The socializing approach to development

Two of my children sing in a choir. It is one of the most amazing choirs with a super-inspirational choir leader. Last night they did a concert, a Christmas one of course. As I sat there watching the concert, obviously with a tear running down my cheek, I thought to myself – ‘this is just the way sports should be organised’! There, in front of me stood my young children, singing from the bottom of their little hearts, but there stood also a whole bunch of other children, from 6 to about 16, AND a group of mom’s and dad’s who were taking part, just as lively as the children. To my ear some of those adults could have been selling records or performing on TV, had not been busy with this choir. That is how good they were.

Of course this is brilliant and I cannot for the life of me understand why we in sport has to have this big fixation at age. Especially not in a sport like golf where you are not exactly risking to be beaten up by somebody. Why do we have to compete at U14, U15, U16 etc? All that will ever create is a Champion who thinks he/she is better than he/she is as winning such a Junior Championship tends to send the signal that ‘you are good’. Not strange as in fact – you are the best. Only in your age group though and the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands that are better than you is easily forgotten. The other thing it does is that it limits the late developer as he/she will, guaranteed, think that the train as already left the station and no matter what I do I won’t be good enough. What I see in this choir is the  6 year-old’s who look at their older peers thinking – “if he/she can do it, why can’t I?” I also see adults thinking “she has got some potential, I will help!”. What a fabulous environment that is for development!

5 Responses to “The socializing approach to development”

  1. 1 Caroline Southgate December 13, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    One of the things I most like about golf clubs is the way the cadets are expected to mix and socialise with the adult members. The etiquette of smart dress, making speeches at competitions and generally high expectations of behaviour are what golf does better than most other sports. The reaction this week to Matts success at Tour school by Thorpe Hall members from very young to very old has been testament to a childhood of social integration!!

  2. 2 Dad's Law December 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Choir is such a great place of joy and learning.

  3. 3 MAgnus Grankvist December 18, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Interesting Peter, as usual your thoughts are interesting. Just to let you know, in Sweden on the Skandia Tour Distrikt some districts have started to make the draw in “agegroups” i.e. 10-11 year olds play together, 12-13 year olds play together and so on up to 18-21. When the final results are published everybody in the field are on the same list. Everybody is playing in the same tournament but a 19 year old does not play with a 10 year old even though they might have the same hcp. This has turned out very well and especially the older agegroups think it is a lot funnier playing with others in their same age. I think it is important to not only look at the playing capacity when your organize tournaments unless you have reached a fairly high level with your game.

  4. 4 Steven McDaniel January 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Hello Peter,

    This is an interesting comparison. Junior golf should take more into consideration the “biological age” of players and group the players in a wider division: U18, U15, U12 with different handicap levels/playing experience, for example.

    Although I am a firm believer of learning to win at every level, I also coach my players that attitude/practice/process is just as important in building confidence (hey, there is gotta be only ONE winner right?).

    Now, I do think it might be difficult to say that the “Late Bloomer” will automatically think the train has left the station after some competitions, because there must also be external influences (coach, parents, golf association) which must focus on constant encouragement/improvement for each player. Michael Jordan and Zach Johnson are 2 examples that come to mind. When Jordan did not make his High School team, his mother encouraged him to “work harder” than everyone else. This in turn produced probably the best work ethic ever in the NBA. Johnson turned pro in 1998 and didn’t become a PGA Tour member until 2004. I feel that Late Bloomers need to know that they still have the opportunity to improve so that the “fire” continues to burn for their dreams.

    Thanks Peter and I look forward to reading further posts on development.

    Steven McDaniel
    Tranås Golfklubb

  1. 1 First sign of spring « DOC blogging Trackback on March 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

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