Like many of the tech-games that kids play today, the ability to strategise and execute actions in games
has taken over the desire to be active and move around often
By Dr Barry Kluner / COURTESY OF GOLF MALAYSIA
Ever find yourself at a loss on how to get your kids to put down their smart devices, get off the sofa and get active? Well, you certainly aren’t alone! Like most parents, we struggle to convince our growing kids and teens (without nagging too much) on the need to move during these important developmental years.
When I see kids at my clinic, many tell me they just aren’t interested in team-oriented sports. Instead, they prefer the challenge of strategising. Like many of the tech-games that kids play today, the ability to strategise and execute actions in games has taken over the desire to be active and move around often. No matter how we look at it, our kids need to move more. That’s where golf comes in.
As a golfer yourself, you already know the benefits of the sport. You personally thrive on the internal drive needed to strategise and improve, as well as the etiquette, responsibility and positive impacts golf has on your brain, body, social activity and overall wellbeing.
The golf world is now well connected online, being more popular than ever before. Boys and girls of all ages are now more exposed to young professional golfers sharing their journeys and many are actively keen to pick up a set of clubs and give it a try. That brings up a common question that parents often ask me: “Should my kids play golf?” Absolutely!
The benefits of getting into the game at a young age are phenomenal. In a world of “digital dementia” (changes to the brain from tech-overload), today’s teens and kids are constantly exposed to “noise”. Many lack balance and coordination, stamina and endurance, and the ability to simply adapt to the world around them. It’s vital that proper development takes place during these growing years. Once this stage is over, it’s gone. Golf can help in each of these areas, as well as teach young people how to apply many of life’s important lessons towards a quality future.
The key to learning is experience, both good and bad. Golf certainly has its fair share of both! Whether you succeed or fail at any endeavour, it’s these experiences that help shape who we are and contribute to who we will be. Active kids with active lifestyles waste less time doing “nothing” and spend more time gaining new experiences physically, mentally and emotionally. If your kids are already active, that’s a great start! They have already experienced the concepts of winning and losing, feel the desire to strive and excel, and what it means to be a part of a team. Consider adding golf to the list.
Golf is one of the few games we get to play for life. Along the way, golfers develop friendships, values, integrity, pride, humility, coordination, self-control and so much more! The real question instead is “Why not golf?” There is a lot to learn from the game if you give them the chance to find out.
Here are my top-five reasons why golf is great for kids:
Develop Social Skills
The World Health Organisation has now declared that social interaction is just as important to healthy living as eating well, sleeping enough and moving effectively. Golf is a game we can play for years to come, giving the chance to make many friends along the way too. Making friends at the course helps young people develop social skills, be more interactive socially, recognise and appreciate diversity, and provides a chance to spend quality time with quality people.
Move Better, Get Fit, Be Well.
In this high-tech world, we just don’t move enough, limiting our fitness potential, leading to chronic pain issues and diseases too early in life. Stepping onto the driving range or golf course for a few hours a week helps reset your brain to-body health connection. Our kids are no different. Going “green” is a great way for young people to get active. The golf course is a safe environment for kids to coordinate and balance their body system as they learn the principle fundamentals of the golf swing. Bonus: They get to move, bend, twist, walk and breathe better by being outdoors!
When the game is going your way, smiles can be seen for miles. Frustration is certainly at the other end of the spectrum when your game is off. Learning to deal with stress and temper responsibly is one of life’s valuable lessons. Performance flaws are due less to golf balls and clubs, but more to the golfers themselves.
A young flustered golfer learns to take responsibility for both their good and bad performances, actions and reactions through experience. That same experience lends itself to better assess and modify most situations on the course to be better — another grand rule in life itself. This determination and discipline can go a long way at a young age, helping them to become a critical thinker and problem solver early in life. When they do get it right, they can humbly bask in knowing that they made it happen all on their own. Learning to be responsible with self-control on the course is a key element for success, both on and off the course.
Sports and life run along similar pathways. Golf, like life, is full of ups and downs, wins and losses. Being a humble winner and not a sore loser makes our growing kids true champions in life. Be sure to set examples and teach your kids to be a dedicated player with the character and skills to back it up. Remember, a loser says little, a winner says less!
That’s right! You can actually improve your posture by playing more golf! The sport trains your mind and body to connect the fundamentals, discipline and coordination for proper swing mechanics. Since posture itself is a brain-based connection too, the very same concepts apply to improving posture.
Good postural control is essential to performing a proper set-up, swing and follow through. Knowing the fundamentals, discipline and coordination required to sit and stand with better posture makes a major impact on healthy development of the growing back and body.
Playing more golf will help control slumping posture, both on and off the course. A slouchy posture makes you tired and stressed because it limits natural movement and eventually hurts if you do it for too long.
Don’t forget to bring your kids to your local chiropractor for a spine and posture health check.
Good posture powers healthy spines that help protect your gentle spinal cord so your body can function at its best. Don’t forget, good posture looks great too!
Parents, it’s our job to help set the trends at home. Give your kids a chance to enjoy your game and all of its benefits too. Healthy habits from an active lifestyle will certainly give your kids the chance to develop better and excel in many aspects of their lives.
Dr Barry Kluner is one of the original chiropractic pioneers in the region who specialises in family care, postural restoration and sporting injuries particularly related to weight-training and golf.