For all of you following our blogs on Pain Free Performance, I wanted to share my personal journey that led to the creation of the company and hope it will deepen your connection to your own personal performance profile. I understand up to now much of our website is directed toward golfers but there is always an underlying focus on each person’s definition of “performance” and their journey toward becoming pain free.
First, a little background about myself. I grew up in the Midwest at a time when kids spent most of their time outdoors, engaged in lots of sports and physical activity. There were always lots of kids around and our activities usually mirrored the sport for that season. Learning and playing a sport better meant being picked sooner for a team and placement in a more desired, “higher profile” position. Other than some occasional mentoring from our parents most of our skills came from trial and error with our focus on the desired end result. We didn’t know anything about “biomechanics” and relied heavily on our own natural abilities and body types. Any coaching we received came from our public school teachers or Park District team coaches.
I had (have) a denser muscular frame some describe as an “old world body” designed for work. I was always a little heavier and relied on my back, big legs and upper body strength to give me my competitive edge. From early on I never learned to engage my core properly but really didn’t know how to perform any other way than what I did naturally. I tended to be more defense oriented lacking consistent performance and overall endurance to be a threat offensively. I only understand the disparity of my skill sets now in hindsight culminating from a process started a few years ago with renewed focus, awareness and passion for my own golf performance.
I have been a therapist for over 20 years. I have worked in numerous settings and have had a few major crossroads. It was a major crossroad that lead me from insurance to find a home in the field of medicine as a therapist but burnout in the current system is inevitable. It was burnout that led me to the next crossroad traveling to Sedona to take my first Myofascial Release class and with it a true “whole body” approach to musculo-skeletal pain and dysfunction. I still worked in the hospital setting at that time and my newfound manual skills and different perspective allowed me to have greater success with clients with chronic pain. Soon I became the “go to” guy for patients not making progress with traditional hospital based therapy protocols and shifted to an outpatient setting and then to private practice. A major shift in the healthcare marketplace led to a shift in our client base leaving some holes in my normally busy schedule. A co-worker suggested merging my passion for manual therapy with my passion for golf leading to the next major crossroad taking my first Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) seminar.
Myofascial Release has helped me manage my own pain throughout the years and has kept me very functional but when I attempted to improve my golf game I started to hit my old barriers created from dysfunctional motor patterns over the years. As I practiced golf more I began to have increased pain for days following my golf activities. I became very frustrated and, truthfully, felt a bit hypocritical as a “pain specialist” unable to help my own pain. It was at that point at the apex of my pain that I took the 2nd class in the TPI Medical Professional track and volunteered to be the demo for the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA). With gratitude I credit TPI co-founder, Greg Rose, D.C. with helping me identify my cornerstone of dysfunctional movement that was ultimately leading to my pain with golf play and practice, and my swing coach, Dave Bisbee at Seven Canyons in Sedona for improving my swing mechanics, sequencing and the fine points of the game.
It was from my quest and journey from pain and mediocre, inconsistent golf performance that the idea for Pain Free Performance was created. I am proud to bring the knowledge and skills gained from my own journey to our clients. Our mission is not just for the golf enthusiast, it is for anyone seeking to be free of pain and live an active lifestyle to perform optimally with grace and longevity.
The next step is “Knowing where to start”. (see blog post)
Michael Rende OTR, TPI-MP3