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Youth Golf Parenting Tips

Losing Practice Focus

Every practice session becomes more heated. Dad yells at Gloria for every little error. Lectures become the primary mode of conversation and Gloria's only emotional defense is to take on a rebellious posture that infuriates her father even more. Dad can't stand this attitude, and believes that, with it, she can't win. Dad is moving deeper and deeper into tunnel vision.

Dad wants Gloria to win so badly he cannot accept her rebellious attitude, so he increases the intensity believing this will break her of this attitude. The irony is that he wants her utilizing a positive attitude while demonstrating an incredible negative attitude himself. This tension leads Dad to say things to Gloria like, “You aren't going to win because you aren't like Sally. Do you see her talking to her parents that way? You're a loser because your attitude stinks!”

Gloria's only response is to cry herself to sleep at night. She wants to play good golf, but she knows she can never do enough to please her father. She is beginning to hate golf because of the pressure her father is putting on her.

Tournament Day: The Worst Day Of All

The day of the tournament finally arrives and it does not get any better for Dad or Gloria. Dad believes he is the best golf teacher in the world, despite his own mediocre game. As final preparation for the tournament begins he nit picks everything Gloria does: from how she does not dress properly to how she puts the tee in the ground to pointing out all the faults in her swing. His voice gets louder and he talks faster as he feels the pressure of the day. All the other parents are around their kids and you can cut the pressure filled air with a knife.

Each bad shot at the range creates more and more tension. Dad is doing the best to fix the problems technically in her swing. He talks constantly while she is warming up and his rapid tempo voice pattern only serves to increase her nervousness. She begins to mimic his endless tirades because she has heard it all thousands of times before. When he sees this, he jumps all over her for not being respectful. He pulls her aside and yells at her for disrespecting him. He totally loses it. The calm environment necessary for good golf has been destroyed

Tunnel Vision Results In Emotional Abuse

There is no doubt that Dad is experiencing tunnel vision. He has lost all perspective of what is important. But tunnel vision has been building for weeks; as a result, he cannot even see or understand what the problem is on tournament day. He is so unfocused that he does not even care that his daughter will go to the first tee crying because of his yelling and screaming. He sees her as disrespectful and believes he can justify his behavior to the other parents. He has ruined any chance of his daughter doing well that day and she is beginning to hate golf because it represents his emotional abuse. The only way out of this emotional quagmire for Gloria is that quit playing golf in order to preserve some semblance of her own emotional health.

Tunnel Vision In Individual Sports: Even More Destructive?

In many ways Tunnel Vision is even more destructive in individual sports than it is in team sports. In team sports there is at least the opportunity for other parents to help contain the parent for the good of the team. But when it is just parent and child, there usually is no one brave enough on the outside to step in and stop the abusive process. Tunnel Vision keeps the parent so narrowly focused on negative aspects of their child's performance that they often can not see that they are destroying their child's self-esteem and ruining his or her chances of performing at a peak level.