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Improve Junior golfers’ confidence by goal setting.

One of the key things with junior golfers is confidence, and many teenage golfers did not know how goal setting could help them maintain confidence. When it comes to tournament, junior golfers tend to set high expectation, desire to win every tournament they attend, which put a lot of pressure on themselves. Having the proper goal setting allow golfers to know which tournament is important, when to peak their ability/ fitness, and what average score in each skill set do they aim to achieve.


By focusing on the right process goals instead of outcome goals, junior golfers can remove excessive expectation and pressure to focus on what needs to be done to win. Untrained mentally golfers will be worrying about their overall score, whether they beat someone in their flight, their ranking. On the other hand, mentally trained golfers know they need to focus on the here and now process in order to achieve what they want outcome wise. Following the previous blog post on how to set goal, this post will give specific examples of how to set simple goals for junior golfers.

Justin Thomas is one of several top golfers in the world who is well known for setting his goals. His goals are set at the start of the year and revealed at the end of the season.  



Goal setting helps golfer be accountable and clear in direction

2016-2017 goals



Improve confidence of junior golfers through goal setting


Below are my simple suggestions for junior golfers to start setting their outcome and process goals


Outcome goals:

How many competitions do you have in a year?

How many do you expect to be in top 10, top 5, winning?

How many do you want to make cut?

How does it make you feel when you achieve these goals?

Process goals:  ( 4 aspects)

 

Physical

1.      Aerobic fitness: (Running, cycling)

2.      Flexibility (mobility: neck rotation, shoulder rotation, thoracic rotation, hip internal rotation

3.      Strength and power: how far do you drive, club head speed

4.      Body fat

Example of setting Fitness goal:

Golfer current driving distance is 260 Yard. Goal is to get to 280 yard.

Check with fitness coach which exercises help increasing distance. For example: Squat.

Current squat ability 40kg (including Olympic bar). Aim to increase to 50kg Squat in 6 months.

To do this, you will squat 3 times a week with some substitution by deadlift exercise in alternative week.

This means you transfer a golf specific outcome goal into a doable fitness exercise to focus weekly on the task. 

 

 

Technical

1.      Long game

a.      Driving Distance: Track average and longest drives to see if they're gaining power and consistency.

b.      Fairway Hit Percentage: Aim for improvement in finding the fairway off the tee. This reduces penalty strokes and sets you up for better scoring opportunities.   

2.      Short game

a.      Greens in Regulation (GIR): Track how often they reach the green in regulation (generally two shots on a par 4). This combines elements of distance control and accuracy.

b.      Up-and-Downs: Measure how often they save par after missing the green in regulation. This is a crucial short game skill.

3.      Putting

a.      Putts Per Round: Track the total number of putts in a round. Focus on reducing 3-putts and improving overall consistency on the green.

b.      Lag Putting Accuracy: This measure how close they get their first putt to the hole, setting up easier tap-ins.

4.      Additional Stats:

a.      Scrambling Percentage: Track how often they save par after missing both the green and fairway. It shows short game resourcefulness.

b.      Total Score: While not a specific skill, tracking total score shows overall improvement. However, emphasize process goals over just score reduction.

 

Tactical

You should discuss this section with your coach about course management. Several factors to consider include:

a. Windy condition/ no wind

b. Short golf course/ Long course

c. Golf course with many trees/bushes or not.


Mental

Master the following 5 mental skills and know when to apply them

a. Relaxation

b. Visualization

c. Self-talk

d. Focus/concentration

e. Goal-setting

 

 

 

Example Goals for a Current College Golfer


a. Long-term goal: Be a collegiate All-American

b. Short term goal: Win a collegiate tournament


Process goals: Ask your coach for extra help, practice 4+ hours additional hours each week outside of your normal practice time, keep track of drills/stats and improvement each week, play a competitive match against a teammate or boys team member each week, workout 1 additional time each week outside of your normal required workouts, meet with mental coach 1 additional time than required each month, play 2-3 tournaments during the offseason (holiday break).

 

Example Goals for different skill levels


a. Beginner skill level:

1. Strike the ball on every swing

2. Score less than 10 on each hole

3. Have a maximum of 3 putts on any hole

4. Play golf with someone you did not previously know

5. Enter golf tournaments on a consistent basis



Intermediate skill level:

1. Regularly break 100 for 18 holes

2. Have 2 pars per 18 holes

3. Find the club that puts you in play off the tee box, not Driver

4. Play against people that are better golfers than you are

5. Consistently put your chips within 3 feet of the hole


Advanced skill level:

1. Work on your course management

2. Work on controlling your emotions, particularly anger

3. Work on your short game, chipping and putting

4. Work on your people skills, play with a smile or at least appear to be in a good mood

5. Perfect a brand-new shot or two

 

Now look at JT’s goal in 2017 and see if you can identify which type of goals they are:



Junior golfers focus on process goal helps removing pressure

Notice how JT did not make some of his goals even though he achieved becoming number 1 in the world. Champions always have a set of goals that they work toward, and achieving an outcome goal is only part of the process.

Compare this with the goal in 2018-2019



Removing high expectation for teenage golfers through clear goals

Compare with last year, JT lost the goal of being number 1 in the world, he was not successful in making all the cuts too.

Sometimes you may work very hard but it does not show in the outcome goal. For example JT in 2021. He mentioned he had a lot of good things but no result to show. Having clear goals as such helps champions moving forward without losing their confidence when the outcome results were not as they expected.


long term goal helps junior golfer overcome frustration


Champions know when to be humble to learn the necessary lessons. Read what JT wrote about a difficult year in 2023 when he doesn’t achieve anything of his goals. It is this humble and hardworking attitude that can bring him back to winning soon.



Justin Thomas stay positive despite not achieving goals



Teach junior golfers to stay positive by working hard toward their goals


 What about yourself? What goals have you set for you and how well did you track them to move toward your goals?

 

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