Fit­ness key for Buck

Lo­cal golfer steps up train­ing for 2019 Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games

Tillsonburg News - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Ab­bott

Rick Buck, who will be on Team Canada at the 2019 Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games, is not just in good shape. He might be in the best shape of his life.

“Fit­ness is the big­gest thing for golf,” said Buck. “Fit­ness and diet.”

With that in mind, Buck works out three times a week at the Till­son­burg Com­mu­nity Cen­tre with Ron Becht.

“I still have my golf trainer, Tom (Far­low) and his guy, a short game spe­cial­ist I’ve been work­ing with, Gerry Hoogstraten, that’s 100 yards and in. Right now we’re fo­cus­ing on chip­ping and putting.

“And I have to get back into swim­ming, which I’ll prob­a­bly do twice a week. It’s just lanes. I’ll prob­a­bly put my­self on a half-hour schedule, just be­cause the train­ing I’m do­ing now is prob­a­bly harder train­ing than I did when I was go­ing into nationals. Ron’s got me push­ing hard.

“And I’m walk­ing three times a day. Right now, maybe 6,000 to 7,000 thou­sand steps a day. By March, I’ll be do­ing up to 20,000 steps a day. Right now, I’m walk­ing 3-4 km a day.”

Buck re­cently at­tended a four­day Team Canada train­ing camp at Teen Ranch, near Orangeville.

“We didn’t golf - we only got to hit balls - we were at an ac­tual Team Canada train­ing camp,” he said, not­ing the ath­letes came from track and field, rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics, golf, soc­cer, and pow­er­lift­ing. A sep­a­rate camp was held one week later for bas­ket­ball, bocce and swim­ming ath­letes.

“They had to sep­a­rate the sports to ac­com­mo­date all of us.

“The first day we did all our fit­tings for our clothes and just got to know ev­ery­body. The sec­ond day, we started the train­ing.”

Part of the train­ing for golfers was learn­ing how to run a fit­ness pro­gram on com­put­ers.

“It tracks all your fit­ness. It’s set up so that golfers can talk to the golfers, and the head coach can put a mes­sage on the web­site.”

They had a ses­sion for get­ting in­ter­viewed on TV.

“I ended up do­ing a mock in­ter­view with the head coach and the in­ter­viewer. I aced that, so that wasn’t a big deal.”

One ses­sion fo­cused on a fit­ness/ stretch­ing rou­tine just for golf, based on other sports but mod­i­fied for golf.

“Satur­day, we did a fit­ness test all morn­ing. Then we went to one of the TPC se­ries courses, Osprey Val­ley, and just hit the driving range and chip­ping range for... about two to three hours, and that was our golf. Then we left on Sun­day to go back home.

“Train­ing camp was amaz­ing. We were be­ing trained like ac­tual Olympians... it’s a big place. All the Cana­dian NBA play­ers go to this place, all the Cana­dian NHL play­ers.”

Team Canada had two spe­cial guests at the camp, one rep­re­sent­ing the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment.

“I think it was $16 mil­lion the gov­ern­ment put in,” said Buck, not­ing the new fund­ing for Spe­cial Olympics Canada over a fiveyear pe­riod an­nounced by Kirsty Dun­can, Min­is­ter of Sci­ence and Sport.

The other spe­cial guest was Olympic rower Marnie McBean, who was an­nounced as the Team Canada’s honourary cap­tain, and will be go­ing with them to the Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games.

“This whole process that they’re do­ing, they’re do­ing for the Olympians. You have to prove your­self, that you want to rep­re­sent Canada.”

The ath­letes will be re­turn­ing to the Teen Ranch fit­ness test­ing in the fu­ture, said Buck.

“We ac­tu­ally have what’s in the fit­ness test, so we can do what we need the most work on. They want us to bet­ter our scores in ev­ery­thing.”

The Cana­dian golfers - eight in to­tal - will also be go­ing to Phoenix, Ari­zona for four days to train in Fe­bru­ary.

“That’s our ac­tual golf train­ing camp. We’ll be golf­ing two days, and get­ting to know each other.”

Buck’s fa­ther will be his caddy/ coach.

“We thought they were go­ing to pro­vide cad­dies when we got there, so it was a shocker when my dad was told.”

The 2019 Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games take place March 14-21, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emi­rates. More than 7,000 ath­letes are ex­pected to at­tend, rep­re­sent­ing 170 coun­tries, with 20,000 volunteers.

“We’re look­ing at over 500,000 spec­ta­tors ex­pected,” said Buck. “That’s not in­clud­ing your friends, fam­ily and me­dia.”

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