junior golf

Are you Coachable?

Do you find yourself struggling to implement instruction from coaches and mentors? Do your find yourself questioning offered advice and strategies? Do you escalate when a coach tries to change your practice routines, tournament preparation or putting stroke? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions you might marinate on why. If you take a moment and really listen to what your coach/mentor/instructor are trying to say and hear their advice, you will then begin to grow on and off the course. There are many aspects of “being coachable”, but I sincerely believe the strongest skillset of the best future student athletes is the ability to listen to coaches and mentors so the athlete can grow within their game. Throughout my years of coaching, those student athletes who were the best listeners were usually the most mature and the most successful in all areas of their lives.

How can you become a recruitable athlete?

  1. Be a great listener.

  2. Be accountable.

  3. Be in the present.

  4. Be a leader on and off the course.

  5. Be a good teammate.

  6. Be respectful to yourself and others.

  7. Be yourself.

  8. Be passionate and stay passionate through balance and self care.

  9. Be grateful.

  10. Be a champion.

Being coachable encompasses all of the traits above. Knowing how to be a great listener, taking responsibility and being accountable for your words and actions, always being present and aware of others, leading by example, putting the team, coaches and program first, earning the respect of your teammates, all the while balancing your social and academic time is the key to becoming an exceptional recruit worthy of top colleges and universities. You need to stay true to your morality, values and character base. Can you make the choice to do the right thing in each moment that presents itself to you? Be passionate. Act, work, play and compete like a champion!

As I reflect upon the amazing student athletes I had the privilege to coach, you could identify those who might have a better chance at being successful in life as it was always the student athlete that was coachable on all levels. Think about those teammates, teachers, coaches, parents or people within your world who you respect the most. Do they have coachable traits? My guess would be yes. If you don’t have respect for someone, how can you possibly have an authentic positive relationship with them? So now is the time to master your thoughts, words and actions to be your best. Set that goal to be the respected individual within your team, classroom, and your home.

We get one chance in this life to be our best. Lets make every effort to do our best and be our best! You’re writing and rewriting your story every day, what will your final chapter reflect? Begin today to be the golfer who walks off the 18th hole and everyone in your group was thankful to have played that day with you. Begin today to be that person who leads by example and your teammates want to follow and together better the team culture. Begin today to be that person who will represent their program with honor and respect. Begin today by embracing the beauty of gratitude to be able to play the beautiful game of golf. Begin today to start being coachable to evolving into your best. Please check out my other blogs at www.secondninegolf.com.

As always, Enjoy the walk!

Coach Brian Watts


Coach Watts with his first West Point recruit, 1LT Robby Hill.

Warmup with a purpose and like a pro!

I often get asked, 'what are coaches looking for when they are on site recruiting at a junior tournament?'.  The long answer is everything!  However, they are often looking at how a player prepares and gets ready for their round.  Below are a few of the specific things many coaches are looking for in a pre or post-round routine.

  • Is the player focused?
  • Are they stretching and using the time to limber the body or are they trying to get in last minute practice (tip: hopefully stretching!!!)
  • Does the player have a specific plan/routine?
  • Are they getting too worked up over a few bad shots?
  • Did they spend enough time on the short game (pitches, chips, bunker shots and putting)?
  • Was there too much 'outside noise' - i.e. more time talking to parents, teachers or friends than on the warmup session?

This PGA TOUR video of Jordan Spieth's pre-round warmup is TERRIFIC!  Notice how he gives himself plenty of time, has a specific plan (putting drills, warmup wedges, goes through his bag, ends on a good drive, hits plenty of chips/bunker shots and back to lag putt).  He is loose, enjoying himself, not beating himself up over any shots and getting himself prepared.  

You don't have to have this exact routine, everyone is different.  However, you need to have a plan and execute it to allow yourself to be full prepared and engaged on the first tee.  We have all gone to hit our first drive unprepared and unfortunately there is no mulligan in tournament play - we have to be ready to rock!

Coaches notice these things - as they are fond of saying 'the small things.'  So know that anytime a coach is around, they may be watching for something you aren't expecting!

Podcast with NCCGA Founder, Kris Hart

Thanks to Kris Hart of the NCCGA and NextGenGolf for being the first guest on the Second Nine Podcast.  This is a very interesting conversation and touches on all subjects pertaining to club golf at the college level.  We hear lots of questions about club golf, its competitiveness, commitment and playing level.  Kris does an outstanding job of explaining the genesis of the NCCGA and how they are helping thousands of players across the country.  Please enjoy!