Parents want to support their children in everything. Of course, everyone wants their child to be successful and good at what they do. But sometimes the “support” gets out of hand or doesn't really help the child at all, it just builds up more pressure.
US Kids Golf wants to counteract this and trains coaches to give parents tips on how they can best support their children. A partner of US Kids Golf is the Positive Coaching Alliance, which wants to help parents in the form of an online course.
I, Martin Rentenberger, am also certified for this and want to give you a few tips.
- Show your child sportiness. Say "Nice Shot" or "Good Putt" when another player does something well. Encourage your child to do the same. Congratulate / shake hands with the other parents and players after the round. This is how your child learns to do the same.
- Resist the temptation to criticize each stroke and to instruct your child in competitions. Ask your child if they want to talk about it after the round. If your child doesn't want to talk about it, try to respect their decision.
- When your child is ready to speak about the round of gold, listen and take an active part in the conversation. Encourage your child's self-esteem with statements like "I know you were disappointed that you didn't play well, but one thing I love about you is that you are a person who doesn't give up and tries their best again next time.”
- After a tournament or an important round of golf, be ready to praise your child honestly and specifically. For example, by saying: “It was great how you played the par after playing a double bogey on the previous hole. That showed how focused you play and how hard you try.”
- When setting goals with your child, be sure to set goals for performance as well as goals for results. A good performance and effort goal, for example, would be to praise the player for the flawless implementation of course management.
- Make sure that your child puts more emphasis on improving their own abilities rather than comparing themselves to other players. Growth and development progress at different speeds in children and that should also be clear to your child. Parents who praise self-improvement efforts can help their children derive joy from their progress over time.
- Emphasize pleasure and fun rather than the goal of winning. Research with young athletes has shown that the main focus is on having fun. Simply put, children want to do sports to have fun. And when the fun of the sport disappears, the children will also stop playing.
- Studies with some top athletes have shown that top performers have often waited to specialize in a sport until they were 14 or even older. Many PGA and LPGA TOUR Champions have practiced several sports during their school years. Encourage your child to pursue other interests besides golf.
- Don't live out your dreams through your child. All parents identify with their children to a certain extent and therefore want them to be good at what they do. Sometimes that happens too much. To prevent this, try not to define your self-esteem in terms of your children's success.
- Let your child know that you love them unconditionally, whatever the outcome, at every possible opportunity.
Important for children is: have fun, play golf!