Going to College Archive

How Do College Coaches Work Junior Tournaments?

Understanding the Evaluation Process

Most college coaches I know spend at least 20 nights per year on the road recruiting. Typically, they will attend 8-10 junior tournaments to watch talented young players practice and compete. This is a perfect forum to evaluate talent.

When you see coaches at a junior tournament, they are generally walking up and down the practice tee or on the golf course following a group as they play. In either case, the coach may be watching for things the player would never dream of.

On the range, coaches are watching juniors very closely to evaluate their technique and general athleticism. They also want to see how the player practices. Is he serious, disciplined, and focused or is he using his practice time to socialize? Does the player pick specific targets, practice his pre-shot routine, and use alignment aids (such as a club on the ground) while he practices or does he just hit balls rapidly with no purpose?

On the golf course, coaches are always interested to see how a player reacts to a tough situation. A bad break, an outside distraction, a difficult hole location (bordering on unfair), or a string of lip outs would set the stage perfectly. Coaches want to know that young players can deal with adversity if they are planning to offer them a scholarship or roster position. This ability to deal with adversity sets them apart from other players and shows their high level of maturity. They are also interested to see what personality traits the player displays. Does he walk alone or does he socialize with the other players walking down the fairway? Either can be fine depending on what the coach prefers. Always be yourself in these situations.

Another real world example of how a coach evaluates talent has to do with the player’s presentation. Is the player neatly groomed (haircut, shaven, etc.), are his shoes and clubs clean, and does he look and act like a young professional? These issues matter to all coaches. No one wants to invest time or money in a player who looks sloppy and acts unprofessional.

Finally, all coaches are interested to see how players interact with their parents at tournaments. Is it a pleasant and supportive relationship or are the parents and children constantly arguing back and forth, even during the tournament rounds? Coaches who sense hostility between the player and his parents will typically shy away from recruiting the player.

In the final analysis, score is not the only way to evaluate talent. If this were the case, then coaches would stay at home and recruit via the internet. Pay attention to how you present yourself and how you act at tournaments.

Good luck this year!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®

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