wrist.
Benefits of TPI testing/screens
- Clients will have the perception that their trainer has left no stone unturned in their quest for improved mobility, stability, and ultimately improved golf performance.
- Coaches can use TPI screening results to implement a sport-specific program that is oftentimes computer generated.
CONS OF TPI TESTING
- It’s a Test.
- Deficiencies in various movements can be observed and analyzed by an experienced strength and conditioning coach while an athlete performs various movements simultaneously, in contrast to having a golfer perform 16+ tests, whereby a golfer may fail to see the relationship between ”the test” and their performance.
Benefits of a certified strength & conditioning coach with experience
A golfer’s experience with a strength and conditioning coach will start at the initial coach/athlete or trainer/client consultation. During the consultation a coach will 1. Listen 2. Ask and 3. Tell.
A good coach will listen to the golfer’s needs and desires, listen to their background history, their experience with golf, why you came to them, what previous injuries you have had, and they will also listen to your goals for your future fitness program.
An experienced coach will ask about your particular exercise history as it pertains to gym usage. In addition, a coach will ask questions like; when you do ______, do you feel _____? This will give the coach a better idea of your current fitness state, and will help with future exercise selection. Lastly, a coach should ask about your other commitments, willingness to train, and expected frequency of training. Again, this will paint a clearer picture for the coach.
This will be the hardest part for many coaches- yet it is the most important step. A good coach should be able to tell you about limitations and limitations in movement, as observed by various exercises/movements within the initial trainer/client consultation. They should be able to tell you how they will go about fixing such issues, and they should tell you how many days/weeks/months it will take to make the desired changes.
The purpose of this post is not to bash TPI certified coaches, nor to bash TPI itself. Rather, it’s purpose is to inform and educate golfers so that they can make an informed decision regarding a potential strength and conditioning program. While I believe TPI certification is a GREAT certification for trainers with very little experience or knowledge within the field of strength and conditioning, I do not believe it will be of much value to strength and conditioning coaches.
Therefore, the same goes for golfers. Yes, working with a TPI coach will help, but so will working with a coach who can perform a fitness evaluation, determine an intervention, and observe sport specific movements.