Tips for Supporting Your Student-Athlete

Recently I attended an elite level golf tournament, riddled with college coaches scouting potential players for their teams, many from the Division I level. A few coaches followed the players I was accompanying. As we crossed paths, I decided to ask a few questions about scouting and what they look for. I received some general answers that you could probably predict. However, one topic that nearly every coach mentioned was the subject of “Parents.”

What do Parents have to do with the recruitment of an athlete? How can a Parent help their child while they are building their golf resume?

• Clarify your role in your child’s development – As a parent, inevitably you wear many hats and become comfortable with the challenges of being in many roles. When it comes time to turn over the reins, some parents struggle to know how best to support their child. At IJGA we use technology and facts to keep parents informed of the blueprint and plan for their child’s development. In doing this, we encourage parents to support and provide unconditional love as we work as a team to build the person and athlete.

• Support Mastery of Skills – In golf, it is the score at the end of the day that is measured. Making your high school team, college qualifier or local amateur field are all measured by score. Even at the professional level where livelihood is on the line, scores are what dictate success. What is often overlooked at the amateur level are the skills that create the scores. Without the motor and finely tuned engineering, scores come inconsistently and are likely viewed as an anomaly. Players typically then show a lack of confidence and helplessness when forced to adapt. Scores are a product of improving skills and transferring them into competition. Again, outcomes are the product. By supporting mastery of ever-more challenging skills (such as pin proximity, Greens In Regulation (GIR), enjoying challenge), students learn to revert back to building the skills first which promotes increased ownership and confidence in learning and improving.

• Provide Unconditional Love – As coaches, we work hard to push athletes towards their potential, and as a part of this they will encounter challenges. It is through being challenged where the most fulfilling learning thrives. Unconditional love and support allows the child to feel supported when venturing into unfamiliar grounds and understand that they are able to push towards greater goals.

As we prepare and build students for college and beyond, it is important to remember that college coaches look for skills not just scores, support and teamwork.

If you would like to know more please reach out to IJGA at or the author of this article at

Skylar Jewell
IJGA Director of Mental Performance / Character Mentor


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