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Advice for My 13 Yr Old Son Before His First Ever Match...


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#1 cohenfive

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:23 PM

my son has gotten the bug big time, as is evidenced by all the clubs we now have all over the house!! anyway, he's tremendously improved in his second full year of playing and in fact at his first practice for his middle school team his coach asked him to play in the first match. they take the top 6 guys to play in matches out of the 24 on the team, and last year he was one of the worst. he's never played a competitive match before and in fact turned down the coach until he plays an 'official' match with me next week. i think all he wants to do is to go through one 'match' with me to get a feel for what it's like before he tells the coach yes.

for those that have gone through this, i'd love to hear any words of wisdom and advice that i can share with my son in order to help him get a handle on what this is going to be like. i have my own experiences from when i was in high school (he's in 8th grade) but they are so stale that coming from others who have gone through this recently might be helpful in getting him over the hesitancy he has. thanks, this is very exciting to me as a dad.


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#2 Furrankee

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

View Postcohenfive, on Mar 26 2008, 12:23 PM, said:

my son has gotten the bug big time, as is evidenced by all the clubs we now have all over the house!! anyway, he's tremendously improved in his second full year of playing and in fact at his first practice for his middle school team his coach asked him to play in the first match. they take the top 6 guys to play in matches out of the 24 on the team, and last year he was one of the worst. he's never played a competitive match before and in fact turned down the coach until he plays an 'official' match with me next week. i think all he wants to do is to go through one 'match' with me to get a feel for what it's like before he tells the coach yes.

for those that have gone through this, i'd love to hear any words of wisdom and advice that i can share with my son in order to help him get a handle on what this is going to be like. i have my own experiences from when i was in high school (he's in 8th grade) but they are so stale that coming from others who have gone through this recently might be helpful in getting him over the hesitancy he has. thanks, this is very exciting to me as a dad.

I remember those days playing in match plays.

I think the biggest thing in terms of experience I've had as a youth, is to create "mini goals" during the match play.

- to win this hole
- to hit a low shot left of the hole
- to make this putt
- to chip it close
- to play it safe

You would not be surprised to have over 100 mini-goals during a match.

Creating mini-goals during the match will allow him to narrow his focus if he gets lost during the match. And accomplishing some or most of these mini goals will create the "fun" needed to enjoy the game.

Work on technique on the range. Work on goals on the range. Accomplish those goals on the course.

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#3 golferjoey3

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 03:01 PM

just tell him to have fun-i know personally i play better when im just screwing around with my friends. If he can just imagine like his opponent is you or one of his friends it might help him relax and play better

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#4 beachgrovejunior

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:10 PM

tell him to go out there and play his game, its just High school golf, and just have fun.

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#5 gardnerfuller

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 04:17 PM

Do not get wrapped up in what other in your group are shooting, focus and put forth maximum effort on every shot and thats all you can do


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#6 joeb

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 07:09 PM

-Make sure not to dwell on your mistakes and that to think about the shot at hand.  With all his peers around him he will probably be scared not to hit a bad shot and not make a fool of himself.  Make sure not to think about that, but about more positive things.  
-One mental coach one said that your brain cannot discriminate based on good or bad things.  For example, if you say"don't go in the water" your brain is still thinking about the water, making it much more likely that you will go there.  Focus on where you want to hit it, not where you don't want to hit it.
-Whatever happens, just keep practicing, there's always next match.

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#7 GOLF FTW

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 08:04 PM

never think past the shot that is in the present.

never, ever. i repeat, never ever think. "ok, if i shoot a 35 on the back i can stay in this"

imho, its a recipe for crash and burn.

also, stay in your own game, dont think about those other guys etc.

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#8 LimestoneGolfer1

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:10 PM

just tell him to trust his game and don't hit a shot until he's fully committed

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#9 rattler917

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:19 PM

Relax, stay loose, keep your head down over the ball and up when it's some else's turn   :)

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#10 jmbgolfer

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:01 AM

Last year as a freshmen I was in a similar experience, my first high school match and I was playing varsity. The first hole I hit a good drive and flew a sand wedge over the green. I was very upset but my coach came over to me and told me just to relax and trust the swing you know you have and commit to every shot. I then went on to shoot 36. The only thing you can do is prepare the hardest you can and once you get out there don't try to change anything and trust yourself.


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#11 cohenfive

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:37 PM

i appreciate all the advice and am going to send the link to this thread to my son to read....

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#12 Adam Brewer

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:37 PM

-just stay loose.
-try not to pay attention to your score.
-its good to keep in mind that "The only shot that counts is the one that I'm about to hit." that way you don't get caught up in everything that could distract your mind from the round at hand.

