Ashley Kettmann is a former Foothill High School in Pleasanton and San Jose State golfer. After college she competed professionally, including competing in two seasons of the Big Break on the Golf Channel, finishing runner-up in Big Break VII: Reunion at Reunion. She currently lives in Livermore with her husband Jeff and their four children. She teaches lessons at the Pleasanton Golf Center as well as privately and counts Golden State Warrior Andre Iguodala as a client. Kettmann is the founder of Queen of the Green and can followed on Instagram under that title. Kettmann is writing a blog for ACES about golf and life. This blog will be published in two parts as she confronts her competitiveness a professional athlete as it relates to her children playing sports! Following is Part I.

I have traveled all around the world competing in golf tournaments. Playing golf and being athletic is just part of who I am.

Naturally, I assumed that my kids would inherit the same desire to succeed in sports as me. My husband Jeff played baseball through college, so my children are not lacking in the athletic gene department.

My oldest (Hadley) recently turned 6, and this past year Jeff and I have really been trying to help her gain confidence. She is very athletic, but tends to be cautious and timid, and doesn’t like trying new activities, out of fear of being embarrassed from failing.

She isn’t overly interested in golf yet, so we signed her up for the summer swim team. Hadley is very tall, (she is supposed to be 5’11” when she grows up), is the tallest in her class, and looks like a 9-year-old. It can be hard on her when people think she’s 9 or 10, but she acts like a 6-year-old.

On top of that, she wasn’t born with an abundance of inner belief in herself like her younger brother Clark. If we walk into a room full of people, she clings to my leg, and hides behind me until she feels comfortable.

As a mom, this drives me absolutely insane. I hate the fact that she feels insecure in these settings.  I was hoping that swim team would be the perfect way for her to gain some inner confidence that she has been lacking.

Her very first swim-meet of the summer, we were all up at 5:30 a.m. getting ready for the big event.  We got there at 7 for warmups and she seemed really excited.  She was in the first race of the meet, so I walked her over to the starting blocks, and tears started streaming down her face – she was terrified to race and didn’t want to get in the water.

As an athlete, this made no sense to me. I wanted her to have the same fire in her belly that I have in mine. I wanted her to WANT to dive in the pool and BEAT everyone. As a mom, I had to take a step back and realize that my little girl’s insecurities were creeping up and she was terrified to compete.

I knelt down and looked her in the eyes and told her that Mommy didn’t care if she won or lost, as long as she tried her best. This was a small lie, I of course wanted her to win, but I also wanted her to at least try. I didn’t want fear to hold her back.

When my motivational speech didn’t help her to get in the pool, I promised her a trip to Target for a new baby doll, and that did the trick. Why do bribes with kids only work when money is involved? So, the first race of the season, I bribed her to get in the pool, and guess what, she WON!!!! And as soon as I met her with a towel after her race ended, she looked at me and said, “Mommy, I don’t have to do that again, do I?”  I obviously had a lot more work ahead of me!

Our summer became all about swim team.  Monday-Friday, I left the house with all 4 kids at 8:30 a.m. – did I fail to mention that I also have one-year-old identical twin girls? – and we swam, and we swam and we swam. We did not miss a practice.

I believe when you sign your kids up for an organized sport, you should show up to all the practices. It teaches them accountability, perseverance, and most importantly commitment!

By Ashley Kettmann (AKA as Swim Mom)

 Check back here for Part II next week!