Is your child the next Tiger Woods or LPGA phenom? Maybe not, but effective training habits for your child can help make them champions! This month’s article looks at training guidelines to maximize your child’s golfing ability.
First and foremost, remember that all training and practicing should be fun and not forced upon the child. Golf is a game and not a life and death situation. The game of golf should be viewed as a privileged opportunity to challenge oneself physically and intellectually while at the same time demonstrating superior sportsmanship.
Proper instruction is another important aspect to keep in mind. If improper techniques are taught, not only will the young golfers’ results suffer, but so will their bodies! I can think of a few PGA Tour players who needed surgery and felt the swing taught to them at an early age was the cause of their pain. Furthermore, when instructing an adolescent golfer, remember that one should gradually increase the intensity and duration of each session on the driving range as well as the weight room.
The current cost of new golf clubs can be staggering. So much so that I often see adolescents playing with their dad’s “hand-me-down” golf clubs. Not only does this affect the quality of their golf swing but it also increases the risk of injury. Take those ill-fitting clubs to a experienced club fitter to fit the child’s set-up and swing.
Even though children tend to be very flexible compared to adults, a proper evaluation of the critical golf muscles is imperative (such as shoulder flexibility and lower back flexibility).
Strength gains play an important role in the proper training of a competitive golfer. The body must be physically prepared to handle the wear and tear of competitive golf. Development of strength requires close supervision in the following areas:
- All lifts should be performed in a slow, controlled manner (no breath-holding).
- All sets should be at least 10 repetitions. If the adolescent golfer cannot perform the 10 reps in one set, then the weight is too heavy (never overload the joint structures of an adolescent).
- Perform a maximum of two lifting sessions a week.
- Proper posture should be maintained throughout the lift.
- All lifts should be done through a full range of motion.
- Always perform a warm-up stretch before and a cool down stretch after exercising.
- The child must be ready emotionally.
- There is no standard age to start a strengthening program.
The fitness of the adolescent golfer needs to be closely monitored physically and emotionally. Don’t forget, golf is a fun and exciting game and should always be treated as a game!
WARNING! Please consult your physician before undertaking any stretching or exercise program for you or your child.