- Continue to ask your daughter what she wants out of her golf: First and foremost, it must always be about what she wants from playing golf and not what the parent wants. Given that the girls are still young, there is obviously a gray area of knowing what is best for them by keeping them involved in a sport that can teach them a lot of important values as well as open up so many doors and opportunities. But ultimately there has to be the desire and enjoyment of the game from the girls or else they will end up giving it up altogether. Just make sure you are on the same page for what it is that they want out of their golf game.
- Remind them of their decision to play golf in college: If your daughter has made the decision that she wants to play golf in college then I feel that is a green light that they are willing to be pushed a little harder than a girl who just wants to play golf for fun. Being a college athlete, at any level, requires a lot of commitment, sacrifice, and hard work so reminding them of what they have agreed to will help you both stay on the same page. My dad told me as a junior golfer that as long as I was practicing and working hard on my game I didn’t have to get a job and he would pay for me to play in tournaments, but he would never push me to play or practice if I didn’t want to. There was one period of time in high school that I got a little sidetracked and wasn’t quite meeting those expectations, so my dad simply reminded me of my dream to play in college and out on tour so I was quickly back on track. Just make sure you help your daughter stay aware of what it takes as a junior golfer to go on and play at the college level while also putting the desire and determination in their hands.
- Help them set goals: A great way to help support your daughter without pushing too hard is to sit down and lay out some goals together. By setting goals, I am referring to process goals (smaller defined tasks or achievements that will help a girl achieve her future dream/vision). Assuming your daughter has made the decision to play college golf, then lay out weekly/monthly goals both for their golf game as well as for college recruiting. For instance, they can commit to so many hours of practice per week (with emphasis on quality practice as well) and play so many rounds of golf. Or in regards to recruiting, they can commit to sending a certain number of intro emails out to coaches or making phone calls. If you allow your daughter to set the goals herself, then you as a parent can simply serve as the accountability partner for making sure they reach them.
- Teach them independence and time management: These are the two areas that college coaches say parents can help support their junior golfer with in order to better prepare them for college golf. Simple things like having your daughter do her own laundry, sign up for tournaments, pack herself for a tournament or schedule her own lessons will begin to teach her how to be independent. Also, encourage her to set a schedule at the beginning of each week (include her process goals) to ensure she accomplishes everything she needs and wants to get done.
- Let them do the work for college recruiting: Try your best to do as minimal work for your daughter as possible in regards to college recruiting. I know young athletes can get overwhelmed at times with school work, practice, workouts, and social life and it’s tempting to want to step in and take over with things like sending out intro emails, replying to coaches or researching schools, but let her do the work if at all possible. Let her take ownership of the process and figure out a way to make time for it. Be there to help her stay organized and on track but don’t do the actual work for your daughter. This will help her mature and build confidence throughout the recruiting process, both improving her as a golfer and an individual.
College Coach Quotes:
“As much as possible, let the juniors make decisions on how much they want to play and where. A junior golfer that is pushed too much can easily be counterproductive. It will be more fun for them if they are enjoying it…and they will likely stick with the game longer.” – Division 1 Women’s Coach
“We want players who have a voice. Those who have more maturity and less reliance on parents will have an easier time adjusting to college.” – Division 1 Women’s Coach
“Parents need to realize that not every kid is going to be a superstar, in fact, most often, their child will excel when they play a supportive role behind the scenes.” – Division 1 Women’s Assistant Coach