They are just so cute when they’re little! I’m sure I’m going to miss this when my girls grow up.
The girls played the San Diego Junior Amateur last week and we’re still celebrating Nalani’s hole in one. But since she didn’t perform well overall, we’ve been working on her confidence this past week. She went into the tournament without confidence in putting, literally. My poor little 8 year old complained the day before and the morning of that she wasn’t putting well. So, that defined her performance over the next 36 holes.
Now I am clear that I am not a perfect mother. I try, but am definitely stumbling in some areas. So, I use these experiences to help remind me what I probably should and shouldn’t do as a sports parent.
Letting Kids make Mistakes
I normally go into a tournament trying not to give my girls advice. Though I am not their swing coach, I watch my girls play golf often enough that I know what their tendencies are. In this last tournament, parents were allowed to caddie the 8 and under divisions. So, we were allowed to give advice. Nalani has a tendency to get excited and try to hit her golf ball harder. I think that’s common for anyone actually including me. Anyway, I didn’t remind her before all 36 tee shots to keep her swing slow. But, waited to see if she’ll correct her error. If she didn’t do this after 2 holes, then I may say something. And, if she continues, I’ll remind her to coach herself on her swing. For the most part, she can if she remembers. So, I hope I’m allowing her to learn this.
There’s a Time for Coaching
She played with other girls who had their fathers as caddies. This was another problem for her and her confidence level as she felt those girls had an advantage. But that’s another story. That said, one father in particular was coaching his daughter on every level of her swing during the tournament. Even Nalani commented on how long they were taking. The rule guidelines for the tournament did specify that parent caddies were on the field to encourage a good pace of play and this was not what he was doing.
I don’t know about some parents, but I think there’s a time for coaching and there’s a time for playing tournaments. Sure, it’s great if a child can win a pretty significant tournament at a very young age. But, how much does that go to improve the child’s skill, knowledge and growth in the sport when the parent is focused on winning and not on allowing her to learn.
I’ve even seen a parent pay a golf instructor to caddie his daughter at several tournaments. And in all honesty, she hasn’t improved much over the year that we’ve seen her play, especially in tournaments where caddies aren’t allowed which is pretty much the case once they’re 9 years old. It’s unfortunate because that’s probably a huge financial investment on the parent’s part.
Sorry if this isn’t as exciting as the nightmare parent stories. Nalani has worked with her dad on putting this week and is telling me she feels great about her putting, so I’m glad to hear it and am glad she wants to improve where she’s struggling. That’s all I can really ask for.
What do you do to encourage your children to learn, grow and mature?