The 1% Podcast

Robbie Cannon

  • 01

    Robbie Cannon

    Athletic performance on and off the golf course Lincoln Recruitment Specialists


My guest today is Robbie Cannon.

Robbie Cannon (@RobbieCannon) a qualified strength and conditioning coach, is probably best known for his performance work with golf Open Champion Shane Lowry. An accomplished golfer himself, he practices what he preaches and is three times Irish amateur golf champion.   

Cannon through his company Cannon Performance works with golfers on the PGA and European Tour, as well as elite amateurs and the Irish golf men’s and ladies’ national squads. Outside golf, he has trained elite athletes from many different sports, and this year Robbie is head of strength and conditioning for the Tipperary senior football team. 

Enjoy this wide-ranging conversation about his career to date, insights into peak conditioning for golfers, working with the Tipperary football team, and Shane Lowry’s plans for 2020 including qualification for this year’s Ryder Cup.




Show Summary


2:26 Robbie’s sports background

  • His early interest in sports and coaching
  • Playing soccer and Gaelic football
  • How golf came into his life when he was 14
  • Why kids should try out several different sports
  • His first championships and first wins

5:00 Shane Lowry

  • The steps in his strength and conditioning program
  • The most noticeable effect of his training: hitting the ball further
  • His 63 at the 2019 Royal Portrush Open: “I think it was the best round of golf in a major tournament”
  • The electricity of the crowd that day
  • Robbie’s memories of the pre-win night: “He seemed so relaxed and composed”
  • All the elements that were in his favour that weekend

10:45 Mental preparation and confidence

  • The help Shane gets from his wife Wendy and daughter Iris
  • The importance of staying in the moment
  • Coach Neil Manchip’s skill: staying calm and keeping things in perspective

12:16 Confidence

  • Shane’s affinity for big tournaments and tough courses
  • The confidence that comes with returning to a tournament and course that he’s won before

14:42 Caddies

  • The sudden end of Shane’s relationship with his caddie Dermot Byrne
  • Working with new caddie Brian “Bo” Martin
  • Bo’s qualities and how they complement Shane
  • How Bo has forced Shane to do more work on the course

16:54 The team surrounding elite athletes

  • The bond between the members of the team
  • Remembering a fun tournament trip to Hong Kong
  • The importance of having fun together

18:55 Shane’s goals for 2020

  • Upcoming tournament at West Palm Beach
  • His performances in Mexico and Hong Kong
  • Aiming towards the Ryder Cup
  • Shane and Pádraig Harrington’s friendship and his desire to see Shane play in the Ryder Cup

21:32 Shane and Robbie’s work schedule

22:23 Young players

  • Playing with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry as teenagers
  • What stood out about them? “They just had the X factor”
  • Their confidence and professional attitude “They just had an unbelievable desire to compete”

24:37 Adapting training to each individual

  • The advantages of playing sports while young
  • Why assessments are important

25:52 General physical advice for golfers

  • Things to focus on:
    • Movement in the thoracic spine (T-spine)
    • Hip movement
    • Leg strength
    • Core stability
  • The problems caused by sitting down all day
  • Causes of common back pain

28:03 Training for golfers

  • Gary Player, the “father of fitness” for golfers
  • A typical training routine for golfers
  • Reducing injuries

29:32 “Beach body” muscles

  • The consequences of building muscles for looks and not for performance
  • Robbie’s regrets: giving up other sports and not training well enough when young

32:45 Ireland’s amateur scene

  • Players are younger
  • More people playing professionally means less drinking and partying
  • How they can support themselves financially
  • Tour life and why it’s not for everyone
  • What it takes to “make it”

37:27 From golf to GAA

  • Getting started as the strength and conditioning coach with Tipperary
  • Starting his work with teams with the Fingal hurling team
  • The importance of having good chemistry with the team

40:12 Squad assessments

  • How getting to know a squad is the same as getting to know a player
  • Why it can be difficult to accurately learn about each player’s injuries

41:58 All-Irelands

  • Dublin vs Kerry and the effect of Kerry’s lower training age

43:07 Injuries

  • Why injury risk reduction should come before performance training
  • Stephen Smith and Kitman Labs’ contribution to the field
  • The economic cost of injury to teams
  • The importance of PE in schools

46:37 Training in season/off season

  • Seasonal training cycles in golf and Gaelic football

48:10 Coaching priorities

  • A good coach should be “ticking all the boxes”
  • Recent trends: focusing only on mobility or speed
  • Social media’s role in boosting specific products

49:31 Speed

  • How genetics influence speed
  • The example of the Kenyan runner who won races and jumps thanks to genetics alone
  • Irish genetics and which sports they help with

52:13 Mindset

  • Why goal-setting has to come from within
  • The importance of daily planning
  • Robbie’s journaling practice and the correlation between success and journaling
  • Why writing by hand is more effective

56:27 Technology in sports

  • “If the basics aren’t done right the technology can be a waste of time”
  • Why old-fashioned metrics can be more effective

58:17 Cannon Performance

  • The company’s goal: helping athletes at all levels

59:42 Practicing

  • What it means to practice correctly
  • The importance of being fully focused
  • Inspiration: Tristan Harris’ Ted Talk on distraction

1:01:15 Time management

  • Robbie’s daily and weekly planning
  • His short but focused practices

1:02:17 Lessons from sport for business

  • “I just try and enjoy it”

1:03:22 Mindfulness

  • Robbie’s mindfulness practice and its challenges
  • The benefits of being alone with your thoughts

1:04:39 Future plans

  • Playing in the West of Ireland and as many more championships as possible
  • Working with Seamus Duffy


  • Alternate career choice: CIA agent or detective
  • Current curiosity: The bad weather
  • Most influential book: The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck
  • Best advice received: To not worry about what people think of you – “If you died tomorrow, who would be at your funeral?”