Where have all our athletes gone?   PART 2

By:  Mindi Boysen, TPI CGFI

In the last issue of Junior Golf Magazine, Part 1 focused on what to ask your prospective junior golf instructor or school before enrolling your junior golfer in their program.  The Titleist Performance Institute’s (TPI) philosophy of junior golf is that junior golf schools need to develop fundamental movement skills, establish functional movement patterns, develop sport specific skills, teach golf-specific skills, and most importantly create a love for the game.    Below is a more in-depth example of your child’s development.  Where does he/she fall when it comes to their physical literacy?

In a sport development study in 2002, Cote & Hay divided a child’s athletic progression into three categories:

Specializing Years (Training To Play):  This second phase typically happens during the 13th-15th years of age.  The rangeSampling Years (Learning To Play):  This early experience with organized sport usually occurs in the 6-12 age group.  These are the years of exposure to a wide range of activities.  The main focus is fun and enjoyment while learning skills through “deliberate play” that is NOT necessarily guided by adults.  As a child finds “favorite” activities on his own, he may start “dropping out” of certain sports o

r moving onto the second phase with that sport… reduces to one-three sports and focus turns less from fun and enjoyment to a more competitive spirit.  This is where the lessons of winning and losing play a huge part.  Training & playing is deliberate and guided to further sports skills.

Investment Years (Train To Compete & Excel):  The third phase is where a certain sport is chosen for intensive training and competition at the regional/state/national levels and can start as early as the age of 16.  It is important to keep in mind during this phase that deliberate practice is a must and sense of balance physically, mentally, and emotionally is key.

If you invest in your child’s athletic development as a whole during the Sampling Years (6-12) and the Specializing Years (13-15), your “investment” may well pay off in the Investment Years (16+).

As a parent, you are a very powerful influence on not only your child’s athletic development, but your child’s athletic attitude as well.  Be patient and become informed by asking questions of coaches and schools.  Your child will look to you for guidance and support often.  By understanding the progressive stages of development, you can help ensure that your child’s experience with sports is a positive one.


Mindi  Boysen has her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Indiana University of PA.  She is a TPI Level 3 Certified Golf Fitness Instructor and TPI Level 3 Junior Golf Coach.  Her Junior programs have been introduced in a number of private clubs in Arizona as well as Barcelona, Spain.

 “Fit For Golf!  Fit For Life!” has published a golf fitness program on DVD’s as well as  a book, Synergistic Golf, that outlines each day of the year with golf performance enhancing tips. You can catch demonstrations of golf specific exercises on Golf America TV nationwide. Mindi is the official fitness partner of the Arizona Women’s Golf Association and is available for private or group sports conditioning training as well as seminars and nutritional consultations. For more information…http://www.fitforgolfusa.com