We are very excited to have a chat with Caddyboo Ambassador Hannah Bowen to get some insights on her experience coaching children with disability. Helping others is one of the most gratifying feelings in life. Not only do you learn from these opportunities, but you feel that you are contributing to society.
Here is some of the most valuable advice Hannah shared with us regarding golf and her role as a coach.
1. What Makes You So Passionate About Golf?
One of Hannah’s passions is golf. She mentions that “One day [she] woke up and thought, let's ruin a perfectly good walk!”
You don’t need to be born being good at golf; it is a sport that can be learned with practice. According to Hannah: “On a serious note, my passion comes from the fact that golf is an individual sport that can be learned. You don't have to be naturally gifted to play. Having the handicap system can bring many different abilities together to play. How many other sports can offer this?”
2. Experience Coaching Disabled Children
This experience can be very challenging, but extremely fulfilling. Hannah explains: “Inclusive coaching is one of the most rewarding things I do. It challenges me and my coaching in how adaptable I have to be with each player.” One of the aspects that she enjoys the most is that “in every session [she] is learning.”
On a more personal level, Hannah says: “I love being able to connect with the players and offer them some freedom to enjoy and let loose, at the same time as learning a new skill and making friends.”
She has a family experience that motivated her to start doing this. “My sister was my main inspiration for wanting to get involved with inclusive coaching. My mam is a full time career for my sister who has a wide range of disabilities on the spectrum. About 3 years ago, she was really ill to a point where she was in and out of hospital and her mind was deteriorating. Thankfully, she got better and is healthy now.”
Seeing this made Hannah realize that she wanted to do something about it. "This was heart-breaking to see and it really made me realise that there is going to be so much in life that my sister is never going to be able to do, the freedom that I have to go and view the world. This then made me want to do my bit and offer some of the freedom I feel when on the golf course.”
3. How Did This Experience Align With Your Values?
Hannah explains that this job was very much aligned with her values and she says that she “really [wants] to encourage inclusivity and break down any barriers golf may have. I think this coaching is another way to push this change in the right direction and change the perceptions that golf isn't a sport for everyone, when it can be. I love the challenge of this coaching and the growth and happiness it can provide for the players, in the same way it is provided for me.”
Not only has this been a truly valuable experience, but it has also inspired Hannah in your golf career: “This work has inspired me to keep going, to never give up and to be grateful and blessed for the opportunities I am given. They aren't out there for everyone, so you have to grab them with both hands and never complain for the life we have been dealt. There are so many things that my pupils have had to overcome every single one of them is inspiring.”
During her time as a coach, she experienced obstacles that she had to overcome: “Things don't always go to plan in any coaching session and especially in inclusive coaching, there are external factors you can't prepare for or can sometimes forget to address. I have learnt to be adaptable in this coaching and let the pupils take some control in what they want to do in the session.
The main role of myself as a coach is to keep the pupils safe but let them also have fun. If both of these are achieved, then my job is complete. Something you have to know about the pupils and sometimes their carers is how adaptable they are too, and how lovely they are and understanding when something does go wrong. Their behaviour can make you feel at ease and in turn creates a safe and full learning environment.”
4. Lessons You Have Learned Through Golf
You learn many lessons in golf that you can apply to your day-to-day life and activities. Hannah speaks about what she has learned through golf: “Golf offers plenty of valuable skills to take into day-to-day life. PG. Woodhouse once said that the best way to learn about someone’s character is to pay golf with them and I do believe this to be true.
Golf throws you into a social situation where you get paired with people from all walks of life with all different types of personalities and have to adapt and socialise. This prepares you for life encounters.
Golf is a sport that is unpredictable so we have to learn to let go of things we can't control and put our energy towards things you can, and this is a good mantra for life because there is a lot we can't control.”
5. Most Difficult Obstacles You Have Encountered
Encountering obstacles and finding solutions makes you stronger in the long run, even if it is difficult to handle in the moment. Hannah speaks about some hardships she has encountered throughout her journey: “My PGA degree was one of the hardest things I have ever done and my proudest achievements. The degree involved having to work 30 + hours of work while playing and shooting scores and doing a foundation degree which involved assignments and both written and practical exams. I would say that golf is one of the hardest sports I have ever played, it has challenged me mentally more than anything I have ever done; this game is not an easy one for perfectionists.
Some of the biggest challenges I have encountered is the cost of playing and being a female in this sport, playing is still very expensive and sponsorships are hard to come by. Even though has still got a long way to go, it is modernizing and moving in the right direction.”
6. Motivation Apart from Golf
Having passions in your day-to-day life is truly amazing. As Hannah put it: “As well as playing and coaching to inspire to get others into the game, I would love to get into presenting and broadcasting in the game as well as my full LET tour card, while continuing my work in the community and charities. I do believe that on small act of kindness inspires another.”
We, at Caddyboo, completely agree with Hannah in that small acts of kindness can have a greater impact than we might think.
Share your opinion or experience with us in the comments ⬇️