The locations of The Junior Golf Academy are carefully chosen because we want to create a supporting environment for juniors and a welcoming environment for parents. Fundamental to developing a good pool of talented and enthusiastic juniors is creating the supportive environment they need and the opportunity to LEARN, TRAIN & COMPETE and with that we will help them develop the right attitude.

We expect staff, fellow juniors, parents and adult members to encourage and advise the kids as they develop their awareness of standards, respect, rules and etiquette on and off the course. A certain amount of nurturing will be needed by parents and some of our more experienced players until players are “course competent” and “course savvy” so they can be left to play on their own. This is as much as we expect of parents along with plenty of encouragement. Let the players stand on their own two feet, let them take ownership and encourage them as much as possible. Let us do the coaching.

Finally. We are not just here to create good golfers but good people also… golf positively teaches us good mental, social and behavioral habits. Whilst we want everyone to become the next Rory Mcllroy & Charlie Hull, what is more important is that we develop respectful, well rounded and hard working kids who love this great game more than their phones and computers. We have some great roll models at the academy who our younger juniors can learn from and aspire to become.

BEHAVOURAL EXPECTATIONS OF PARENTS

Supporting Your Child – Our Top 10 Do’s & Don’ts

Top 10 Parenting DO’S

1. Reinforce with your child to be a good sport. For example emphasise shaking hands after a round no matter how bitter the contest, and never belittling someone to make yourself feel better.

2. Limit your conversations about golf. Let them know you are interested, but also interested in all aspects of their lives!

3. Have realistic expectations for your child’s success in golf. Try to be objective when your child is not being picked for teams or struggling with their performances. They are not mini-adults; they are maturing young people who make many mistakes (that’s how they learn) as well as doing many great things (sometimes in the same day!).

4. Support the coach and don’t try to coach your child! Especially from the sidelines during a round. Coaching your child, unless you are a part of the coaching staff, makes it very easy to confuse and frustrate the child. It can undermine the coach and destroy coach-athlete trust. Be cautious of over-coaching and employing too many coaches unless they are:

a. specialist area coaches (physio, strength and conditioning, putting, psychology,         technical)

b. Part of the coaching team where all will feedback/communicate with the lead golf       coach.

5. Keep it fun. Try not to take golf too seriously. You will ruin it for your child and they will feel pressure if you are too critical, controlling, or overbearing. Keep it light!

6. Push to follow through on commitments, work hard, and be a good person. This is the time to challenge your child – when they want to take a short cut that does not show commitment to the sport or the coach. Pushing, however, to win is not healthy and will only create issues between you and your child.

7. Have them play for their reasons, not yours. Keep in mind that your child wants to be independent from you in some ways, and yet have your support. For certain, in golf let their goals drive their level of involvement. This will lead to less frustration and arguments.

8. Remain calm and composed during rounds. Avoid shouting at them or officials. Children find it very frustrating and embarrassing when parents shout at officials, or lose their composure in the stands. There is enough pressure on these kids to perform as it is. Your added pressure from reacting to mistakes they make, being critical and negative, and just too emotional create unneeded stress and take away from the fun of the game.

9. Support, support, support! Support your child in many different ways. Listen to them when they need to be heard after a tough round or practice. Challenge them when they are exhibiting a bad attitude. Confirm what they are going through is normal in sport. Be empathetic. Never make them feel guilty about “your sacrifices” for them to play. There are some many more ways to support than just paying for them to play, transporting them, or giving them tactical advice.

10. Make your love and support unconditional and never contingent on performance. The biggest issues between parents and their children often come when the parent makes the child feel like their encouragement and love is contingent on their performances. No matter how your son or daughter plays be encouraging, give them a hug, let them know you love them even if they score over 100, top a tee shot, get a rule wrong etc. A coach can help them with that; the parent needs to play his or her role and support.

 

Top 10 Parenting DONT’S

1. 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.

2. Tell your child their opponent(s) aren’t good and they should beat them. Again, this sets up an expectation that you cannot fail. What happens when they get behind? The pressure heats up! Focus on effort, good decision making with tactics, improvement, fun, and being a good sport. Have them him focus on his own game!

3. 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 coaching is 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.

4. 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, the coach will instruct them.

5. 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 the 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.

6. 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, especially when they can no longer play the sport that they love competitively.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. Exert pressure to win. This is a no-brainer. When you, the parent, pressure to win you are creating an expectation that your child does not have complete control over. This expectation creates stress and negative emotion for the child. 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.

10. 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 yourself and your child the pain. Instead, push on striving academically – in a positive way, of course.