I wanted to share a conversation I had with a young lady on Instagram a while ago.

Her: What are your thoughts on taking a break from golf? I mean not picking up a club for two to 4 weeks?

Me: I see absolutely nothing wrong with it if you feel like it’s needed and necessary. I would almost encourage it at some points through the process, especially if you’ve never taken a break like that before.

Her: Thank you.  I just see other girls still grinding it out but I don’t want to get burned out. I just need to learn to focus on me and not have FOMO (fear of missing out). Thank you!

Me: Yes exactly! Everyone is different. I promise that a couple of weeks off will not hurt you in the long run. There is no reason to feel like it should or worry about that. You have a long golf career ahead of you and should be able to step away for short periods of time, it’s as important as the work you are doing

This conversation has been on my mind recently and we discussed this on my podcast episode with Coach Doell at the University of San Francisco (Tap In To College Golf Episode 15). Time off from your game is as important as the time you are spending on your game. It is crucial for so many reasons both mentally and physically to get away from the game and not feel guilty about it.

There is a quote that accompanies a picture of Tiger hitting balls in the rain, that references that every day he isn’t practicing, someone else is getting better than him. Which yes, this has so much truth and value behind it, but there is also a point of rest and time off being part of the actual process that helps you get better. It doesn’t mean that you should opt to not play or practice just because the weather isn’t great or you don’t feel like it, but if you have long-term plans of being a successful collegiate (and maybe professional) golfer, then you need to allow your mind and body to rest from the grind of practice and playing.

I’ve had many parents reach out to me saying they aren’t pushing their daughter to play and practice, that she is the one who wants to do it every day so they let her. They come to me wondering if it’s ok for them to do that. While it is awesome that she loves the game so much, I also remind them that as parents you have the ability to see the bigger picture so don’t be afraid to force her to take some time off even if she says that she doesn’t need it. A young athlete has zero awareness of what burnout looks and feels like, they are only worried about the present day and what they want to be doing. Especially in this world of specializing in one sport so early, I feel that parents are as responsible for enforcing this time off as the player realizing it on their own, many times realizing it too late.

As a kid, I played volleyball all through high school (and basketball through 9th grade) so I had time away from golf that was designated when I was in those seasons. We also didn’t have all of the tours and tournaments that were playing year-round so there were stretches of time when I didn’t have tournaments. So while I didn’t exactly take time away from competing and being active because I was playing other sports, I did have time away from the grind of golf and golf tournaments. It’s not always the physical break that is needed with some time off as much as it is the mental break from such an intense mental sport like golf and from a sport that you are working so hard to be good at in order to play at the next level.

Now many young girls start out playing golf at a fairly early age and focus solely on it way too early. They fear they are going to get behind and not be good enough. They worry that a little time away is going to set them back. They feel pressured to constantly be working hard to get better. Just as we do in our training at the gym, we set a rest day each week so that our bodies and mind can function at their best the other 6 days of the week and we can continue training for years down the road.

Taking designated (or unplanned) time off from golf is something I feel that every young girl needs as part of the process of getting better. Some need it more than others, and vice versa, some don’t need it as much as others. But whether it’s setting one day a week, a few days a month, or extended periods throughout different times of the year, it is critical to take time off in order to have long-term success in any sport, especially a grueling, highly-skilled, year-round sport like golf.

If you are near the end of the process or just getting started and seeking guidance then please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at bjackson@pkbgt.org and we can find a session or service that fits your needs to ensure you get that support.