Connect with us

Equipment

Why isn’t my child getting any better at golf?

Published

on

As a junior golf coach, I am regularly approached by parents who would like to discuss their child’s performance. They want to know why isn’t their child doing as well as they were in previous weeks or months, or why they haven’t advanced to the higher-skill group.

I always welcome these questions, because they give me an extra chance to educate parents on the goals of our junior golf development program. But unfortunately, some parents are not as understanding as they should be, or don’t have access to the right information. For that reason, unreasonable expectations are a big problem in junior golf.

I get it. As a parent, you want to see your child do as well and hit as many good shots as possible. It makes you proud, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s human nature that you want to see your child succeed. I wrote this article to help explain why your child can often struggle, and why long-term development supersedes instant success in junior golf.

Success does not follow a straight-line pattern

If you speak to any successful athlete, you will find that they likely experienced just as many lows in their career as highs. The important thing about their development, however, was that there was a general trend upward, despite the lows.

Success (1)

when I hear, “come on Johnny, you were doing better  last week,” I cringe. if you want your child to drop out of golf, then carry on.

For both parents and children, it’s easy to become obsessed with instant success, instead of thinking about long-term development. I guarantee that every child will at some stage go through a period of difficulty with their golf, as the top pros do. To aid long-term development, do not demotivate your child by highlighting their struggles. Instead encourage the child to be resilient and problem solve through this period. These are traits that top athletes have, and encouraging these traits in young children will not only help their golf, but also their development as people.

Growth spurts

Growth spurts are unavoidable. All children go through them, and these changes in body proportions drastically affect the coordination abilities of a child.

Body proportions (2)

  • At age 2, a child’s legs make up 2/5 of their body. By age 7, their legs are now 1/2 of their body.
  • At age 7, a child’s arms are 2.75/6 of their body, but by age 14 their arms are 3/7 of their body.

Imagine if I added 3 inches to your arms and asked you to swing a golf club. Your swing would be all over the place. Of course, a child’s arms do not lengthen 3 inches overnight, but the growth process affects coordination and movement skills. Furthermore, when bones grow quicker than muscles, subsequently stretching and stressing the tissue, a child’s abilities can also be affected.

Don’t make growth spurts harder on children than they already are by expecting them to maintain the same level of performance they had before their growth spurt. It won’t be long before your child is feeling confident in his or her body again.

Performance Plateaus

With anything in life, there becomes a time when performance plateaus and the journey to the next level may not be as quick as the previous journey. For example, reducing your handicap from 28 to 20 may have been reasonably easy, but the lower your handicap got the harder it was to reduce it, right? For a child, a common plateau occurs when they cannot hit the ball any farther. And in most cases, we need to wait for a child to get stronger before worrying about more distance.

Like periods of growth spurts, there will also be long periods of no growth, where a child’s strength may not increase for a period of months. So, if your child is struggling with gaining distance, do not get over concerned and let their bodies grow. To me, this is another great example of times when development supersedes instant success. While there may be no instant successes of hitting the ball farther, other valuable sport and life skills can be developed during this time, such as work ethic, team work, goal setting and important social skills, to name a few.

In our FUEL Junior Golf Programme, we are passionate about creating well rounded individuals who are physically active and love the game of golf, hence our motto #personathletegolfer.

Relative age affect

In short, relative age effect discusses the chronological age (how many years old the child is) and the biological age (actually how old/developed their body is).

Let’s say an 8-year-old named Billy and an 8-year-old named Johnny play against each other. Johnny might hit it 30 yards past Billy off the tee, but Billy’s relative age is only 6. Chances are, Billy won’t be 30 yards behind Johnny for long.

Cognitive development versus motor development

In layman’s terms, research has shown that a child’s movement skills are heavily related to their ability to process information. For that reason, it’s common that young children can sometimes not grasp new movements, despite all our efforts to help.

Childs Brain (3)

In this case, we have to allow time for a child’s mental abilities to improve before expecting any changes in movement. Moreover, a young child is often more interested in looking at the clouds than listening to your swing tips. So quit the advice and let them play, fail and learn.

When was the last time a top athlete thanked their parents for their coaching? That rarely happens, but they almost always thank their parents for their support.

