Exercise Science Instructor Chad Odaffer has been ranked one of Golf Digest magazine’s top 50 golf fitness instructors in the United States. Odaffer is the only Indiana trainer ranked and he holds this position in addition to being an instructor at the University of Indianapolis.
“I still maintain a practice outside of the classroom so that I’m bringing those experiences that I get into the classroom,” Odaffer said. “I teach a lot of our students the practical application of how to take the science and put it to practice.”
Odaffer is a certified level three golf fitness instructor and has trained athletes at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport. He also has coached the strength and conditioning programs for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Division I sports, according to his employer, Altered Physique Training.
As a part of his role as a trainer, he said he also works to improve the fitness of golfers at all levels, ranging from juniors to professionals.
According to Odaffer, golf fitness is not teaching someone the basics of golf or how to swing.
Those would fall under the category of a golf teaching instructor he said. He said he starts with a full body assessment of the client in order to see what issues or needs the client has.
“It [golf fitness] is quite simply working on how well the body works in golf…,” Odaffer said. “Where golf differs [from other sports] is that we need specific ranges of motion and specific amounts of flexibility in certain parts of the body. It’s a rotational sport.”
Strength, power, flexibility and endurance are some of the most important areas Odaffer said he focuses on. He said that some of the things he trains athletes for are not unlike other sports. The main difference he said is how rotationally focused golf is compared to other sports. His expertise is on getting athletes in peak shape for them to perform successfully. He said golf is a skill driven sport.
According to Odaffer, golf fitness is a relatively new field. He said he got started with it in 2006 when it was still in the early stages.
“I got in on the ground level,” Odaffer said. “I would say the two main things are putting myself out there to begin with and trying to work with as many people as I could: taking time to build a reputation [and] taking the opportunity to do speaking engagements so people get to know you.”
But ultimately, Odaffer said his achievements came alongside those of his clients. As they improved in skill, this shone positively on his efforts as a trainer.
“Probably the overarching thing is that I’ve had golfers that I’ve helped who have had success,” Odaffer said. “Success as a fitness professional is not how well I create a program or how hard I can push you but ultimately it’s what I do to help you [my clients] to be successful. If my clients are successful then those are my successes.”
These successes not only reflect on Odaffer’s work, but on the quality of the programs as well, according to Lisa Hicks, Chair of the Kinesiology Department. She said that it is always nice when faculty get recognized for the work they do.
“It shows that the University of Indianapolis is a key player in the exercise science field, especially when it comes to application,” Hicks said.
Both Hicks and Odaffer agree that this is also quite important for the students to understand what it is like to be a professional.
“It’s a good example for students to show applied profession and practice …,” Hicks said. “It helps students understand what they can do with a degree in exercise science.”