Kids are naturally curious and constantly learning. Even though you were a big athlete in high school or college, your child may not follow in your footsteps athletically. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce them to various sports and provide access to a multitude of outdoor activities.
As a golf instructor, a father and a grandfather, I have personally witnessed parents pushing their child to perform in a sport. The child may have shown some aptitude in a particular endeavor and the parents want to make them a star at the young age of 12.
Unless the child is fully invested in the sport they will resist and resent their parents for pushing them too far.
Everyone thinks their child is going to be the next Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan or Mickey Mantle, but beware you have better odds of winning the lottery than of that actually happening.
Here are a few tips for introducing your child to golf, that can be applied to any sport or activity.
- Make it fun.
Children have short attention spans and their minds need to be constantly stimulated to keep them engaged. Playing nine holes on a regulation golf course will take too much time and be too slow for their overloaded minds.
Keep it simple, spend time on the practice green or chipping area. Make up a contest to chip into a hula hoop or hold a putting contest.
This will move much quicker and keep the child’s interest.
- Let them pick the activity.
If you constantly drag them to the golf course and force feed them golf, they will resist and be resentful of your efforts.
Although he ultimately gravitated to golf, Jordan Spieth played multiple sports growing up. Every sport or athletic activity helps children develop coordination, timing and competitive drive. All of which will ultimately lead to improved golfing skills, if and when the child decides to pursue the game.
- Provide Positive Feedback.
Every child seeks the approval and attention of his/her parent. If you are at the golf course with your child, don’t work on your game. Spend time with the child and make it about them. Acknowledge a good shot and help them enjoy the game. It is amazing how fast children can improve with a minimal amount of coaching.
The best advice for helping your child to find a sport is to introduce them to a variety of sports. But always, keep it short, simple and FUN!
If they seem interested, then seek out professional training. Even though you were a big jock in school, your child will respond better to a professional instructor.
Your children won’t be kids for long, help them find their interests. They will appreciate your efforts, rather than resent you for forcing them to do something they don’t enjoy.