4 steps to help mental wellbeing in lockdown
We know that lockdown can bring its challenges for families, so we've put together some steps to help young people's mental wellbeing, based on our Unleash Your Drive programme which uses golf to teach life skills to young people.
- Get creative as a family – encourage your children to design their own indoor lockdown putting challenge, activity or game (click here for more ideas). All household family members can play, and you don’t even need golf kit. You can use cricket bats, tennis racquets, umbrellas, tennis or bouncy balls and rolled-up tin-foil or a pair of socks – or a putter and golf ball if you have these of course. Enjoy the moment creating your challenge and working together to build it. Please feel free to design your own skills tests or practice drills to suit all abilities.
- Encourage your children to positively self-reflect – ask them what they enjoyed about their challenge or practice game. What would they do differently next time? Ask them at the end of every day to think of 3 things that they have done well. Use open ended questions that begin with ‘How’, ‘What’ and ‘Why’ to challenge your children and to get them to really think about the answer by creating a bit of silence that they need to fill.
- Help your children to ‘control their fizz’ (keep calm) – whether excited, nervous or agitated. Introduce this simple breathing exercise during your golf session: take a deep breath in for 3-4 seconds, hold for 3-4 seconds, and then breathe out for 4-5 seconds. Repeat this cycle 3-4 times and ask them to notice how much calmer they feel. Ask your kids where else could they use this breathing technique? Perhaps in school in lessons when they are back, or trying to work at home with lots of distractions around, when they’re feeling nervous or wound up? Practise this together.
- Reward effort, particularly in primary age children – ‘trying hard’ is seen as more important than achieving the task in younger children so always congratulate your children on giving their best. Try not to praise talent or ability; by getting young people to understand that ability comes as a result of working hard, it gives them inspiration to work hard in their practice.
For all PGA Coaches, teachers and junior volunteers: if you would like to join an online training workshop on learning more about how to apply the mental toughness principles described in this article, please contact the Golf Foundation at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Stay safe, enjoy your golf at home: when we can get back to the fairways later on there will be no stopping us!