Kids learn differently than adults, believe it or not! It has to be fun, and simple, and no pressure!
Technical aspects that Parents expect, especially if they themselves golf is not what a junior necessarily needs, unless that's their natural personality.
Its always bemusing when "interviewing" Parents and their prospective "future PGA tour member" as mentioned in a previous blog, that the child seems to be on a different page than the Parent.
However the coach cannot be on a different page to the student!
Usually a Parent expects the first lesson to be GPA, grip, posture, alignment, but I like to start with putting.
This is a good place to start because its the simplest stroke and is a crucial aspect of scoring. Its so easy to build confidence when the junior hears and sees the ball going into the cup!
Chipping comes next. Usually the introduction to chipping, if there is time, will end a first lesson. While the ball may not be going airborne yet, center face contact is all I am after.
This facilitates by the 3rd to 5th lesson, I am introducing the full swing, which has its foundation in the same chipping/pitching action.
So now we are finally starting with GPA! Even though the fundamentals have technical aspects, I like to start with pool noodle swings, so that the junior gets the feeling of swinging freely. The only thing I am really going to be paying attention to are the feet. I want to see a proper set up and finish, what happens in between is age dependent and the junior's natural ability.
Throughout all this encouragement, encouragement, encouragement! This is where hopefully the Parents, envisioning greatness, understand effort is more important than results at this stage, especially if other juniors in the facility or range are bombing the ball a gazillion yards and are smaller or younger!
A great foundation in golf as in anything in life is so important for longevity and enjoyment, but also to prevent injury. Once again, it is important as with adults that the natural bio-mechanics of the junior be respected.
As a Coach, with all the sports I have been involved in, the reward is to see improvement complemented with enjoyment for beginners. Competition obviously has different parameters and in my opinion should not be rushed. That will be another blog!