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#13 itsSKYLINEtime

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:54 PM

Tell him to just play his game and more importantly HAVE FUN

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#14 The Ultimate Spin

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:10 PM

I remember my first match, it was kind of nerve racking.  First and foremost make sure your out there to have fun, because that is what high school golf should be.  Second, play your game.  It will be hard for him not to get into a ego driven club choice, make him feel confident about his own game.  Also, wrecks happen!  Tell him not to get discouraged when it happens.  And lastly, just tell him your proud that he is playing and wish him luck!

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#15 SV Golfer

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 08:02 PM

I play high school golf as well so I can relate.  Tell him it's normal to be nervous on the first tee, over the first putt, etc.  I set the scoring record at my school in the fall and I still get nervous before every match.  The best advice I can give is to relax (obviously), and not to think ahead of the shot at hand.  I find that I have a hard time when I'm too worried about my opponents or my score on future holes.  Just tell him to keep his composure and try his best.  

He'll probably be ready to tell you about every shot afterward, whether they're good or bad, so be ready for a nice father-son talk.  My dad knows from experience  :)

Hope that helps.  Keep us all updated on how things go!


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#16 DaCorbster

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:10 PM

obviously its important to him that he does well, but mainly you have to get it in his mind that its just middle school golf. its more for fun than competition... tell him to swing easy and enjoy himself out there.

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#17 Swingtheclub

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:22 PM

Lots of good advice on this thread

Most people kids or adults when placed in a competitive situation do everything different.  Check out the driving range at your club on the morning of a tournament people you never see hit a practice ball practice.

Then to make it worse they set a goal that they will shoot lower than there average today.  Lets say they shoot 90 they think because its a tournament they should shoot 78.

Tell your son its and experience winning or loosing is not as important as the lesson learned from the playing.

Tell him not to change his routine getting ready for the round , and not to get wrapped up in the score or the match just the learning experience.

You need to support him and treat this as just another life lesson. No pressure on him and kind of lead him to expect that he may shoot a bit higher than his average   (most do)

No matter how he does you have to point out the positive about the round.

When I played golf team matches about  a hundred years ago. Early in the year our coach would pit our best player against the other teams worst and vice versa.

But the coach made a game out of it, and taught us it was just about doing our best and the rest would take care of itself.

Teach your son its about  the learning experience  not about the result.


Good luck to him

Good luck to you how you handle it  may make the difference.

Ken

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#18 MaueTitleist

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 09:23 PM

i agree, just go out and play, learn and have fun and if you win thats a bonus

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#19 birdiemachine11

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 10:03 PM

Tell him to relax.
Which since it is his first match, is going to be virtually impossible.

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#20 Check6

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Posted 29 March 2008 - 11:03 PM

After 2 weeks of intense conversation my son decided that it was his first match and he needed to enjoy that as much as possible because it would never happen again. More tournaments in his future but only 1 first. I was unable to see any of the match but did get the stroke by stroke post round.
He ended up shooting a 91, about 10 strokes above his average, but was filled with such joy.

He hit a bunch of what he called rope-runners; dead straight, 10 to 15 feet off the ground, and ran like the dickens. He playing competetors got a little upset with him when he laughed at those shots and didn't go nuclear.

Things did get better for him, he played number 1 for his last 2 years of high school, got his degree, and was the Medalist when he took the PAT. He will test out of Level III later this year and will be applying for his PGA membership.

I wish both you and your son as wonderful an experience.


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#21 xd3vilx

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:28 AM

well, tell your son not to think too much about the competition. take it easy, relax and the result will come. a win is a bonus.

Edited by xd3vilx, 30 March 2008 - 09:29 AM.


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#22 Taylor Made fanatic

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:30 AM

JUST HAVE FUN AND ENJOY IT - play your game and dont try to change things because the other kids out there will hit long and he will try to do the same.  Play YOUR game-that is what got you here
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#23 alcap26

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 11:36 AM

I coached middle schol golf for  a couple of years.  First and formost I hope he has fun in his first match.  A lot of kids that age will  get very caught up with their playing partners scores and they neen't do that.  He needs to use this as a learning experience.   Make sure he knows proper ettiqute and that if their is a max number they can take on  a hole (in TN middle schoolers max at a triple bogey) that he adheres to that and picks up if necessary.  

I always tried to get my kids to have fun and enjoy the day.  I always told them before the match to try their best but to enjoy the wonderful game that they are taking part in.  Good luck to your son.

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#24 A-Train

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 09:15 PM

Agree on you and your opponents score on each hole BEFORE you tee up on the next one.  It's difficult to remember what was shot when comparing cards AFTER the round.
A discrepancy after the round can quickly vacuum the fun right out of a match.

Have fun and enjoy the game! :good:

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