2. Verbally & Nonverbally communicate that you accept them, love them, & are proud of them NO MATTER WHAT. Let them know that their fun, happiness, and enjoyment are more important than winning and perfection. If you focus on their happiness and enjoyment, it might increase their success rate anyways because they are enjoying themselves.
3. Praise their performance, not their outcome. You want to compliment any skills they did particularly well or a new skill that they finally mastered; for instance, if your kid drives the ball further than ever, or makes their longest putt than they did in their last match, but they still lose the event. Don’t even focus on the outcome – instead compliment and praise their improvement. You want them to remember that they are improving even though they still lost. Plus, Complementing them too much for winning teaches them that winning is all that matters, and by default losing disappoints you. Remember that the true measure of a golfer isn’t in their most recent score, but rather in the effort it took along the way. Focus on their effort, performance, and improvement rather than their wins and losses.
4. If you do want to give your kid some constructive criticism, ask them first. You can simply say, “Would you mind if I told you what I think?” This gives your kid a sense of power in the conversation and prepares them to hear some criticism.
5. Avoid always talking about golf at home. Instead, let your kid bring up the topic of golf. That way, you know they want to and are open to talking about it. That way, your home can be seen as a place of peace, positivity, and mental recovery, especially after a hard practice or match.
6. Just be positive and supportive at all times. Most of the time that is what your kid wants and needs.
7. If you read news articles about other teams or see rankings of other teams, try to avoid talking about it with your kid. They don’t need to know if the kid that beat them is ranked first in the state. It’s just not necessary and puts salt in the wound sometimes.
8. It’s really important to know your role. The players play, the coaches coach, the refs ref – and as a parent, you should parent. Try to avoid overlapping these roles. Let each adult and kid involved play their role and it’ll be more enjoyable for everyone involved.
9. Don’t make a particular event or meet “special” or hype it up too much. This adds extra pressure on the kid especially because they pick up this mentality from you. The goal is to treat all types of competitions the same, so that a “more important” meet won’t psyche out your player too much and they can stay focused.
10. Finally, when in doubt of what to do, just give your kid some space. This might be hard to do but most of the time it’s the right thing to do. If your kid’s team just lost an important golf match, give them some room to process it. But you can ask them, “Do you want to talk about it?” and if they do, then they will. But if they don’t want to, don’t push them to. Just tell them, “I know you’re upset right now, but I just want you to know that it’ll be ok.”
Note: These tips are important to remember because even athletes at the highest levels are aware of their parent’s judgements and critiques because we all want to make our parents proud. But just know that your role in their sporting career is really important, most of the time you are their biggest fan but can also be their biggest critic. Just keep these tips in mind so that you can stay a fan instead of a critic.