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How Tiger Does It

Cross posted from my golf blog... I just finished reading a terrific book "How Tiger Does It" by Brad Kearns. It provides some great insights into Tiger's life and how he maintains his competitive edge. The book is much more interesting however, when read from a parent's point of view, I think.

The author talks a lot about kids and parenting (he must have his own!) and translating Tiger's winning ways into tools you can give your kids. The biggest takeway for me, across the board however is the idea that your child must be internally motivated (pure motivation), and that motivation must come from inside them.

My daughters both play sports (softball, basketball, soccer and golf) but never, ever practice on their own without being asked. Never. They do however, read, write and practice their instruments. My younger one draws pictures just because she feels like it. It's hard as a parent who knows that in order to get better, your kids have to practice - but the very act of pushing them to practice could be just the push your kid is looking for to quit. I'd prefer they keep playing casually instead of quitting because I've been an overbearing, winning obsessed parent.

The author points out "tips for raising a Tiger" towards the end of the book. I think they are worth listing here:
  1. Nurture your child's pure motivation and natural potential (in other words, don't project!!)
  2. Be a good caddie (help your child navigate, but let her take her own shots!)
  3. Place high expectations on your child (no for results, but honest, sportsmanlike and maximum effort in competition - direct praise at effort and behavior, not at ability or results)
  4. Apply the success formula (don't over do it, enforce expectations for effort and character and reduce emphasis on natural ability and winning)

The book is filled with great stories about Tiger's youth, his dad and mom's approach and full of quotes and bromides from the man himself. Well worth the time to read this book.

Full disclosure: I was not asked to do this review, I found the book in the library!

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