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1 Get creative as a family – encourage your children to design their own #LockdownKnockdown challenge (the Golf Foundation’s online home golf activity) using cans or toys in the garden or indoors, any implement as a golf club and any type of ball such as a beach ball, tennis ball (as long as it’s safe). Enjoy the moment creating your challenge and working together to build it. Please feel free to design your own skills tests or practice drills to suit all abilities.
2 Encourage your children to positively self-reflect – ask them what they enjoyed about their challenge or practice game. What would they do differently next time? Ask them at the end of every day to think of 3 things that they have done well. Use open ended questions that begin with ‘How’, ‘What’ and ‘Why’ to challenge your children and to get them to really think about the answer by creating a bit of silence that they need to fill.
3 Help your children to ‘control their fizz’ (keep calm) – whether excited, nervous or agitated. Introduce this simple breathing exercise during your golf session – take a deep breath in for 3-4 seconds, hold for 3-4 seconds, and then breathe out for 4-5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 3-4 times and ask them to notice how much calmer they feel. Ask your kids where else could they use this breathing technique? In school in lessons, trying to work at home with lots of distractions around, when they’re feeling nervous or wound up? Practise this together.
4 Reward effort, particularly in primary age children – ‘trying hard’ is seen as more important than achieving the task in younger children so always congratulate your children on giving their best. Try not to praise talent or ability; by getting young people to understand that ability comes as a result of working hard, it gives them inspiration to work hard in their practice.
5 Enjoy all your practice – remind your children (and yourself) to enjoy the moment and commit to the challenge. If it’s achieved too easily, it will become boring. It’s okay to work hard at a challenge or task, particularly for teenagers.
6 Stay active and connected – keep in touch with your local club PGA Pro wherever possible. Ask his/her advice on practice.
The Golf Foundation is also sharing #GolfatHome ideas with all families and PGA coaches. See our ‘Golf at Home’ page at www.golf-foundation.org for games, lessons and clips. You will also see the hashtag #GolfatHome on social media created by The R&A, in which video clips and pictures are welcome of your great home practice scenarios. The Golf Foundation supports the Sport England #StayInWorkOut movement – there are some great ideas for fun activities at www.stayinworkout.org For all PGA Coaches, teachers and junior volunteers: if you would like to join an online training workshop on learning more about how to apply the mental toughness principles described in this article, please contact the Golf Foundation at: firstname.lastname@example.org Stay safe, enjoy your golf at home: when we can get back to the fairways later on there will be no stopping us!