While this can be a very sensitive subject with many parents, it is an extremely vital part of the recruiting process. Part 1 in the Parent Role in College Recruiting series will cover the topic of “how to support your junior golfer without being overbearing”. I have been asked this question numerous times from parents who are concerned with doing enough to push their son/daughter to get better but not so much that they drive them away from the game or develop resentment.
While I am not a parent myself, I have been able to experience golf from several different viewpoints and learned a tremendous amount from each scenario. Being an adult and working with both the junior golfers and their parents, I now have a huge level of respect for the sacrifices, commitment and frustrations that a parent must face in order to help their child be successful.
As many parents know, there isn’t a right or wrong way to parent a child. Every child learns differently, reacts differently and has a different path to reaching their goals. There are, however, a few things from a junior golf and college recruiting standpoint that can make a major difference in the success and enjoyment of the experience. Below are just a few tips to keep in mind as you strive to find the right balance between supporting and being overbearing.
- Continue to ask the junior golfer what they want out of their golf: While junior golfers are still young and need lots of guidance, always make sure it is about what they want out of golf and not what you want
- Remind them of their decision to pursue a college golf scholarship: Let them know you are only pushing because they said it was their goal and you want to help them achieve it
- Help them set goals: Write down specific goals with them so that you can always go back and show them the commitment level they agreed upon
- Teach them independence and time management: This is a major response I get from college coaches on what they look for with a player. While it is very difficult to sit back and watch them make mistakes try to allow the players to be more independent and learn time management skills
- Let them do the work for college recruiting: Remind them of what needs to be done but try not to do too much of it for them. Coaches will know when they come on visits or talk over the phone if they aren’t the ones emailing and doing the work.
Quotes from college coaches:
“As much as possible, let the juniors make decisions on how much they want to play and where. A junior golfer that is pushed too much can easily be counterproductive. It will be more fun for them if they are enjoying it…and they will likely stick with the game longer.” Division 1 Women’s Coach
“We want players who have a voice. Those who have more maturity and less reliance on parents will have an easier time adjusting to college.” – Division 1 Women’s Coach
“Parents need to realize that not every kid is going to be a superstar, in fact, most often, their child will excel when they play a supportive role behind the scenes.” – Division 1 Women’s Assistant Coach