What should I say and do after the competition?

Be Consistent

Try to be consistent in how you react after good and bad rounds. How your child performs on the course shouldn't affect your relationship with the child as a person.

If your emotions and manner are excessively elevated or deflated depending on how they have done, the child will start to worry about the consequences of the competition while they are playing it – this will lead to poor play and increased stress levels.

The best way to be consistent in your reaction is to take some time after the round to discuss what happened – but not to rush in too quickly, when you might say something you didn’t intend to say.

What to say and do after a good round:
  • Remember, the skill is to learn to be analytical after a good round.
  • ‘Congratulations,’ ‘you played well,’ etc.
  • Remember to give time to cool down, re-hydrate, have a snack, shower, etc.
  • Do you know your tee time for tomorrow?
  • How do you feel you played?
  • Did you achieve the goals you identified before the round?
  • What are you going to work on for tomorrow?
What to say and do after a poor round:
  • Always focus on the positive things you saw in the round – such as a good recovery or a key shot.
  • Remember to give your child time to cool down, re-hydrate, have a snack, maybe shower etc.
  • Do you know when you're playing next?
  • At this point, it may be best to leave it there for the time being. For most players, the period immediately after a poor round is a difficult time. A parent's main job is to support and look after the player. If you are too quick to give your opinions a confrontation may develop. When your child has had a chance to cool down and relax a little, it's perfectly fine to discuss the competition, but try to stick to a consistent format.
  • How did you feel you played?
  • Did you manage to achieve the goals that you identified prior to the round?
  • What do you think you need to work on for tomorrow?
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The journey home

Unless your child wants to talk about the competition, talk about something else. Time spent in the car is remarkably significant in the formation of parent-child relationships. It is a time when a child can express themselves without anyone else hearing or interrupting.

If you lecture your child on how they should have played or behaved each time you take a ride in the car, your child can come to expect this behaviour from you, creating a negative environment. Your child should feel that the journey home is an opportunity to talk to you about things that they find difficult or are unhappy about. If you are not happy about something, tell your child about it, but agree to talk about it later. Then make a point of talking about something different.

Find something that you can both be positive about.