If you are reading this page, I am going to assume you have at least one junior golfer in your family. I have coached many juniors over the years and have witnessed parents who are fantastic and others who had an adverse affect on their kid’s lives and games.
There are two goals I have for my students who are junior golfers. In order of importance to me:
- That they develop into great human beings who are:
- Hard working
- Show great etiquette and respect for others and the game
- Great role models for the next generation of juniors
- Good students and work hard at school
- That they enjoy golf and reach their potential.
If these goals are met, your child will be a great member of the community and will have great opportunities to move to the next level in golf (university or professional) or will have a foundation in golf that will let them enjoy the game for the rest of their lives.
Job of the Coach
- Provide a checklist of the skills needed to play elite golf
- Short Game
- Mental Game
- Tournament Preparation
- Time Management
- Scholarship Pursuit and university selection
- Equipment needs
- Provide guidance on how to improve the various skills, raising them to elite standards
- Counsel the parents on their job and answer questions
Job of a Golf Parent
- Provide Unconditional Love and Support
- Reward effort and not scores
- Focus on positives of the junior’s game
- Studies have shown, on a typical day, a child will hear 453 negative comments and only 15 positive ones.
- Every time you speak to them, decide which total you want to contribute to
- Contribute to a junior golfers “golf esteem” in a positive way.
- To play great golf under pressure, a player must have a very well established belief in their abilities as a golfer
- This belief must be overwhelmingly positive if a player is to expect greatness from themselves
- Humans remember bad things 3 times as easily as good things. Every time we input a bad memory into our “mental filing cabinet”, we have to put in 3 good memories just to get back to even.
Good Pre-Tournament comments:
- “Give each shot your best today”
- “Focus where you want the ball to go”
- “You’ve worked hard to get ready, now go have fun”
Good Post Round Comments:
- “How was your day?” - Let them decide how to describe it.
- If they answer with a score, ask “was it a good score or a poor score today?”
- “Did you try your best?”
- “Did you have fun?”
- “What did you learn today?” This is a great question regardless of how they played. It breeds a get better everyday mentality.
- “What were the best shots you hit today?”
- “If you could go back in time, how far back would you go and what would you do differently?”
Biggest mistakes I have witnessed:
- Pushing the child beyond their dreams or motivation. Remember, if this isn’t their dream, no matter how much talent they have, it will not end well.
- Giving rewards based on scores and not effort
- Focusing on mistakes made rather than positives
- Taking on the role of coach and worse yet, contradicting the coach. If you don’t like what your coach is doing, speak with him or her. If it continues, find a new coach.
- Getting advice from too many coaches, leading to confusion for the athlete.
- Having the child specialize in golf too early in life. I believe, and a lot of research supports this belief that children who specialize too early are overly susceptible to injury as their body will develop imbalances. I coach with the mind that kids should develop movement skills first and then sport specific skills later.
- Making the child use ill-fitted equipment, typically too long and heavy. Along the same lines, moving up to adult clubs too early because the child wants the “cool” clubs.
- Rushing to get a “full set”. Kids learn a lot of creativity and game management skills when they only have a partial set.
- Moving the child to longer courses before they can shoot under par. PLEASE, let your child play the front tees as often as possible until they regularly shoot under par. To be great someday, they will need to comfortable with being under par.
Please check back often, as I will be adding to this page all the time. Please let me know if you have any questions about your child’s development as a golfer.