"The one way to make sure this does not happen to your child is to take notice of what the research has found and recommends. It suggests that children under the age of 13 years old should be encouraged to play three different sports, and this ideally would be cut down to two sports by 15 years of age and to specialize at around the age of 16 to 17 years old".
I use the word "allow" because many of these parents are being guided by golf instructors who don't have a full understanding of the long term junior pathway required to develop the fundamental athletic abilities in tandem with learning how to play golf.
The Golf-ing Abilities
There are four fundamental athletic abilities (we call them 'ing' abilities as in runn-ing...) that all young juniors must learn and be exposed to, which in turn will be helpful in taking their golf game to the highest level possible.
The four abilities are;
They are all equally important but the two that most juniors especially in South East Asia don't normally learn to any degree is catching and throwing.
Because the main sport watched and played in many South East Asian countries is football (soccer), the two skills of catching and throwing are not required, so junior golfers who specialize and / or only play football don't fully develop those important abilities.
It's my experience (41 years as a golf professional) working with junior golfers, when these two fundamental athletic abilities are not fully developed, touch and feel are the "victims".
This is dependent on whether male or female, and females tend to mature physically earlier then males.
Many of these juniors because of their early specialization tend to dominate their age group in competition initially, but it is not too long before the other juniors (who have developed all the four skills running, jumping, catching, throwing) begin to catch up and go past them.
The early junior golf specialists for the most part are not used to being second best and for many, they give the game away completely.
The one way to make sure this does not happen to your child is to take notice of what the research has found and recommends. It suggests that children under the age of 13 years old should be encouraged to play three different sports, and this ideally would be cut down to two sports by 15 years of age and to specialize at around the age of 16 to 17 years old.
Allow and encourage your child to play other sports especially team sports that will develop all the above four fundamental athletic abilities which in turn will enhance their coordination and core body strength at the same time.
As many parents are concerned about their child playing contact sports I would recommend basketball, baseball, softball, cricket or badminton as these sports encourage all four fundamental abilities, plus there is the benefits of improving their fitness levels as well.
One leads to the other although there are always exceptions to the rules, so follow the guidelines below.
These guidelines will give your child or the junior you're coaching the best chance to become the best they can be plus keep them playing the game past their junior days.
- Locomotor Skills - involve the body moving in any direction from one point to another. Locomotor skills include walking, running, dodging, jumping, hopping and skipping.
- Stability Skills - involve the body balancing either in one place (static) or while in motion (dynamic). Stability skills include landing, balance (static and dynamic) and rotation.
- Manipulative Skills - involve handling and controlling objects with the hand, the foot or an implement (stick, bat or racquet). Manipulative skills include throwing and catching, striking with the hands, feet and an implement (e.g. kicking, volleying, batting and dribbling).
Lawrie and I have a firm commitment to helping junior golfers to reach their potential and to also provide information to parents and coaches that is backed not only by years of experience coaching juniors to top level but also solid, relevant and practical research that will help you take your son, daughter or students golf game to the next level and beyond.
Pro Tour Golf College - Indonesia Launches in 2014
In 2014 we launch our Pro Tour Golf College Junior Development Program in Jakarta, Indonesia aimed at taking junior golfers from South East Asia to the pro tour (see advert below). We are presently developing a state of the art golf training centre which will have amongst other things the best short-game training facility in South East Asia.
So if you are looking for a full-time and part-time world class junior development program for your son or daughter in 2014 that will develop the whole golfer then please feel free to contact us for more information at email@example.com
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David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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