Over the years observing and developing young golfers (ages 5-9) at our junior academy (RG Golf Instruction) I quickly notice those with quickness and speed. These kids seem to quickly push off the ground and move in the necessary direction without any hesitation in most of our fundamental movement and athletic development activities. At the same time, it’s not difficult to pick out the kids that need to develop.
Development is the plan. The main goal is to get parents to understand the development process. In the case of speed there are many things we work on to develop the quickness, speed, and athletic ability. Step one is explaining to parents that there are “Windows of Opportunity” in the development of kids.
Through extensive studies and research, we know that there are “windows of opportunity” in training and developing young kids. In the case of developing quickness and speed there are optimal times to take advantage of the “Speed Window”. Our strategy is to take advantage of the first speed-training window for boys between the ages of 7 and 9. For girls, training for speed is between the ages of 6 and 8.
In our discussions with parents and some coaches we have found the faster quicker kids also play other sports that promote quickness and athletic skills. There are also the kids that are only exposed to golf and that typically consists of golf swing specific training with coach on a range. These kids are typically the slower most underdeveloped kids.
Below are some things we suggest you try and avoid:
- Avoid cut down adult clubs. You might save a few dollars but not worth the long term effects.
- Avoid heavy golf training clubs
- Avoid focusing too much on specific swing mechanics training or swing position training.
Here are some things we have found to be effective:
- Short burst, multidirectional exercises. We try and develop that quick first step
- Activities that require foot speed
- Introduce activities that introduce rotational speed
- Focus on activities that develop hand speed
- Focus on swinging light clubs. Broken shafts, US Kids Speed Trainer clubs are excellent
- Many variations of short burst sprints
- Speed games that kids can play in groups
There are many programs and models that are very effective. Many other sports like hockey and soccer base their development programs on these windows of opportunities for every aspect of youth athlete development. As a parent or coach I recommend some research before you dive into golf and take advantage of the windows of opportunities. There are good programs and coaches that combined with physical education at school your child will develop the crucial elements that will produce the athleticism and golf skills to be a lifelong golfer!
By: World Junior Golf