When and How Should Juniors Get Started With Fitness?
Do you have dreams of watching your child hoist the US Open Golf Trophy? It’s never too early to dream or to start him or her on their journey, but be careful of how you go about doing it. Often times we see parents taking their child to the driving range hitting ball after ball 5 to 6 days per week and many times as young as 5 years old.
Unfortunately as a golf specific fitness professional we usually don’t get to work with these golfers until they are in high school because many parents don’t think they should be “working out” until they are older. Our initial intake questionnaire has the following questions: How long have you played golf, how often do you swing the club, and what other sports did you play while growing up?
Here is what we often see from a 15 or 16 yr old:
How long have you played golf? 10 yrs
How often do you swing the club? Every Day
What other sports have you played? None
With these golfers, often times we have to spend many hours getting them to learn how to use their bodies for maximum efficiency. It is hard for them to develop consistent speed and power because of this, and their bodies are developed unevenly and injuries have already started to hinder their development.
Here is what we would love to see from those golfers:
How long have you played golf? 5-10 yrs
How often do you swing the club? 3-4 days per week
What other sports have you played? Soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball or pretty much any other sport
These golfers already have great control of their bodies and are quick learners when it comes to developing speed and power conducive for their golf swing. They are also well balanced physically and have symmetrical strengths on both sides of their bodies.
So instead of taking your future champion to the range every day, get them in other sports or take them to the park and incorporate the following:
Teach them how to skip - Skipping is one of the first fundamental movements to get them to separate their upper and lower bodies
Teach them how to throw a ball - This will teach them how to use their lower body and hips to generate power to the upper body, and do this with both arms.
Have them kick a ball - This will teach them how to post up on a leg and swing around it, also do this with both legs.
Have them throw a Frisbee - This teaches them proper wrist release and body alignment
Have them play on the monkey bars - This will develop upper body and forearm strength
Challenge them to a race - Your child can’t ever be “too fast”, they will benefit their entire life from speed development at a young age.
These are just some examples of how you as a parent can create a future golf champion, these early learned skills will pay off greatly in their long term development, and be crucial in avoiding early burnout and injury.
We incorporate these skills in our junior development classes here at Hansen Fitness For Golf. Those golfers are ages 8-12 where our main focus is, body control, speed, stability, strength, and fun! Golf is an individual sport, and getting young juniors to learn to work together, challenge each other, and compete helps keep the kids engaged.
If you have a junior that could use any or all of the above, please check out our class schedule here and try a class for free, they will LOVE it!
Stay tuned next month for a post regarding our older junior classes where our focus is more around speed, mobility and strength.