How did you get involved with The First Tee?
RM: I actually got involved with the first tee from a few golf friends of mine, Robert and Eleanor. They introduced me to a golf party, and it was for Monica Sanders’ dad. It was a 9-hole tournament at Buchanan. I got the chance to ask Monica about volunteering and how I could get involved, it was a very easy process to start volunteering and I’ve loved it so far. That started on June 6, 2016, and now I’m a Level I coach, and I encourage everyone to volunteer.
What have First Tee participants taught YOU?
RM: You know, I think when it comes to the participants they’ve actually taught me patience, which is something I’ve always worked on; kids have a lot of energy, so learning styles are different. As coaches we have to understand that all relationships are give and take; I’ve learned that the kids need to have leadership roles; this allows us all in the program to have an optimal learning environment. I believe establishing relationships and building rapport with youth and allowing them to lead, while also reminding myself to keep an open mind and remember that everyone has a different learning style.
What would you tell a parent who was thinking of enrolling their junior into a class at The First Tee?RM: I would definitely say that it is a great program; it’s mastery-drive, and right now I believe it is a huge promotion for kids to get out and socialize. It will allow them to learn the building blocks of relationships and healthy habits that tie into all aspects of life; not just with golf. It’s a great program, so I would also encourage parents to go out and play!
What is the best thing about being a coach?
RM: The satisfaction of knowing I’m giving back to the community, even if it’s in a small way. One hour of my week definitely is a satisfaction that I feel money cannot pay; and knowing that we’re impacting our youth to live healthier life styles is something I am proud to help encourage by being a coach.
What is a hobby or something you do that might surprise other coaches or The First Tee participants?RM: I think that a hobby that would surprise coaches and other participants is that I have turntables and I love to mix music, digitally and with vinyl. I love being creative and music is an easy way to be creative. There is no way you can mess up when creating different mixes with music, and it’s a great outlet.
Something else that probably not a lot of people know is that I have a degree in Psychology, and I love to study human behavior, I think it’s fascinating.
How would your players describe you as a coach?
RM: You would first have to ask them, but I would hope that they would describe me as a cool, confident, funny, and very unique coach. Probably vulnerable too. I embrace my differences and I’d like to show participants to be confident in who they are
What is your favorite golf club in your bag and why?
RM: You know, my favorite club is my 56-degree wedge; and that is because it just fits perfectly in my hand. The way it’s balanced, there’s something that’s visually attractive to me about the face of the club. And it’s the only club that I can use to juggle a golf ball (laughs) My record right now is 54, but I have a student who came to class and told me “Coach Rebecca, I got up to 66!” so it’s a fun competition.
LD: Do you have a least favorite club?
RM: I would say no, I think there are clubs that present a challenge, but I believe that we should step out of our comfort zone and use all clubs. That also goes with everything in life, stepping out of our comfort zone, and enlist realms and techniques. What works for someone else might or might not work for you, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.
What is one strategy you use to keep participants engaged?
RM: I’ve learned that I’m a talker, but in this particular system and program it’s important that we talk less and have the kids do more. There are some things that we do have to talk about, but it is mostly a physical program, essentially to have juniors doing something. Another thing I keep in mind is to match the activity to the child, not the child to the activity.
What is your favorite game or activity to implement during class?
RM: My favorite game would just be walking 9 holes and allowing students to participate in the game. When it comes to different segments in the lesson plans, I would say my favorite part would be the warm ups, like Tic-Tac-Toe, which is a really fun game that kids get really into.
Coach Rebecca currently assists the Par and Birdie classes at Hiddenbrooke
Thank you Coach Rebecca!