Why athletes Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady always win
These athletes beat their competition – and Father Time.
On Sunday, PGA Tournament champion Phil Mickelson became, at 50, the oldest golfer to win a major. Tom Brady, 43, clinched his seventh Super Bowl championship in February, breaking his own record as the oldest player to do so. That same month, Serena Williams, 39, made history at the Australian Open as the oldest active player to advance to a Grand Slam semi-final.
Last weekend, Olympic gymnast Chellsie Memmel came out of retirement to compete in the American Classic – at the relatively geriatric age of 32.
“Athletes today definitely have different expectations when it comes to professional longevity,” said Tim Grover, author of “Winning: The Merciless Race to Greatness. “They want to play longer.”
He attributes this new wave of mature success to the combination of mental training, nutrition and technological advancements that help manage stress on the body and lessen injuries.
“There are so many resources available that allow us to put this performance information together and incorporate it into training, rest and nutrition, massage therapy and muscle activation,” said Grover, who trained Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Russell Wilson. “We kind of played with all these pieces in the 80s and 90s. Now every athlete has found their teams that have all their specialties.
Brady is famous for his TB12 monastic method which eschews nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers) and puts flexibility – working with resistance bands and vibrating rollers to make muscles softer and more resilient – first.
But what is good for the GOAT is not always good for the eyes. High performance athletes have personalized programs that meet their specific needs, gaps and strengths.
“The program I had Kobe on was totally different from the one I had MJ on and the same for Dwyane Wade,” said Grover. And that can mean they don’t end up with a six pack. “Guys like Tom Brady and Phil don’t have the jagged physique of what an athlete is supposed to look like, but the [body] the parts they need to play are so finely tuned. “
Wearable technology, on the other hand, allows trainers and healthcare professionals to assess a professional’s wear and injury risk at an increasingly sophisticated granular level.
“We have a better understanding for measuring heart rate variability and tension and stress on the body,” Dr. Michael Zacchilli, orthopedic surgeon at Northwell Health, told The Post. “We can do it pretty precisely.”
He added that in decades past, athletes played with muscle tension – but now they’re more prone to rest.
They’re also now more nutrition-focused – and less partying – than in the days of William “The Refrigerator” Perry, John Daly and Dennis Rodman.
“Athletes of the past, they celebrated hard and they celebrated a long time,” said Grover. “Athletes today, they celebrate hard but not for long. They love their cigars and tequila, but they don’t indulge themselves regularly.
And it’s not just the pros who benefit from all this new biometric information. Zacchilli noted how the accessibility of portable devices is driving the trend for sustainable peak performance in the general population.
“The number of active older adults is increasing dramatically. the [finish-line] New York Marathon schedules for older groups have yet to stabilize. They are still falling, ”he said.
Dr Manisha Parulekar, chief of geriatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center, said she was “thrilled” when she saw Mickelson’s historic victory and plans to use it to evangelize an active lifestyle for his patients.
“What these athletes are telling us is that if you do the right things earlier, you have a chance to be healthy, active and independent for longer.