Golf Tips

Kids and Golf

Kids and Golf

Maybe it’s me, but what’s with the trend to have our children competing earlier and at younger ages?

Bear with me while I deviate from the norm as far as looking at how our kids compete and play. It needs to be noted that there is a very big difference between competing and playing. Why do we cheer when our five year old kids score a goal in hockey or soccer? It seems odd to me that when our sons or daughters play goalie we don’t make a fuss if their scored against. We, generally, tell them it’s not a big deal. But soon after when their team scores we cheer like the galleries at the Ryder Cup. Are the goals important or not? Doesn’t make sense to me!

Why do we often adulteries sport for children? Kids have told us for years they just want to play – I mean really play, not playing adult like games. Not having to take shifts, wait in line, and share one puck for the whole game – yes, you heard me right. I don’t want to bash our good ole’ Canadian game, but I think the short story to follow is a perfect example of what I’m referring to.

This year after hockey my daughter told me that practices were much more fun than games. When I probed for more information she told me there weren’t enough pucks during the game. “You see” she said, “in a practice we all get pucks and in a game there’s only one!” I know at first this seems odd, of course there’s one puck, how else would you play hockey? But consider how much more fun it could be if you were five or six years old and there were five pucks on the ice. I remember playing pinball as a kid and it was always more fun when there was more than one ball in play.

Why is youth soccer, essentially, the same as adult soccer? Of course the kids will become restless on the sidelines, they want to play, not sit and watch other kids play! Recently released research discovered eighty-five percent of kids would rather play on a losing team and participate then on a winning team and watch from the sidelines.

I strongly believe the benchmark for every youth activity should be the following question: Is the activity meet the needs of all the kids, not just the under skilled and not just the very good players? This is difficult but with creativity and input from the participants it can be done in any sport or activity.

Maybe the most recognized name in the field of growth and development is Dr. Jean Piaget. His time-tested research is clear; adolescent children aged thirteen are only beginning to fully understand competitive structures, but still not comprehending all of their implications. You will find similar type research from many other sources as well, but yet as a society we are convinced that this type of competitiveness at ages six or seven will help them get into college or accept failure better when they are older. Sport Canada’s numbers are clear; Ninety percent of “champions” at age ten are not “champions” at the senior level.

Kids don’t care if they keep score when they play golf. They have a whole life ahead of competing, just let them PLAY!

Glenn Cundari
CPGA National Facilitator - TCCP Program
Cundari School of Golf

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