The S4K Way is all about being positive and building confidence. In the way we engage children but also the way we design the classes and lessons. Fun and entertainment build passion and enthusiasm for learning new skills and learning the game. Developing the micro motor skills to help children feel comfortable, confident and make them feel every swing and movement is natural. Natural movement where we build up the micro core physical attributes for a little person is critical and the secret sauce behind The S4K Way. Our people are sports entertainers to keep the children engaged and having fun whilst learning natural technical excellence. The combination is the S4K Way for teaching our kids golf.
Well it is not a four and a half walk around a field carrying a heavy golf bag, 13 golf clubs around the countryside followed by a pint on the 19th hole! Kids love and gravitate to putting, crazy golf where you have fun, excitement and a little bit of competition that is enthralling all the way through. They are not interested in the etiquette of golf, the rules, why have an out of bounds and have penalties – doesn’t sound like fun hey!?? Like with most sports Golf was designed and played by adults on huge swathes of land and golf courses that spread over several miles with long drives, rough, rivers, lakes and all sorts of scary stuff that gets in the way of an enjoyable sport! Kids have it right and adults have it wrong – especially when it comes to golf. Kids want to be free and creative, so let them hit the ball between their legs, or whatever other crazy stuff they want to do. Rather than trying to develop the correct swing dynamics and proper swing mechanics, at S4K we let them enjoy just whacking the ball. At the same time we engage them in all sorts of complimentary exercise that builds the ability to swing a club properly. So having fun, being active, few steps between each bit of action, giving easier goals to attain and feel successful are all designed to build fun, enjoyment and confidence within an S4K Golf Program.
As with all other sports children need to develop a wide range of core motor skills to develop eye, hand and body control. This is especially true where a sport has a piece of equipment to master such as tennis or golf. This is where the S4K Way and the attention to building the full range of micro motor skills in a well-designed program. Building strength in arms, hands, shoulder, legs and core muscle groups to twist and swing a golf club in a controlled way are key parts of this. To get the right variety and muscle groups used to the key dynamics of a golf awing We have to make our golf lessons fun, engaging and memorable but we also have to address each and every muscle group so that the various swings, chips and puts become a natural action for our children. The S4K Golf program has a number of exercises that help prepare a child for swinging a club. BY doing this we can build the muscle motors and even before a child picks up the club to swing at a very small object. In doing this we give each child more chance to build their confidence to control a piece of equipment. The more we prepare the child the more control and chance of connecting with the ball and avoid putting a child in a position where they experience a frustrating time, swinging and missing, with repeated attempts and ever decreasing success rates.
The S4K Way takes inspiration of Montessori teaching techniques to build micro motor skills for golf and as such the S4K Golf program has a prepared environment but also a prepared child to become successful. Early Years Golf For our tots and pre-schoolers budding golfers we like them to have fun playing and into worry8ing about the correct grip or stance. We give them the lessons that they can apply. Swinging in a pendulum fashion and staying still while they practice swinging equipment at stationary or moving objects is the main thrust of the S4K Golf Program. Adults teaching golf often have a need to teach their children the “Right Way”, “Correct Grip”, “Good Stance” and break the swing down to back swing, impact and follow through. This is not The S4K Way. Over emphasizing the right grip can get in the way of more important motor skill development. It can also dim the child’s e of fun and passion for the game. We try not to ask children to do things that are difficult, we need to help them succeed with smaller actions so that we build hand eye coordination in a staged process that helps engagement, entertainment and confidence. Learning the correct grip may be fundamental to an adult, but to a creative, inquisitive mind that wants to explore their physical movement, the grip can be drudgery. A child just wants to have fun. Let them explore the game on their own terms and work with them to build up physical competence, strength and muscle motors whilst having fun at the outset.
