Kids Sports & Recreation/7 year old boy

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Question
Hi,
I am a mother of a 7 year old boy, 5 year old boy and 3 year old girl. My husband is a golfer and wants the same for my kids. He has been working with my 7 year old since he was 3. My 7 y/o is a great golfer. We have many people complament on his swing. The only problem is that he is constantly wanting to play around and not focus. His lack of focus causes him to not do well in putting and there for upsets his dad and then its not enjoyable. How far and hard do we push him to do this? Is it "normal" for 7 y/o boys to be so hyper and not able to focus? Thank you for your time.

Answer
Hi Kelsey, thanks for asking. It is entirely natural for your 7 year old to not focus. Much of it is developmental. If you've ever hung out in a second grade class you'd quickly see what I mean.

Seven year-olds can have amazing physical skills. But they do not have the corresponding mental and emotional skills and will not have them for some time. Maybe never. How many people have the mental focus and determination of Tiger Woods? In anything? I certainly do not.

Now, Tiger is an interesting example because his father really pushed him from an early age. For every Tiger there are probably 10,000 kids who were pushed and then either quit or certainly didn't rise to the occasion later on in life. And even more importantly, is Tiger a great example?

We know from his recent problems that there have to be some areas of his life that were not developed normally or healthily. I'm of the belief that it probably goes back to the pushing he got from his father. What you and your husband believe is up to you.

If your husband wants his kids to be golfers he needs to expose them to the game (which he has)and make it fun (which is sounds like he is not). If he makes it competitive and work, they will hate it. They may get good, but they will hate it and resent him. I would say out of the 5,000 kids or so I have known from youth sports that this is true 100% of the time.

I have two other points. One is that kids should be learning a wide variety of sports for developmental reasons as well as physical ones. By specializing early you invite many over-use injuries along with limiting potential muscular/neurological development.

The other is ways to make golf fun for him. Make up putting games and make them fun and short. If he doesn't want to play, don't force him. If he does, stop early before he wants to. This will help keep him hungry and desiring to play. One way to make it fun would be to put weird obstacles for him to putt around, under, over or whatever. Also, have him do it on one leg, with one arm, backwards, even upside down. Experiment and make the emphasis fun.

Best of luck. If you want more ideas, let me know! Ron

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Ron Usher

Expertise

If you have a question about sports, fitness, activities, and healthy living dealing with kids ages 3 to 18, I can help. I've been coaching and working with coaches, kids and sports for over thirty years. I can also help with questions about adapted PE for kids with disabilities.

Experience

Currently adapted physical education teacher for kids with disabilities ages 6 to 22. Swim and water polo coach for 30 years. Worked as a personal trainer to develop athletic skills for kids in a wide variety of sports. Very knowledgeable in strength, conditioning, balance and skill development. I believe sports are great for kids but they don't replace a healthy, active, family lifestyle.

Education/Credentials
BA physical education, minor in sports psychology. MA in kineseology. Single subject credential in physical education with an adapted PE certificate.

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