19th Hole

Jeff Fisher
Director of Instruction
Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club
Mesa, AZ

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What’s My Role?

At the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy, we coach a lot of junior golfers whose goal it is to play competitively whether it be for high school, college or beyond. A question we get asked quite often by parents is,”What should my role be?”.

This is sometimes a difficult question to answer because an involved parent is integral to the success of a young athlete. However, it is important that roles be established to best help the junior golfer’s reach their goals.

My stock answer to the question is pretty much always the same. Parents should be support systems, cheerleaders and fans. This is imperative in the development of the athlete because they need a place where there is no critique and no coaching, only support and encouragement. That is the role of the parent.

The role of the coach has to be different. Yes, there will certainly be encouragement and guidance coming from the coach but there will also need to be a certain amount of critique and that too is imperative to the growth of the athlete. The coach is a trained professional who speaks in a specific language and with specific methods unique to that coach. The athlete needs to have a singular voice when it comes to the coaching aspect.

Confusion for the athlete comes when there is more than one voice and those voices are saying different things. The athlete knows it is the coach’s job to give him/her direction but also finds it hard to not listen to his/her parents. This is where well-defined roles are a necessity to help the athlete get where he or she wants to go.

When parents make the decision to take their child to a coach, whether it be for golf, baseball or academics, the decision also has to be made to put their trust in that coach and be secure in the different roles that coaches and parents play.

As a coach and a parent, I have seen the situation from both sides and know how difficult it is for a parent to take a step back in the coaching aspect, but in the long run the defined roles of parent and coach make for healthier relationships and more successful athletes all around.

Jeff Fisher is Director of Instruction at the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow Golf Club. Jeff can be reached at 480.414.9330 or jfisher@obsports.com.