As your young golfer evolves under the guidance of a PGA coach, it is imperative to understand some of the key factors that lead to long-term success.
A critical area as your child progresses into the Play to Improve and Play to Compete phases of the American Development Model is goal setting and planning. Younger kids may have goals, but for kids 3-11, the focus should be more on exploring the game and building motor skills.
After an initial “testing” of skills and an assessment of the student’s mental and emotional strengths and weaknesses, it is time to set short and medium term goals; 3, 6, 9, and 12 months are points in the process at which we re-evaluate the initial goals.
Longer-term goals, like a freshman high school student looking to get a college scholarship, remain fairly broad.
The short and medium term goals are building blocks for achieving the long term goals and should all be viewed as SMART goals.
Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
It can also be helpful to divide goals into three areas – mechanics / technique, mental / emotional, gaming / scoring.
Goals once set must no longer be set in stone. The game of golf is very dynamic with lots of moving parts, just like a teenager’s life, so be realistic about the need for flexibility in the process. This does not mean that adjustments are made for a student who is not doing the “work” or is straying from the path, but rather for future life situations or other areas that may require more attention than golf, such as school.
After setting goals, planning begins. The most important thing in the planning phase is to learn the student’s schedule and especially the realistically available time to work on their game. It is important to be realistic about what is possible from a practical point of view, and to estimate the time as a guide for a further path.
Personal teaching time is important, whether it be 1, 2 or more hours per week, but even more important is the time a student spends alone. Simply put, you won’t get very far without sticking to your coach’s plan and taking responsibility for your own success.
Communicating with your coach during this process is also crucial, but that is a topic for a future article.
After all, fun should always be the focus of your trip. While the word “work” has been mentioned a few times in this piece, it certainly shouldn’t be a negative word.
Work hard and have fun!
Find a trainer
Take the next step on your golf trip by connecting with a PGA coach in your area.