What makes a junior champion?

by Ryley Hendry

IJGA has a long track record of developing junior champions.  We have done this through teaching juniors not only have to swing a club, but how to score on a golf course, how to behave off the course and the importance of academics.  We believe in developing well rounded human beings, who happen to also be good at golf!

Throughout our time teaching junior golf, we have concluded the following traits to be true of champions:

Hard work and Participation

Nothing shows a champion like a student who works hard.  Working hard doesn’t always mean putting in a lot of time – it is quality over quantity!   At University of New Mexico our practice sessions were always well thought out, maximizing our practice time so that we could work hard and perform our best.   Also it goes without saying participation is key – and participation means in everything – for IJGA students, that means golf, performance training, mental training, academics and tournament competition.


You can’t be successful without accountability, you must hold yourself accountable to your training plan, to your studies and to the process!  Without accountability we see a lot of excuses, and excuses only lead to disappointment!

Ability to Focus

This goes back to quality versus quantity.  Do you think that four hours or mediocre unfocused practice is better than two hours of focused practice?  No. Knowing your limits and following your training plan, allow you to maximize focus and performance. This holds true when you get into a tournament competition as well.  One small slip of focus in a tournament can end up with a big number!


Champions always show a quick ability to adapt!  There are many things thrown at student athletes, whether it is a pop quiz or bad weather at a tournament.   Those who can adapt to change always come out on top.

Willingness to Learn

This is a big one for a trait of a champion – those who continually learn and better themselves are always trying to maximize their knowledge and skills.  The more willing you are to listen and learn, the better off you will be.  Those that feel like they know everything miss out on a lot of opportunities in their development.

Curious Desire

Champions show a unique ability to ask a lot of questions.  They constantly want to ask others for advice, to discuss reasoning and they seem to read and/or watch a lot of videos.  It could be watching others perform, watching swing videos, reading books on mental training, or from golf champions.  A healthy curious desire helps fill the knowledge base of champions!

Time Management

Time Management is a key factor for success.  Champions are very organized individuals, they plan, complete lists and manage their time so that they complete the needed tasks.  Time management is not only about practice schedule, but school studies and a balanced school/training/fun schedule. Our students with the most success manage their time in an efficient way – we utilize scheduling and lists to help them through this process.

Self Sufficiency

At IJGA we believe in teaching our students about self-sufficiency.  We want them to know with their golf game, what their tendencies are, so that they are able to change them or adapt in the middle of a round or practice.  We want them to have the knowledge, the desire and encourage them to make choices in their life that will help them along their path.   It may be setting their tournament schedule with assistance from our Tournament Coordinator and Coach, but ultimately it is them making the decision.

And the most important, which really wraps up the traits above is attitude!  Nothing marks a champion more than attitude!   Positive attitude and the ability to pick yourself up is the best trait we can ask for in a junior golfer – at a time where their lives are changing and they are becoming adults – this can be a challenge, but the true champions succeed in maintaining a positive attitude!

Want to learn more about how IJGA can help you become a junior champion, set up to be successful at the next level? Click here.

Did you know IJGA offers Holiday Golf Camp in TWO sessions this winter? The most elite junior golfers are training year round, make sure you are getting better. Learn more.

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