Parental support

11 June 2024
Official Parner - Mizuno

Here we are at Sandiway on a very chilly, but dry, day – excellent conditions for playing, but a bit nippy for supporters. So after seeing off the assembled players, the parents congregated in the clubhouse for coffee and breakfasts. And we got chatting. Always fascinating to hear the parents’ perspectives on junior golf, but also slightly shocking to hear of negative experiences their offspring have faced at competitions (not those organised by SchoolsGolf).

We are firmly of the opinion that life lessons are learned through golf, in a manageable way. But today I heard a shocker about a parent (not at a SchoolsGolf comp) actually shouting at a child. Worse still, not his child. What???!!! Apparently the poor kid was having a nightmare round and it all got on top of him and he became tearful – you don’t have to be aged 11 – 18 for that to happen – so this parent shouted that if he couldn’t cope he shouldn’t be on the golf course. Obviously this was reported, and I’m relieved to hear that action was taken.

Helicopter parents exist academically and in sport. There are numerous hilarious social media videos on the subject to enjoy (check out @jimmyrees_ on Instagram). But every now and again it is worth highlighting how toxic this level of parenting can be.

At SchoolsGolf we encourage parents to support their children in their sporting endeavours and if walking around parents should keep their distance and preferably focus on ball spotting rather than the score. For those keen to know the score we offer the option to follow the online scoring.

I’ve heard many time the mantra that ‘high-performing sports people have high-performing parents’. This was explained to me as a parent who is happy to drive the length of the country for a fixture, book that Travel Lodge room, and put up with plenty of venting and annoyed post event journey-home-debrief as well as enjoy the occasional euphoric self-congratulation when it all goes right.

Two of the parents at today’s tournament at Sandiway, Cheshire. Parents are welcome to book in their young players and accompany them to SchoolsGolf events.

So here we are at Sandiway sharing stories and our role as sports parents. The parents here today are clearly very well balanced and say they regard our SchoolsGolf events as development opportunities. One mother was happy for me to share her thoughts: This is the only event where my son is happy to join in with kids from other schools because it is such a friendly and inclusive environment. As a result of playing in SchoolsGolf his all round confidence has grown.”

She went on to say that the role of parents is to help set expectations, both your child’s and your own. She had heard of a mathmatical equation for this: actual experience minus your expectation gives you as score. e.g actual experience 7/10 minus expectation 10/10 means your feelings were a -3. But if expectations were more reasonable, say 6/10 then the resulting feeling would have been positive +1. Behaviour and feelings are so closely related, that a postive result becomes reinforcing. There are podcasts on this subject that explain it all much better, but suffice to say, this is all good advice for parents of aspiring junior golfers. It’s all about the life lessons that golf teaches us, and a couple of useful roles for parents… set expectations (“just enjoy the experience”) and help extract any learnings during any post event chat.

What do you think the role of sports parents is?

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