Body: Sport + Science

Maybe the problem with your golf game isn’t your golf game.

Kinetic Performance Center’s Rick Silva and Al Owens have made it their mission to help adults and children take sports to the next level through a marriage of science and training.

“Giving a golf lesson may be the last thing we actually do,” says Silva, the company’s founder and president. Silva started the company in 2009, and reconnected with longtime friend, Al Owens, a PGA pro who had been focusing on an aspect not often considered as part of golf training—the science of kinesiology.

“It’s about building physical literacy and self confidence,” says Silva.

Kinesiology is a big word—but it can make a big difference in how well you play. Taking the science behind your body and how it moves, then applying it to sports may not seem that unusual, but it’s not common practice.

What does it look like? Not your typical sports experience. Owens and his staff have been working with the Glenview Park District, offering classes and summer camp experiences for kids. Come to a session and you may see junior golfers planking and practicing foot progressions instead of putting.

“It’s not about golf,” says Silva. “It’s about coordination, confidence and independence.”

Playing into kids’ limited attention spans, the sessions include five-minute rotations with different activities, all designed to integrate planes of motion into their golf game.

“Feet are important and often ignored,” says Owens of the foot progression exercises. “It’s about getting the top of the foot to be more dynamic and loose.”

For their adult clients, Silva says, “They’re looking to golf as their sanctuary. It’s the only sport that the novice has the pos- sibility to meet their hero on a parallel. My dad can’t step in to the batter’s box at Wrigley, but he can go play Pebble Beach.”

A professional evaluation is like walking into a 3-D game simulation. After taking an in-depth medical history, clients are fit into a device that collects information on how your body responds to swinging a golf club.

Given that information, Owens and Silva can help adult golfers adjust their swing to what is best for their body, and not necessarily what is considered best practices for a traditional swing. And as part of that experience, Silva and Owens unravel a lot of previous training mistakes and even psychological factors that may be hindering a person’s performance.

Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould is a longtime friend and supporter of KPC and has adopted the kinesiology model to work on his own performance on the field, and on the course.

“I’m seeing tremendous results,” says Gould. “What I think Rick and Al and KPC do is pretty special. They look to improve your function for your everyday life. I’m becoming a more complete athlete.”

KPC is also extending their reach philanthropically, by teaming with Gould’s foundation, The Goulden Touch to support local social services initiatives. Silva and Gould are already hard at work on putting together the second annual celebrity golf outing scheduled for this summer.