Introducing Kids to the Game of Golf.

Look for Teachable Moments (and stay half full)

The question… is the glass half full, or half empty? Bill Cosby answered the question like this…  “It depends on whether you’re pouring, or drinking.”  For parents it is imperative that we answering this question the correct way when teaching our child the game of golf

The Importance of being Half Full

In golf, especially over the course of teaching a child the game, it goes without saying you will be put into countless situations when you will not only feel “completely empty”, but also frustrated, angered, aggravated, etc.  The key thing to remember is throughout this journey it will be a complete rollercoaster and you will be tested.  And how you respond to these test may determine your child’s long-term (and short-term’s) interest in the game.

Two important reminders that I continually remind myself are i) keeping the end in mind (my goal to teach them a game they can play a lifetime) and ii) that children are fragile and I need to always be aware of the power of my words, actions and tone.

The goal for all parents… really strive to identify what I will call those “teachable moments.”

This past weekend, I had one of those teachable moments that tested my discipline in staying “half full.”  Ally was playing good golf in our club championship, cruising along at 1 over through 4 holes…and she just hit the green in 2 on the par 4, 5th hole.   Boom… out of nowhere Ally starts playing “ping pong” with her putter and ends up with a nice 5-putt triple bogey.  This glass of half (fill in the blank) milk was staring straight at me.

Here is the Teachable Moment

What potentially could have been a negative situation became a fantastic teachable moment.  Through these 5 putts, Ally learned 1 important lesson about putting.   As we were walking down the fairway on #6, Ally and I talked about what had happened and how we can learn from it.  She used words like “taking her time”, “not getting into a rush”, “she should have marked her ball”… all great stuff and it was a proud moment to see her apply learning so quickly.

Through this negative experience, Ally now has a positive experience from a negative situation that she can carry forward into future situations.  (see note below)

As a coach’s son, my father always used the losses as tools to drive higher performance with his players.  As a parent, I highly encourage parents to take the same approach… don’t get frustrated… think of these “5 putts” as hidden blessings.   This game provides you an opportunity to mold your youngster to not only a great golfer but an individual that learns important core values that will positively impact their lives for many years to come.

So said more directly, eat some cookies with that milk!

Enjoy – JB

Note – Today, Ally won the US Kids golf tournament and I am proud to say that she marked her ball every time she was not in her “kick-in” zone.  

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