March 23, 2017

PLAY TO LEARN! By Jesus Rodriguez, World Junior Golf Advisory Board

PLAY TO LEARN! By Jesus Rodriguez, World Junior Golf Advisory Board

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning,” he said. “But for children, play is serious learning. PLAY is really the work of childhood” –Fred Rogers

Play to learn should be the main objective of modern junior instruction facilities.

Playing is a main part of every child’s life, and it is through this that they develop physically and cognitively, it is a must to acquire an adequate social maturity and relationship skills with other children.

Golf teaching for kids was not always carried away with their necessities and learning abilities as priorities, instead the adult teaching model was translated to kids with small adjustments. This resulted in lessons that were boring, unattractive and repetitive for children.

Games adapted to children

Nevertheless, we must not take pride and feel satisfied with our Junior Golf Facility just for the fact that kids have a great time. Behind every game there should be a learning objective that students must acquire progressively, in junction with other activities adapted to their learning needs and capabilities.

If kids only have fun and make no significant improvements in their skills, sooner or later they will lose interest, find the game of golf boring and probably move on to something else. This is why for us, game-like training is key to reach our goal as junior coaches, which is no other than to get our students to improve constantly their skillset and abilities to play and enjoy the game of golf.

Games and motivationjesus2

Golf is a fascinating sport for many reasons: the environment, family play, no age limit, etc. However, we have to acknowledge the fact that it is a very technical and individual sport where it takes time to improve significantly; this makes it hard for children to feel attracted to the game initially.

Games are the basic mechanism that we use to lure kids towards golf in a motivating, attractive and enjoyable manner. When the activities we use are adapted to the different levels and characteristics of our students, motivation is always going to be present during the lesson. This will result in everyone engaged having a good time and learning at the same time, which prevents any early dropouts from the game. Children learn and absorb information at their own pace, this is why every game has a way to increase or decrease its difficulty level. This allows every child to be fully committed and motivated in the activities.

The games and activities presented in class are thought and designed to teach the students different aspects of the game of golf, whether it is a short putt, a bunker shot or how to hit the driver.

“Yes, I’ve had a great time!”

It is everyone’s work; parents, the facility and instructors to create an environment that favors training for children so they can have fun and learn how to PLAY golf at the same time. This is why we can never forget to ask kids the most important question after a lesson, 9-holes of play or a tournament… HAVE YOU ENJOYED YOURSELF TODAY? Because beyond the result, when they are still children, the most important thing is that they reply to us… YES, I’VE HAD A GREAT TIME!

By: World Junior Golf

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