What Does It Really Take?

How do the good players succeed.

One of the most frequent questions I am asked at tournaments I attend or over the phone, is "what are the critical factors for success with junior players?"

In my experience as a former junior golf Dad and in working with junior players here in Richmond, VA, I have come to believe that the two most important factors are having a plan and intensity. Let me briefly talk about each.

Being successful in this sport cannot happen by accident. Both the parents and the player have to have a plan to maximize the chances for success. To me that means sitting down and talking about schoolwork and it's importance, tournaments to play, calendar scheduling, and planning time for practice and instruction. It has to be somewhat formal, where dedicated time is taken to have a plan for at least the next three months and maybe even six months or a year.

The other factor is intensity. By intensity I mean the player has desire, focus, committment, and is willing to make goals and make them known to others. The most important of these is desire because it drives all the others. With no desire or passion, there will be no drive to succeed. This most important characteristic will be seen in behaviors such as always asking go to the course, wanting to learn more by asking questions, and challenging themselves to achieve personal bests even when they practice (25 5 footers in a row). A championship desire never needs to be asked "don't you want to...?" by their parents. More about focus, committment, and goals in later columns.

So when a player is taking stock of where they have to be to succeed, ask the questions "What's our plan?" and "How much intensity is shown by the player?"

Play well everybody!

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