Summary

As parents and coaches, we must understand that the development of a child is a highly diverse process and crucially, it is not always about golf. Sport is a great tool to help children develop in a variety of ways, and it is important not to judge them on only their sporting skill. So the next time you’re frustrated with the development of your junior golfer, remember all the reasons they could be struggling.

  • Success does not follow a straight-line pattern.
  • A child has no control over growth spurts, which can dramatically hinder their performance.
  • Performance plateaus again cannot be avoided in some areas of the game. Remember, there’s isn’t one world-class athlete who hasn’t hit a performance plateau. What’s the worry?
  • A 6-year-old can hardly add 12 and 15 together, so it makes sense that they won’t always understand the leg, knee and arm positions of the golf swing.
  • Developing your child into a well-rounded, respectful and mannered individual is most important.
  • Remember that as parents, you are there to support… not coach.

On a final note, if you want your child to become the best golfer in the world (and they better share that goal), understand that you have 20+ years to achieve it. Believe me, there is little value in being the best 10-year-old golfer in the world.

Your Reaction?
  • 252
  • LEGIT13
  • WOW10
  • LOL2
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK15

Thomas is an Advanced UKPGA Professional and Director of the Future Elite (FUEL) Junior Golf Programme. Thomas is a big believer in evidence based coaching and has enjoyed numerous worldwide coaching experiences. His main aim to introduce and help more golfers enjoy the game, by creating unique environments that best facilitate improvement.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. James G

    Nov 14, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Kids will improve at their own pace and interest level. Main thing is to make sure it is fun for them even if they are playing horribly. The little league overbearing parents we’ve all seen exist in golf too and it actually hurts a kid’s development. Finally, no matter how badly a parent may want their child to be good in a sport some kids just have little or no athletic ability and that’s ok. Some kids are musically talented and others aren’t as another example. Be encouraging, get good instruction and let them have fun. Make games out of it. Maybe bet the kid pizza against chores.

  2. Harry White

    Nov 12, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Juniors or adults of any age can improve steadily with a totally different way of teaching. So called modern teaching methods guarantee an average score of just under 100 as evidenced over the past 100 years. Learning is an art and should be offered that way. Count Yogi Golf does just that.

  3. Bob Jones

    Nov 11, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Maybe your child is just not into golf.

  4. Grizz01

    Nov 11, 2016 at 9:41 am

    That is insulting to Offensive lineman. They are not just couch potatoes. If you want to play in a high level College. You need to bench 225 lbs. x20 and have incredible 10 yard burst and run a 40 in about 5.0-5.4. A height of no less than 6’3″ weighing in over 270lbs.

  5. KoreanSlumLord

    Nov 10, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Fact…you were born with golf talent. No one reading this website was born with the golf gene. You either are or are not a player.

    • Grizz01

      Nov 11, 2016 at 9:37 am

      I was thinking in the same lines. All the info shared is good, but it may just come down to being athletic enough to pull it off. Another item is desire, there are people out there (which the PGA and USGA doesn’t seem to understand) who just don’t care and will never care about the game.

  6. golfbum

    Nov 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Why? Well look at all the answers so far; they are all spot on. When I was a kid, at 6:00am is was “by mom, I am going to the golf course!…will be home for dinner!” Today, parents would never allow this to happen. They hover over the kids. Kids need to play golf with other kids, and develop their skills together.

    You know, when things like this come up my first reaction is to blame the GOLF CHANNEL….you see all these shows that highlight junior golf at the highest levels..thus parents make the false assumptions that their child should be this or that good by 11 years old. It just doesnt work that way, mommy! Far too many kids I see being coached by their 12 handicap fathers, spend far too much time at the range instead of just playing and again, playing with their peers. The game is supposed to be fun, but forcing a child to practice or managing their process should not be part of the equation. Standing over them while they do so, is not going work out well for you, Dad! Because daddy may be a CEO of some 100 million dollar company, but you have no clue how to play golf! You may be able to manage subordinates, but you have no clue how to play golf!

    Kids should play golf with kids! Play in tournaments and make friends. Lifelong friends!

