Here at UK Kids Golf we are committed to not only providing great golfing opportunities for your young golfer but also the information you require to make their relationship with golf a long term success. We have teamed up with a number of leading experts in the fields of Nutrition, Fitness, Psychology and Coaching to make sure you have everything you need to keep your kid on course.
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For parents/guardians and coaches supporting young golfers is a both privilege and a huge responsibility. I believe that the challenge is to cultivate their skills while sustaining their interest. The key is preserving the fun of playing the game. Based upon the last ten years of watching and helping young golfers develop, I've come up with seven tips that parents/guardians might find useful in helping them to meet this challenge.
1. Ask not what they can do for you but what you can do for them
You may well be a golfer yourself, indeed you may well be a very good golfer. You may well have honed your posture, grip, swing plane, ball strike, balance and so on. All of which are fundamental to playing well.
To the fertile, inquisitive mind of a child hitting golf balls, having the correct grip is likely to be drudgery. They really just want to have fun. Let them explore the game on their own at the outset. Follow them around and explain the things they're curious about. The rule of thumb is this: You are there to do what they want to do, not what you want them to do.
2. Do more 'playing' than teaching
A typical 6-9 year old's attention span is very short. We know this from everyday life. In terms of playing golf they don't really focus until the ball is on the tee. Any lesson should not last longer than 30 minutes. Furthermore, the 30 minutes should be broken down into 10 minutes of actual teaching and 20 minutes of playing. I don't mean playing in the golf sense; I mean drawing faces on your golf gloves or playing catch with a golf ball. The idea is for the child to equate going to the golf course with fun. This may be difficult, especially if you're paying for the lesson. But the if it's fun children will want to learn more as they get older.
3. Celebrate, smile and laugh at every opportunity
Enthusiasm and excitement, felt and expressed without restraint, increases the child's desire to please, learn and excel.
4. Kids speak
Really simplify how you communicate things as much as possible. Don't explain the point Use visuals aids. Instead of working on "the strike" you work on hitting the tee placed ahead of the ball out of the ground. Paint dots on the grips where the thumbs should be.
5. Tee it up
To establish an early pattern of success and therefore fun, tee the ball on every shot with every club.
6. Never, ever criticise
Criticism is not fun. It implies the child did something wrong, as opposed to merely doing something incorrrectly. If they hit a good shot, you say, "Good shot." If they hit a bad shot, you say, "Good swing."
7. Make a big deal out of the short game
It's rare to see an adult who uses the practice green as much as the practice range. This chronic neglect of chipping and putting is a mistake you don't want to make with a young child. The rule is this: Never walk past the practice green with a child. Walk on it, then use it. Heighten the child's curiosity about this vital part of the game, and then let the child pursue it.
Founder UK Kids Golf
Author: Simon Jackson