Collingwood’s Tyson Goldsack opens up about his training regime and how yoga, horse racing and golf help him to relax and perform on the football field each week, in a piece for aflplayers.com.au brought to you by Fitness First.
We’ve been doing yoga at the club for about 12 or 18 months but we only do it at a beginner level. After a while it got a little bit repetitive but we can’t exactly advance so I started doing private sessions at the gym during the past 12 months as a little bit extra.
The players realised the benefit of getting our body moving around. We usually do it at the beginning of the week – after a game obviously your body is feeling a bit stiff and sore but yoga is one of the best ways to get your body moving so you can train as soon as possible.
Not only does yoga strengthen your core, it also helps with your flexibility and is great for moving around without putting too much stress on your body.
We do it a couple of times per week at the club ad I try to do one session by myself depending on the week and how much time I have.
We started slowly when we first tried it at the club but my first experience was quite uncomfortable because I didn’t quite know any of the poses – terms like pigeon and frog – so I’d just throw myself into it and trust the instructor completely.
I also have really bad hips and we were trying to do these cross-legged poses so I was just rolling onto my side and couldn’t hold a pose to save myself. It’s fair to say, I’ve come a long way since then and I really enjoy it.
The best thing about it is that it’s as difficult as you make it. If you want to go harder and push yourself, you can do that, but at the same time there’s the alternative to go a little bit easier or really focus on progressing through the poses.
You don’t start with headstands or perfect poses, you need to work into it and take your body to a level just outside your comfort zone. From there, your poses will get a bit better and you’ll get stronger.
I’m definitely no expert but I’d like to think I’m a bit further ahead than a beginner – somewhere in the intermediate stage is where I’d be.
I only just started working into inversions which excites me, I’d like to work on them a bit more and that’ll help me progress further.
This is something I’ll definitely do for the rest of my footy career. I know it’s already helped me so much during the past two years even with the injuries I’ve had because its nowhere near as taxing as training.
I also meditate, so yoga is almost another form of meditation while also getting a bit more movement into your body – it’s a great way to calm the mind.
Yoga is really multi-faceted activity which helps recovery and preparing for a game.
While it can be quite difficult, it’s quite calming at the same time. There’s a certain type of yoga called yoga-flow where you go through the motions and finish the session quite calmed and relaxed.
It either sets your day up nicely if you do it in the morning or brings you back down in the afternoon and helps you relax. It’s great for however you want to use it, it’s very versatile like that.
I’d recommend yoga to anyone, everyone should give it a go.
Three years ago, before I tried doing yoga, I had heard about it and had been doing meditation for a few years before that and while I don’t use it every day, only when I need it, I still wouldn’t have pictured myself doing it.
I definitely wouldn’t be as obsessed as other guys at the club. But I really enjoy it, despite the fact it’s the most frustrating sport.
The rewards are great though, when you hit a great shot, it’s awesome but when you shank a couple in a row it’s horrible and frustrating.
It’s similar to yoga in that it’s great for taking your mind off footy while working on something else, so it’s a useful tool to have when the world is on your shoulders in the football realm.
Unfortunately playing depends on injuries, so I haven’t been able to get out there much this year. At the moment I have a poor left hip and that means putting the golf sticks away for a bit and before that I had a broken thumb.
I play a bit during the off-season and try to play at least one round per week, but have only had one hit in the past month which isn’t ideal. But finding the time to do it at this time of year is another challenge.
In a perfect world I would love to play one round and have a hit at the driving range each week, but probably no more than that given you still want to focus on football.
Golf is such a great getaway though. It started when I was a kid and my brother’s always had clubs – he got the hand-me-downs – but I’m a left-hander so all I got was a club or two from cash-converters, I think I had a five and nine iron.
Two or three years into my football career, I went out and got a proper set and got fitted out.
One of the things I love about golf is that you could be on a golf course anywhere in Melbourne and imagine yourself being anywhere in the world.
You could be down at the Peninsula or in Kew and when you get to the back nine and can’t see the buildings around you or hear any cars it’s a really good place to be.
You can forget about the hustle and bustle of the city and think you’re on holidays, so that’s a bit of a draw card but it’s also getting out with friends. Whether it’s my brother or a few boys from the club, we can have a laugh at each other shanking the ball all over the joint.
You can build friendships while getting away from it all and relaxing.
If you have a day off and sat on the couch the entire time, obviously that’s not going to help you prepare for training the next day. But even if you get into a golf cart around the course, you’re still active and about while outdoors.
I grew up in Pakenham Upper on six acres so we spent all our time outdoors and riding motor and push bikes. Golf is similar in that you get outdoors and can be active.
As kids we were always outside playing basketball, cricket with my brother who is five years older than me and always smashed me. But we’d go to a friend’s place, jump on the motorbikes until we couldn’t see and had to go home for dinner.
My favourite golf course on a good day would be The National but once the wind picks up it becomes pretty tough. I’ve played Capital a couple of times as well and that’s a pretty special experience – I’ve been out there when you’re one of maybe two groups getting out on the course that day, so you don’t see another golfer the entire time.