The How to Do Anything Better Guide - page 2

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How to Improve Your Golf Game

Exercise and Sport Science Associate Professor Christian Thompson’s award-winning research suggests thatf2_advice_golf strengthening your core body muscles and improving balance will also improve your golf game. Follow these tips and do the following exercises to cut strokes off your game—and live a strong and healthy life.

Walk, don’t ride.Research has indicated that walking while playing golf can expend more than 1,000 calories. Additionally, research has demonstrated reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol in people who walk the golf course at least three days per week.

Warm up before you play. As soon as you arrive at the course, take a brisk walk around the clubhouse and practice area. This will help to warm up the muscles. Make sure you take time to hit some range balls and swing a weighted club. Research has indicated that a sport-specific warm-up helps to prepare the muscles and the brain to execute more effectively. This also helps wake you up for early morning tee times.

Three Moves to a Better Score

  • Floor Bridge Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Slowly lift the buttocks off the floor until there is a straight line between the knees and the shoulders. Engage the abdominals and gluteals. Hold for 20 seconds. Slowly return to the floor. Repeat four times to strengthen your core. If this is very easy, advance the exercise to the Single Leg Floor Bridge and use the same loading.
  • Ball Out of the Cup Start by standing on a single leg with a slight bend in the knee. Slowly squat down, bending at the knee and the hip (not just bending at the waist) with the opposite hand moving toward the toes of the stance leg. (Imagine you are taking a golf ball out of the cup after making a birdie!) Perform 12 repetitions on each leg to improve balance.
  • Squat Rotations Stand with legs shoulder-width apart. Hold dumbbells or another light weight at the shoulders. Slowly squat down as if you are going to sit in a chair. Then stand up while rotating to the left side. Allow yourself to come up on the right toe, as if you are following through on a golf shot. Press the weight diagonally overhead. Alternate sides and perform 15 repetitions each. Do at least two sets.

Whenever planning to get involved with an exercise program, consult your physician first.


How to Pair Wine With Food

f2_advice_wine_longFor novices trying to choose the right wine for a particular dish, the first rule is that there are no rules. So says Shelley Lindgren ’01, wine director and co-owner of San Francisco’s standout A16, a southern Italian trattoria in the Marina with a 350-bottle wine list stocked with many varietals most diners probably have never heard of. Lindgren put herself through USF by working at Fleur de Lys and later became wine director at Bacar. This fall she opened her second restaurant, SPQR, on Fillmore Street, and she is at work on an A16 wine and food cookbook.

When dining out, how do I choose from a long list of varietals I can’t even pronounce?
Let the wine director know what type of wine you like (dry, sweet, full-bodied, etc.) but keep an open mind. Trust him or her to make a recommendation. Never be afraid to ask for a certain price range, and, most importantly, don't be intimidated.

Do wines from a particular region generally go well with foods from the same region?
Yes, if it grows together, it goes together.

Are there some dishes that you just can’t drink wine with?
No, there’s a good wine for any dish out there.

What is the most basic rule of thumb to remember when pairing wine with food?
The weight of the dish and the weight of the wine should be similar. If you have a rich, heavy dish, a full-bodied wine is your best bet. Lighter dishes do well with more delicate wines.

What about flavors?
Your tongue can sense four basic tastes: sweet, salty, acid, and bitter. Typically, a wine should have similar flavors as the dish. That’s why desserts go well with sweet wines. But sometimes, the opposite also goes well. Gorgonzola cheese goes well with sweet wine, for example.


How to be a Better Date

About seven years ago, Fran Compagno, MS ’98, began offering her advice to coworkers on handling the nerve-f2_advice_datewracking world of dating. Her approach proved so popular—and helpful—that she packaged it into “The Fran Plan,” a six-part dating training plan that includes an image update and dating techniques. Here she offers her top five tips for how to be a better date—especially during a first date.

Have fun. A date should be fun, but it’s not the other person’s responsibility to make sure you enjoy yourself. “You have to be responsible for your own fun,” Compagno says. “To be a good date, you have to be the one who has fun.”

Be present. One common mistake is spending the entire date evaluating whether there will be a second date. “Don’t worry whether you’re going to go out with this person again,” she says. “Stay in the moment, don’t think about the future. Doing so just breeds distance and distrust.”

Keep conversation light. The first date is supposed to be light and fun—it’s not the time to air deep, dark secrets. That means no depressing or heavy conversations, particularly talk about previous relationship baggage. “Some people who are nervous about that and think it’s a major thing in their lives want to get it out early,” says Compagno. “There’s plenty of time. We don’t need to rush anything.”

Don’t drink too much. It sounds obvious, but Compagno says both men and women may end up drinking too much on a first date out of nerves. “It’s not pretty when someone’s drunk,” she says. “They’re sloppy and they say things they shouldn’t.”

Go in open-minded. The key is to go into a date in a good mood and without expectations. Spend time looking for connections with the other person. “Some people go in and look for the deal breaker. Don’t do that,” says Compagno. “Instead, look for the good stuff.”


How to Ace a Job Interview

f2_advice_interviewStorytelling is not just for kids. It’s also the key to acing a job interview.
That’s according to USF’s Priscilla A. Scotlan Career Services Center, which helps hundreds of students each year with résumés, interviews, and other job-seeking tasks. Associate Director Alex Hochman counsels job-seekers to have three to five stories ready to deliver during an interview. Hochman suggests the stories not only be work-related, but also answer standard interview questions such as your experience in dealing with an adverse situation, overcoming a difficult problem, or leading people.

The idea of using a story, says Hochman, is to inform and entertain. That way the interviewer is more likely to remember you even after interviewing dozens of other applicants.

If you can, tell the stories with humor and toss in any key phrases or other memorable details. (Worked as a waiter and Robin Williams was a steady customer? By all means, says Hochman, work that detail into a story.) The idea is to make yourself stand out as much as possible.

More tips:
Dress at the level you’re interviewing for or at one level above it–stopping short of a tuxedo. “Err on the side of caution when dressing for an interview,” says Hochman.

Arrive no more or less than 10 minutes before the interview. It’s a good idea to arrive at the general area with plenty of time to spare, but find a nearby café or other spot to relax and collect your thoughts beforehand.

Be aware of your behavior in the waiting room. Just because you’re not in the interview doesn’t mean you’re not being watched. Receptionists and others are always giving feedback. In other words, now’s not the time for that personal cell phone chat.

Research the company well before the interview. Learn everything you can about the company and the interviewer, if you have a name. Use that knowledge to ask insightful questions at the end (and always have a few questions ready).

Always send a thank-you note. This should be standard practice, says Hochman, but it’s not–and it could cost you the job. “That is a big deal breaker with a lot of people,” he says.

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