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Links, Sports, Tran Nguyen Ngoc Trang

Let children explore the game on their own at the outset because their attention span is very short.

If children are blithely unaware of the game’s frustrations and think that it’s all a joy then they are learning the game the right way.

Teaching young children is a privilege and a huge responsibility. The challenge is to cultivate their skills while sustaining their interest and preserving the joy.

A few points to achieve this:

Youngsters just want to have fun. Let them explore the game on their own at the outset. Follow them around and explain the things they’re curious about. The rule of thumb is this: You are the to do what they want to do, not what you want them to do.

Do more playing than teaching. A 6-year-old’s attention span is excruciatingly short. They don’t really focus until the ball is on the tee, waiting to be struck. With that, the lesson should not last longer than 30 minutes. Furthermore, the 30 minutes should be broken down into 10 minutes of actual teaching and 20 minutes of playing.

Communicate on their level. Everything you say should be expressed at the child’s level, and I mean that literally. Don’t stand when you talk; kneel down and look the child in the eye. Watch what you say, and how you say it. Rather than say “wide arc,” I say “big circle.” Instead of a “descending blow”, I say “thumb the ground”. I don’t say “pivot,” I say “turn”. Children must comprehend an idea before they can execute it.

Tee it up. To establish an early pattern of success, I insist on teeing the ball on every shot with every club.

Visual is better than verbal. Don’t explain the point, show it. Most children initially hold the club with a very weak left-hand grip. Instead of saying aim the “V” at the right shoulder, I mark the youngster’s fingers with a line or dots and tell them where it should point.

Safety first, last and always. In golf, the consequences of a misstep can be dire. Use these 2 main points to ensure safety: keep the youngster in your line of sight at all times. On the range, young students should occupy the bay in front of you, never the one behind. Drawn an imaginary line three feet in front of the spot the student is hitting from, and tell them, as emphatically as possible, never to walk in front of it.

There is no such thing as criticism. In a child’s world, events are classified as either “fun”  or “not fun”. Criticism is not fun. It implied the child did something wrong, as opposed to merely doing something incorrectly. In golf as in life, the path forward is paved with praise. If they hit a good shot, you say “good shot”. If they hit a bad shot, you say, “good swing”. When you detect a flaw, you challenge them to make the correct move without verbally indentifying the bad one.



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