Am I Really Helping My Junior?
It is in your nature as parent to want to see your child succeed. You have a quarter life-span worth of experience and wisdom and routinely ask yourself, “Is my child happy? Is my child growing/improving? Am I doing the right thing? Am I too involved in their activities? Am I not involved enough in their activities? How do I know? You ask yourself these things because you care. You want to see your child do well.
I am not a parent or psychologist. I am 26 years old. My intentions are not to tell you how to parent your child. I am writing as a golf coach to provide a guide on how assist your junior as parental coach mentally and emotionally in golf. The following is based off of observations, research, and heavy involvement in youth sports as a child.
Golf is unique in that it is a completely individual sport, requiring individual effort. It is a battle between humanity and nature. Unable to communicate with teammates or defenders, adjustments cannot be made based on their strengths or weaknesses. Complete responsibility falls on the golfer and their ability to make their own decisions, unleash creativity, and control emotions.
“But how can my 10-year-old do all of this by themselves?”
As humans, we learn from our mistakes and decision making. We tend to be more creative when our minds are free. Our thoughts are anchored in our brain by emotion, not mental discipline. We have a choice about which mindset will work for us. It’s up to our emotions to make that choice. This goes for a 4-year-old or an 84 year old.
Doing too much for your junior means they are not thinking for themselves. Their brain is racing with your voice, your thoughts, clashing opinions when they play golf. Your junior is not playing their game; they are playing yours. You may find that taking yourself out of play and their decision making can result in a more motivated junior, better relationship, and happier family unit.
“How do I take myself out of play? I don’t want my son or daughter to make a fool of themselves.”
Start by eliminating the following. Hovering over your junior during play you will make you look like the fool.
- Talking and telling during play
- Remind your junior of how they previously messed up a shot (ex: left last putt way short)
- Repeat your junior golfer’s golf lesson
- Writing 36 on their scorecard. Trust me, they are fully aware of this number.
- Share how much you’ve invested in your junior’s golf game
“Okay, now I feel like crap… what should I do?”
Follow these 3 simple rules:
- Ask, don’t tell
- “Where should I aim?” Respond with confidence: Where do you think?
- “How did I do today?” Response: How do you think you did?
- Set a goal that feels good
- “Play your best today!”
- Tip: if played better than last time, make it known!
- Increase your juniors positive outlook
- Re-wire brains to think of 3 positive takeaways every day on and off the golf course
Try giving this a shot. It will not be easy at first but I am confident it will help you, your junior, and your family in the long run.