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Tips for Supporting Mental Success in Junior Golfers

Golf, being played as much between the ears as on the course, requires a holistic approach for the development of junior golfers. It’s crucial to consider not only the physical aspects but also the mental facets of the game. Here are some tips, gleaned from collective experience, to guide parents and coaches in supporting the mental growth of junior golfers.

Set Realistic Expectations

Less is more when it comes to setting expectations. High expectations will lead to increased performance anxiety in junior golfer as they naturally don’t want to let you down. They will be affected by the expectations that they perceive. While it’s essential not to set a low standard, downplaying the emphasis on outcomes alleviates the pressure perceived by them. Remember, as a parent or coach, your role is that of support staff.

Emphasize the Process, Not Just Results

Shift the focus to their process rather than fixating on results. This includes their pre-round routine, shot reactions, course management and more. Rewarding their behaviors and actions during and after rounds, instead of focusing solely on results, encourages the development of the habits that lead to long-term success on the course. This approach also reduces performance anxiety by redirecting focus to personal actions rather than external factors.

Be Mindful Of Reactions

Your reactions, just like your expectations, impact a junior golfer’s mindset. It is important to stay emotionally neutral during an event as your emotions are noticed and absorbed by your junior. Emotional reactions can add unnecessary pressure because they will feel like they are responsible for how you feel. Maintaining composure sets a positive example, fostering a healthier emotional environment and helps them keep focused on the task at hand.

Allow Them to be Disappointed

If a junior is disappointed in a shot or result, resist the urge to immediately fix the situation. In golf, emotional control is a necessary skill for success. Let them sit with their emotions, providing an opportunity to learn to process and move on from them. Discussing the round later, when emotions have settled, is more effective for constructive feedback and reflection.

Encourage a Mistake-Friendly Environment

Mistakes should be viewed as opportunities to learn and grow, not failures. Parents and coaches play a pivotal role in shaping a growth mindset in a junior. Supporting them to see mistakes as learning opportunities helps them develop resilience and a positive outlook on challenges. Create an atmosphere where making mistakes is part of the learning process and your junior will have a skill that will take them far in golf and in life.

Lead By Example

Parents and coaches serve as influential role models. Demonstrating healthy habits in nutrition, hydration, sleep, and exercise is of course highly valuable. Your behavior, both on and off the course, is observed by junior golfers. Cultivate a growth mindset, emphasizing the importance of the process, treating others with respect and good habits. Young humans learn largely by observing and your example is a powerful tool in shaping their attitudes and behaviors.

Prioritize Enjoyment

Remind yourself that the primary focus should be on fun and setting the foundation for success in the future. The wins and losses are truly secondary to their enjoyment of the game. If they are loving what they are doing they will thrive. Junior golf should be a journey of enjoyment, exploration and learning. The lessons learned and habits developed during this period will shape their later success in golf and in responding to the challenges of life. Work hard, do good and never stop having fun.

Book a complimentary call today with one of our golf fitness experts to find out how small lifestyle changes could positively impact your enjoyment of golf and longevity in the game.


Dillon Hines

Golf Performance Coach

Disclaimer: This blog content is for general educational information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. References available upon request.

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