Parents Guide to Golf
Top 10 DON'TS
10. Focus the majority of conversations on Golf.
If your conversations with your child are dominated by their golf then they will recognise how important it is to you, even if you say it isn’t. This creates pressure.
9. Tell your child their opponent(s) aren’t good and they should beat them.
Again, this sets up an expectation that 'you can't fail'. What happens when they get behind? Pressure increases! Focus should be on their own game; effort, good decision making, tactics, improvement, fun, and being a good sport.
8. Coach your child from the sidelines.
As much as you may know about the game allow the Coach to do their job. Your coaching, unless well choreographed and based on what the coaches are saying, will only serve to confuse and frustrate your child. They will have a hard time trusting what the coach is telling them to do.
7. Criticise your child or even give your analysis after the game.
Allow your child some space to get over the round, calm down, and enjoy the time with their friends and reflecting on their performance. You want your child to learn lessons from golf, right? Well they will learn faster if you allow them to deal with it and then facilitate their ability to learn from the game and move on by asking questions and listening. Furthermore, your child knows when they have made a mistake. If not, their Coach can help.
6. Treat your child differently dependent upon whether he or she won or lost (or how they performed).
What message are we sending when after a good round we go get ice cream and after a poor one we go directly home? That when you play poorly you don’t deserve a treat – again, cranking up the importance and the pressure unintentionally. Be careful how you respond to your child after a round. Follow your post-round plans if possible. Maybe dinner won’t be as happy after a bad performance, but you will be exhibiting to your child that their treatment and your support are not contingent upon their performance. Also, you will be teaching a good lesson about emotional control, learning to lose with class, and moving on from tough performances.
5. Allow golf to dominate your child’s life.
Why? It is good to have great passion and pursue lofty goals. No doubt. At the same time, you want your child to learn balance in life. They will someday have to juggle being a father/mother, husband/wife, employee, boss, etc. More immediately, it is healthy for your child to consider themselves more than athletes. They should see themselves as a good student, a son or daughter, a brother or sister, a friend... and treat these roles with the importance they deserve. Moreover, having other pursuits will allow them to deal with the frustrations of sport.
4. Control all decision making relating to Golf.
Children want to have some say in their lives. They are looking to take more control. As a golf parent you want to allow your child to make decisions about his or her commitment to playing golf including the routines they need to follow to prepare for a round as well as take care of homework and studying. If you control everything they will resent you for it.
3. Consider your child’s Golf an investment for which you should receive something in return.
With pay-to-play golf becoming ever more commonplace it is easy to fall into this trap. Parents make an investment in time, money, transportation as well as emotional investment. However, do your best to not make your child feel like they need to perform because of your investment. Let them know that you will happily do all of these things no matter how they perform.
2. Exert pressure to win.
This is a no-brainer. When you pressure your child to win you are creating an expectation that your child does not have complete control over. This expectation creates stress and negative emotion. Again, focus on effort, sportsmanship, and things they can control. Then they can feel like a success in your eyes. Ultimately, that’s what every child longs for.
1. Put your interests ahead of your child’s interests.
Whenever you child plays Golf, be supportive. Go to tournaments and encourage them. Listen to them discuss their triumphs and frustrations. Always let them play for their own reasons not yours. Maybe you were an intense, driven athlete and maybe your child is not, and instead is happy with being a good club player. It’s their life let them live it. There is a fine line here. You want to teach your child to commit to a goal and pursue it with hard work and dedication. However, if your child has not shown the intense interest in Golf and has not for some time, save your self and your child the pain. Instead, push on striving academically – in a positive way, of course :)
Looking for more advice?
Now that you've read our Top 10 Don'ts, why not take a look at our Top 10 Parenting Do's and our Golf Parent Video, where we explain Vision54's concepts on how you can support your Junior Golfer: