This is why children should play disc golf

Simon Lizotte

© Discmania

Zur deutschen Version

How would you promote Disc Golf in order to bring more children and teens to sports?
This was initially a surprising question from a fan, for which I need more than 3 lines to answer. This is why we decided to write a full article as an answer, which will hopefully help to continue promoting disc golf. I am especially delighted to tell you that a true expert will join me on the topic. But more on that later.

My first reason to advocate disc golf for children is that it is a sport for every child. You do not have to be particularly athletic, not particularly strong or even the smartest (laughs). Whether boy or girl, whether poor or rich, whether tall or short – everyone plays together and hopefully has a lot of fun. Perhaps you know the saying, "When a ball dreams, he dreams of being a Frisbee." When you throw a disc perfectly, see it fly and even reach its target – that just feels good. It is a really nice moment. Children can easily be inspired by the process of throwing – however, when you throw a ball, it usually only flies about 25 yards. If you throw a Frisbee properly, it can easily glide for 60 to 90 yards. So it is easy: throwing things far is fun!

Many other sports not only have a long list rules but an entire rulebook. In contrast to that, Disc Golf is very easy to understand and to train. In addition, it is a financially very affordable sport – often you can even use the courses for free. You do not need special clothes or equipment, just a disc to start with.

Disc golf prepares for life
On top of the discs, you need great imagination and creativity for Disc Golf. If you cannot see a throw with your mind's eye, it will not become reality. You must be able to visualize the flight path of your disc. People say that I throw very special lines. In fact, I always take a close look at the surroundings and I wonder how my disc can reach its target, even if there is no straight connection. Parents often question in a sport: What does my child learn from it for life? Disc Golf actually is just like real life: There is not one single correct solution. When 20 different players play one hole, you will likely see 20 different approaches, throws and flight paths. This is really creative application of your own experiences.

When golfing, there is the saying “Golf is no game of perfect.” This is exactly the same with Disc Golf. There are no perfect rounds. Apart from the very rare aces, you see hardly any perfect throws. Therefore, you inevitably learn to deal with setbacks and continue to concentrate. You are alone with yourself and in a certain form you are also your biggest opponent.

Now I have to think – what other reasons come to my mind?

Suddenly, there is a voice in the background: “Hey, why don’t you ask me? I won’t run out of reasons so quickly!” It is Simon's father David who now joins Simon. The monologue turns into a dialogue.

Freedom for individual development
Dave: Disc Golf is a very individual sport that fits well into today's world. You can but you do not have to be part of a club. You can play on your own or together with friends. And you are flexible when participating in a competition. In team sports, many children struggle with being judged quickly by others, coaches as well as other players. “Is he good enough? Should she be on the team? Does he take away a spot from someone else? Does she have shoes of the right brand?” If you are very good, you have to deal with envy. And if you're not as good, you're sitting on the bench, which only helps your self-confidence to a limited extent. Of course you also learn a lot for life in team sports – don’t get me wrong. But Disc Golf is primarily an individual sport with all associated advantages. You have a lot of freedom, and your results only depend on you. You do not have to be officially part of a club, and therefore you are not somehow dependent on a coach.

This freedom and individuality also reflects in many of the people I have met through Disc Golf. It may be a coincidence and just my personal experience, but I think there are many non-conformist people who don’t focus on being mainstream or even cool. Sometimes you meet rather quiet people who may not be part of a club because they are not so comfortable in groups. Whatever. It is sometimes funny, often pleasant and almost always interesting or even special to get to know other disc golfers.

Family Sports
Perhaps the best reason for or against a sport is whether it positively affects the relationship between parents and children. You can play Disc Golf very well together, even as a family. Every family has to decide for themselves if they like it. But for me it was a great time to be with Simon. It was just cool.

Simon: Yes, especially the tournaments! They were like family trips.

Dave: For me it was really a privilege to spend so much time with my son. Not every father can say that and I am glad that I could be there and share many great memories with Simon. It was a special time. At the time, I was not as aware of that. We simply played or went on tournaments together. Today I say: “Wow, what a great time!” If I could, I would love to go back with a time machine and live through it again. For the fun of it, but also to enjoy it more deliberately, to appreciate it even more. Probably, this is how many fathers feel – you are surprised that your children have grown-up so quickly and this special joint time has come to an end.

Of course, it was also great to accompany Simon on this way to the top. I do not want to say now that it has been clear all along that Simon would make it to world-class pro. That would sound a little presumptuous. Still, deep inside of me I realized early on that Simon has a special talent and played in different league. It was apparent when he was 10 or 11 years old and played with us adults. Anyone who met him at the time could see this already. He always had a talent for movement, also in other areas, and at Disc Golf everything came well together. Obviously, I have been very proud to be at his tournaments and witness him winning.

Simon: It was just a cool time. My father and I were like best buddies and the tournaments were like road trips for me. Nowadays, we drive all night to get from one US state to the next. At that time, a 3 hour drive was already a big thing for me. As a youngster, I played 10 to 12 tournaments a year and each one was a major highlight that I had looked forward to for a long time. On Fridays I came home from school and we left right away. We often stayed with friends. And then we played the tournament.

Dave: And that we went to McDonald’s!

Simon: Yes, after each tournament, we went to McDonald’s. This was our ritual then. Too bad we don’t do that anymore. For me, it was like for Dave: As a 12 year old you do not reflect about things too much. If you are regularly doing sports with your father, you take it for granted and consider it normal. If your father is not there, as in many families, then this is what’s normal. Our father was home more regularly and that was normal for us – and great!

Disc golf has always been and will always stay something that connects us. Maybe, this is a very personal reason for playing disc golf. Still, I wish that many families feel similarly one day.

Dave: Well said! (Laughs)

Take care and keep playing disc golf!

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