Keeping it Simple - Praise, Praise Praise No child needs or want complicated instruction, lecturing or advice. What they need and yearn for is unadulterated praise. When your 6-year-old hits a good shot, say "Great shot!" When he hits a bad shot, exclaim, "Great swing!" To avoid any confusion, we keep our instructions to the clear and simple. We avoid complication and we avoid negative comments. Providing your child with as much praise and positive stokes as possible to associate an overwhelming good feeling to playing golf. They will want to come back time and time again. High fives all round! Communication & Language We also need to keep our language and communication on a childs level. In fact getting down to their level looking eye to eye with them. Everything you say should be expressed at the child's level, and I mean that literally. Don't stand when you talk; kneel down and look the child in the eye. Using the correct language is critical – by this we mean that our coaches do not use technical golfing terms such as “improve your cadence!” we will say “swing slower” and instead of talking about balance we would say “Stay Still” and a “Wide arc” turns into “Big circle”, we don’t talking about the club descending to the bottom we would say “hit the ground” All our coaches are trained to be what we call “Phrase Perfect”. WE recommend that you follow the language closely and repeat at home. A common language between you S4K coach and you as a golfing parent is key to helping our children understand and become familiar with understanding the instructions. Particularly with toddlers it help settle a child in a class and helps them recognize and understand instructions in the golf class. Even adults struggle with terminology, so I really simplify things. Rather than say "wide arc," I say "big circle." Instead of challenging them to make a "descending blow," I ask them to "thump the ground." Children must comprehend an idea before they can execute it. Don't let a small thing grown-ups take for granted -- like sticking a tee in the ground -- become a frustration. Be ready to lend a helping hand.
The S4K Golf program takes its inspiration form the worlds greatest modern day players. A number of the players topping the PGA rankings have stayed with their golfing coaches from their days as children growing up and learning the game.
We have all seen the young junior playing with a golf club that is too big for them. Not only does it develop a flat swing and the wrong arc over time ingraining the wrong muscle more skills that may never be corrected. It also hits childrens confidence. Quite often we start off with none golf equipment to help develop the motor skills for the child before they take the difficult step of swinging a relatively large, long and unwieldly golf club. We need to make sure the first implements they handle and swing are not too long, too heavy nor too stiff.
Many parents who have a vision of golf taught by a professional down at the club also may fall into the trap of not getting g them involved in golf till they are 6 upwards and can swing a proper club. Sport4kids believes that you should start them as soon as they can walk and play with equipment. Even if they hold the wrong end and swing and miss everything but your legs! We start them young so that they can build up their sense of fun, their muscle motors and their twisting and hand eye co-ordination. Swinging a stick in the woods, hitting inanimate objects that go nowhere are all good ways of building body movements, flexibility and strength in preparation for more formal types of golf equipment. If we add too much technical instruction into the exercises too early, we would run the risk of turning a fun time into a chore, which will make your children lose interest in the game. Early fun games with action that prepares their little bodies for more arduous activity as they grow is the order of the day.
One way to teach golf is through instruction but for children it is best they observe, watch and vision how they can swing a club and then try to emulate that. In this way visual is often better than verbal, however using all the senses is better overall.
Particularly for the younger one S4K Coaches are more like cheerleaders than a coach. Parents should join in with the praise, the clapping and the cheering when each child does something, even if it is not successful. Making sure we emphasize celebrations and practicing celebrations at home is an excellent way to associate the golf lessons with success, joy and happiness.
Golf is one of the most gracious and respectful sports there is. Golf etiquette and playing to the rules has always been a core cultural value of golf. Whilst we don’t want to diminish the passion of our kids golfing enthusiasm we do prepare them with teach good managers and please and thank you. We even get our S4K Kids understand the role of taking turns and supporting each other with “good shot!” Where can I take my child to start their golf journey? Golf has never been more accessible or affordable for kids and their parents. At S4K we plan to make it even easier to get your child started and engaged with golf. S4K Golf does not limit golf lessons to ranges or golf courses. We aim to take our innovative and market leading golf program into every town, village nook and cranny across the UK. Our golf classes can be found in schools, nurseries, community halls and leisure centres in convenient locations near you. Venues, classes, which age group? What Golf equipment should I buy for practice at Home? A key part of S4K Golf is to practice at home. We have a Golfing Pathway for each age group to make it easier as a parent can follow the progression for your child. It can also help take lesson home with mum and dad led practice sessions. The Pathway also gives a common language between coach, parent and child. To make it easier for you to practice at home you can buy the S4K Home Practice bundle by clicking on our exclusive shop.