First off, The First Tee is much more than “just golf.” The First Tee is also a Youth Development Program where participants are taught life skills by having fun while learning the game of golf. Through the process, these young people acquire The First Tee Nine Core Values: Respect, Courtesy, Responsibility, Judgment, Perseverance, Confidence, Sportsmanship, Honesty and Integrity. Golf is simply the catalyst to help develop better people.
The First Tee foundation is about creating an optimal learning environment for participants to maximize their development of life skills, golf skills, and healthy habits. Please see below to learn more about the coaching philosophy and the objectives and intentions for classes.
Each class / session has the following three (3) components:
All three of these components are then “blended” together, and “poured” out into what is called a “Seamless” lesson plan. These lesson plans are delivered using specific coaching strategies called “Building Blocks”. Coaches use these strategies to create optimal learning environments and build positive relationships with young people. There are four Building Blocks and each are described briefly below.
Activity Based – This means in our classes there is a lot more doing than telling. We design our activities/games to do most of the teaching. You might think of our coaches as “master game designers,” who create activities/games that facilitate the development of skills. Young people learn much more, and better, when being active, and where there is opportunity for exploration and self‐discovery. Kids want to “do” much more than they want to be “told” what/how to do
Mastery Driven – This is where our coaches balance the Process and Outcome. We keep our attention on the intention. Example: If we were working on the golf fundamental of swing balance on a particular day, we would stay focused on swing balance and not “jump” into the grip, alignment/aim, etc. (we believe that could be overload). Also, we positively reinforce and provide feedback to the participant based on swing balance, and not just on the outcome or quality of shot.
Empowering Youth – We ask open ended questions and allow the participant the time to formulate and respond; we listen to our participants. We invite participants to add to the class by being involved with decision making, etc. We strive to bring out the “expertise” from the participants.
Continuous Learning – In general, we provide a learning experience where each time participants come back to a class, we are building on what they have been exposed to and/or started applying in a previous class. Additionally, we create opportunities for the participant to “check in and see where she/he is at” and help formulate a plan for ongoing improvement.