Today, I see so many golf parents invested in their child’s golf game to the point that the junior golfer no longer owns his/her game. This can be difficult on the junior golfer because he/she never feels good enough to meet the parent’s expectations. The parents will “swear” they don’t “push” their junior golfer but all you need to do is look at the parent’s body language while their junior golfer is playing and you will see the parent faces and hand gestures create an environment of frustration for the junior golfer. The child receives this information as not meeting their parent’s expectations so I must be a failure. In other words, they are performing for their parents and not themselves.
Parents: Try not showing any responses except those of encouragement. “Thumbs up with a big smile”. Even when the short putt was just missed. The first thing the junior golfer will look to is the parent and it’s the parent’s job to say “It’s ok! Maybe it was a misread but the stroke is getting better”. Leave the child with wanting to improve the next time he/she is in that situation. You always leave the green with a smile and upbeat. The previous hole is over and you can’t get it back to change things. “LEARN FROM THE PAST TO PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE! More little putts will be missed but dealing with it in a teachable moment is far better than allowing the child to think he/she failed and didn’t meet your expectation. Be realistic with the junior’s skill level and build a good repour of encouragement to prepare for the future holes to be played.
The junior super star golf program has an answer for owning your game. The junior golfer is given a 10 ball challenge on a specific task like chipping from 10 ft. into a 6 foot diameter circle. Each ball in the circle is rewarded with star. The more stars with successful attempts made, the colors of the stars change to silver and gold stars! When the 10 ball challenge is finished, the junior golfer puts the stars in his/her book DOCUMENTING their progress. How does the child know they are getting better if we don’t quantify it? By having them produces the results by themselves, they now own their progress!
Kathy Padgett, LPGA
Junior Super Star Golf