  7. Rors

    Nov 10, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Wow, isn’t that a fact… XBOX generation…

  8. Pingback: Why isn’t my child getting any better at golf? – Swing Update

  9. Eric

    Nov 9, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Probably because you’re not yelling at the loud enough

  10. Looper

    Nov 9, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Some kids are just not going to make in some sports. Try’m all and see what sticks…

  11. Butter

    Nov 9, 2016 at 11:41 am

    The Parents need to take a look at themselves and ask how they were at all kinds of hand-eye ball sports when they were growing up themselves.
    And now kids have so many other things that they do, other sports and, video games etc. Are the kids willing to drop some of those other things to focus more on golf.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Whats in the Bag

Lanto Griffin’s winning WITB: 2019 Houston Open

Published

on

Driver: Titleist 917 D2 (10.5 degrees @ 9.75)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi 70 TX

3-wood: Titleist TS2 (16 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 80 X

Irons: Titleist U510 (2), Titleist T100 (4-9)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 105 X (2), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 130 X (4-9)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (46 10F, 50 12F bent to 51, 54 10S bent to 55, 60 08M)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

Putter: Sik Flo
Grip: SuperStroke Slim 3.0

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride tour Velvet

Your Reaction?
  • 28
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW1
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

Whats in the Bag

Cole Hammer WITB 2019

Published

on

*Equipment accurate as of the 2019 Houston Open

Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XT 70 TX

cole-hammer-witb-2019-driver

3-wood: Ping G410 LST (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-IZ 7X

cole-hammer-witb-3-wood

Irons: Ping i210 (3, 4), Ping iBlade (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper XP 115

cole-hammer-witb-irons

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50/12, 54/12, 58/10)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

cole-hammer-witb-wedges

Putter: Ping PLD Anser 2

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Your Reaction?
  • 31
  • LEGIT7
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK4

Continue Reading

Equipment

All-new KBS TD graphite shafts for drivers and woods released

Published

on

kbs-td-shafts

After more than a decade designing steel shafts that have helped revolutionize the golf custom fitting and OEM space, KBS Golf Shafts and designer Kim Braly are going further by officially launching the all new TD Driver and wood shafts.

kbs-td-shafts-2

Until recently KBS’s focus had always been on steel iron and wedge shafts, including the popular KBS Tour, KBS Tour 90, C-Taper, and TourV products. But over the last few years, its line has slowly expanded to graphite hybrid and irons shafts in varying weights and profiles to help create a matrix of shafts that would allow fitters to find a KBS Shaft for almost any situation. The one void in the matrix was driver and wood shafts—but not anymore!

The all new KBS TD (Tour Driver) wood shafts are a huge step forward for a company that has always focused on helping golfers get the most performance out of their clubs. The KBS TD’s range in weight options from 40g to 80g+ in 10g increments with evolving profiles as the weights increases. This ideology is based on the simple fact that from years of working with the best fitters in the world, KBS has developed a deep understanding of how these factors work together to help each player in certain swing “categories.”

The other interesting part of the KBS TD wood line is the absence of stated flex on each shaft—yes, they 100 percent come in varying flexes but not in the same “stiff” and “regular” naming that most golfers are familiar with. Instead, the TD shafts are separated into categories ranging from Category 1 through Category 4. This helps eliminate some of the preconceived notions that some golfers might have about trying different shaft flexes, and on the custom fitting side, also helps fitters better understand each player swing profile that matches up with a certain weight and flex (category).

KBS TD shafts: Specs & fitting details

Getting into the nitty-gritty of the specs from a fitting perspective, every shaft in the KBS TD line has the potential to work in any driver or fairway wood. This gives golfers the opportunity to play a KBS product right through the entire top end of the bag from driver to highest-lofted fairway wood.

The fitting opportunities are also expanded since every shaft in the TD line has 4 inches of parallel tip section to allow fitters and builders fine-tune to create in-between flexes. This is nothing new in the shaft world, but considering this design trait is available in every shaft, it means that, for example, if you need a “Category 3.5” a builder could tip a 3 a little extra to make it play the perfect flex.

For more information on the KBS TD wood shafts and the rest of the KBS shaft lines, check out KBSGOLFSHAFTS.com 

Also, check out GolfWRX Forums: KBS TD Shafts Spotted to join the discussion on these newest shafts from KBS.

Your Reaction?
  • 101
  • LEGIT8
  • WOW6
  • LOL6
  • IDHT2
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

19th Hole

Facebook

Trending