One of the main talking points of this year’s BB&O (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire) Golf Partnership’s revised Junior Golf Academy programme is the FUNdamentals section.
The programme was designed so youngsters can have FUN but develop skills that are vital in motor skill learning. The ability to co-ordinate body parts enables any golf swing changes in the future to be made much easier as the youngsters have control over their motor skills.
The emphasis is on developing the athlete first and the sports person second! It is what it says in the name ‘FUNdamentals’ – with the emphasis on fun.
Stuart Morgan, lead coach at Mill Ride, who was instrumental in developing FUNdamentals with the BB&O Golf Partnership, said: “FUNdamentals was also designed to be fun and in keeping with Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD).
“Research suggests that golf is a 20-year development sport to elite level and we have to guard against burn out. We have much more chance of keeping youngsters in the game when golf coaching becomes more FUN and informative.
“We developed FUNdamental movement skills and FUNdamental sports skills which have a huge cross over with golf, such as striking an object and throwing for example. These skills develop great motion while the youngsters have fun. And the big great thing is they can do it anywhere.
“If we do too much deliberate practice with golfers too young rather than letting them sample and play games, we run the risk of early specialisation and burn out.
“As young golfers get older they should be monitored for digression in these skills and I would hope that by the time they hit 15 they should be physically literate. If they aren’t, then we take them back a phase.
“Developing young athletes/golfers is a science and an art. It is no longer about lining juniors up in the driving range in groups of 15 and 20 getting them to hit balls. That is just boring and the best way to insure they drop out from our sport – it’s just not fun.
“I understand that FUNdamentals will be quite controversial for some as it goes against the norm and gets coaches out of their comfort zone. But if you watch youngsters perform these drills and exercises you will be able to spot those who will have a more streamlined development.
“If FUNdamentals is embraced we will get better results with young golfers.”
BB&O Golf Partnership www.bbogolfpartnership.com