The Indian River Golf Foundation (IRGF) has been in existence since November 1, 2008. Over 30 “pilot programs” have been tested to determine needs within the golf community. Emphasis has been on enhancing the enjoyment of the game for existing players and attracting new players. Programs include junior golfers through senior golfers….boys & girls…..men & women. The theme running though each golf program is TPC (training, practice and competition).
Opportunities to Teach and Learn
As the IRGF moves forward, there are numerous opportunities for teaching and learning. The obvious learning is in the understanding of how to play the game, development of skills, competition, appreciating the traditions of the game and having FUN. Equally important are the opportunities to develop life skills. There are many ups and downs as one learns to play the game and work towards “bringing it to the next level”. This process involves input and assistance from parents, friends, coaches and others who want young players to succeed. It is the player, however, that must balance out all that is going on. They are the captain. They are the ones who must decide how they are going to proceed…..how they are going to deal with successes and failures. Young players will have to ultimately decide their definition of character. All successful people in life have had to go through the same process. There are no exceptions.
Good Intentions – Parents and Coaches
Parents and coaches have good intentions. Some understand the process every young player must go through and recognize the levels of their involvement. Each parent-child or coach-player situation is different. There are no two alike. Players must strive to the point that they are in charge. They must decide how to manage the learning process. When a bad shot is hit……decide what is to be learned here? Do I as a player really know how to execute that shot? Has there been enough devoted enough time in developing that shot ……or, is this all to be expected because it is part of learning the game and playing competitive golf? It is important young players know when to swallow their pride and ask for professional instruction.
The best thing that can happen out of all teaching moments is the emphasis on FUN! The coach of a successful youth golf program once stated that he makes sure his players have fun. He goes on to say that while they are having fun, young players will learn and develop their skills without realizing it.
Parents can best contribute in this regard by being supportive, interested and encouraging. Be sympathetic when your child does not do well and remain focused on the child’s emotional development. Do not contribute to added pressure to perform. Young players have enough pressure of their own. They are doing the best they can.
If this is all true, then young players, parents and coaches need to understand there is a time and place for this learning process to take place. Young players may say to their parents……. “thank you for your input”…. “thank you for making this all happen for me”…. “thank you for your best wishes”….but I need to take the responsibility for progressive development on my own…..as a player and as a responsible citizen.
Share Your Experiences
The sharing of parents experience and wisdom in the development of their child as a person is very important. All they would ask is that you give them the opportunity to develop and learn during all situations including their successes and set-backs. If you feel like you need to correct or counsel them, please do so in private. Let them demonstrate their preparedness to set their own course for building their own character in the core values of:
Honesty/Trust Perseverance Integrity Respect Confidence Responsibility
Judgment Sportsmanship Courtesy Presentation Leadership
Young players should be encouraged to recognize each of these traits. These traits will define who they are and how they will be perceived by others.
Behavioral Traits Parents Should Practice
1) Stay involved in a positive way
2) Put the emphasis on enjoying the opportunity to play and compete …..not winning.
3) Be extremely supportive, interested and encouraging
4) Be sympathetic….not critical….when things don’t go well
5) Try to remain focused on emotional development
6) Forbid cheating and lack of sportsmanship
7) Discourage hot tempers, angry mental behavior and vulgarity if it happens, discipline accordingly.
8) Stress that golf is a lifetime sport and to have FUN!
9) Look relaxed and comfortable on the course….never showing expressions of disappointment or get upset.
10) Unless you are the coach, rarely attend instruction sessions with your child.
If you practice these simple rules of life, you will be more of a success as a parent.