Build an Athlete, Then a Golfer
All parents want their kids to succeed, right? As parents we need to understand that succeeding doesn’t necessarily mean playing pro sports, or being in a famous band. Sometimes it just means having fun and learning life lessons along the way. My dad was a middle school PE teacher for 32 years and coached football and baseball. Do you know how many of those kids went on to become professional athletes? Just two.
One thing I love about golf is that it can teach you a lot of great life lessons. Humility, integrity, courtesy, and hard work are some of the things that stand out right away. Also, golf is a game that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Developing good habits at a young age can save you a lot of frustrations later on. But, to be a good golfer, you first need to be a good athlete. I was fortunate enough to have parents that understood this. You want to get your kids into as many sports as they’re willing to learn. Soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, track are all great sports to learn the fundamentals of being an athlete. What are those fundamentals? Things like throwing, catching, running, kicking, swimming, jumping are all integral parts of an athlete. The more time spent doing this at young age the better athlete you’re going to develop.
Kids should not be sport specific (only focusing on one sport) until they reach the early years of high school. I see way too many kids now starting at the age of 8 play baseball year round. They’ll be on several different teams throughout the year, travel all over, and focus on nothing but baseball. This only leads to burnout and injuries. Major League Baseball published a report showing an alarming rate of Tommy John surgeries which is caused by overuse of the elbow. Two pitches from the Little League World Series went on to have the surgery following the season AT JUST 14 YEARS OLD!
Save your kids these frustrations and let them do as many things as possible. See what catches, and let them have fun doing it. Trust me, they’ll thank you in the long run.
Brian D. Joyner
Class A PGA Teaching Professional, Carolinas PGA Section
1(252)772-7022 ext 2