WELCOME TO OUR NEW YOUTH SPORTS PAGE!

Ever wish you could ask someone about a specific challenge you or your child is experiencing with a teammate or perhaps a coach, or, maybe how to avoid a previous conflict? Ever wonder about the proper etiquette in approaching a sports organization about new ideas or a concern...or a million other things about sports? Well, now you can!

With the ever-growing popularity of youth sports, we are proud to present our newest columnist, Jon Buzby, who is an expert in youth sports. Parents, Grandparents, Family and Friends, (even other Coaches) have an unquenchable thirst for learning more about the many aspects of each, including tips, motivation and explanations on how better to prepare our children for the most successful experience.

Jon Buzby is a successful syndicated columnist and former youth coach. His column, The Buzz on Youth Sports, appears in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as throughout the Internet. His latest books are, Coaching Kids: It's More than X's and O's and Raising a Sports Fanatic. Email your questions or comments to Jon via email or visit his website at www.jonbuzby.com for more information.


The Buzz on Youth Sports

TRY IT FORE FUN
by, Jon Buzby, www.JonBuzby.com

My son's interest in golf started when he was 5 years old and Tiger Woods won his first Master's Tournament.

Since that time, he has played numerous rounds, attended various clinics and even asks for golf apparel for birthdays and holidays. He is on his third set of clubs at the age of 16. He plays for fun, not in a league or on a team of any kind. Just like I do at the age of 42.

This month we’ll watch the Masters together, just as we have every year since Tiger’s magical win. Golf has become something fun that we do together on the course and in front of the television. It's a sport any parent (mom or dad) and child (boy or girl) can enjoy together.

I'm not sure there is any game better suited for family time. Just because you might not play, don't rob yourself and your child the chance to try this great game of a lifetime.

Even if you don't want to play, you can accompany your child on the course and just walk along or drive the cart.

You don't have to be a great athlete to play the game. It doesn't matter how tall you are or how much you can bench press. Sprinting is never required and you don't have to dodge anyone coming at you full tilt trying to knock you over.

It can be expensive. But what I've found is most courses have reduced rates for juniors. Some courses let kids play for free when an adult greens fee is purchased. I started my son chipping and putting in the back yard for free.

You can buy a new set of kids clubs and a bag for less than $100. I've also seen a lot of used sets (kids and adults) at yard sales that are perfectly fine for less than $30.

I found the best way to introduce the game is in small chunks. Start at driving ranges and practice greens and then head to those shorter executive courses (also known as par 3's). If your child only wants to play six holes, that is fine. Leave the course with him wanting more. If you drag him through the final three holes, he will hesitate the next time you ask him to play.

Be smart about the weather. Just because you can endure the heat of the summer or the chilly fall doesn't mean he'll want to. And be strategic about when you take him out on the course. I love seeing beginners on the golf course, just not at prime time on the weekend mornings when the course is already crowded and play slowed down. Late summer afternoons are the perfect time for beginners to play and the prices are usually reduced then, too.

And if he doesn't like it, so be it. Golf is not for everyone. But like every youth sport, everyone deserves a chance to try it out.

Jon Buzby is a syndicated columnist. Reach him at JonBuzby@hotmail.com.

Jon Buzby’s columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. He is also a frequent public speaker and has written two books. He can be reached through his website at www.jonbuzby.com.


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