Competitive Junior Training Camp – November 2018 – Peoria, Arizona
Our first ever GPC “Fall Camp” was offered in November, in the Glendale area near Phoenix.
A group of 11 teenage athletes traveled to train their games and compete in an event. The weather was perfect all week, and we alternated between courses at Verrado and Wigwam, which are both excellent facilities for training and playing.
Based on feedback, the highlight for most was the trips out to the range at Verrado in the late afternoons to close out our respective days of training. These practice times offered a late-afternoon scene, with the desert sun setting in the distant valley which we could see beautifully from the elevated deck on the back of the range.
From the point of view of our coaches, these training times were noticeably effective. We could run structured stations while conducting debriefs on the days round, while offering freedom to players to refine their personal ball striking goals in a picturesque environment which highlighted the beauty of ball flights against the perfect backdrop of the desert valleys.
These times seemed to be great for the athletes as well. Getting hundreds of reps with consistent feedback from coaches was very efficient in shaping their skills. Having flexibility to work on areas that each athlete felt relevant made for very personalized training, and having 3 strong coaches enhanced this aspect.
When the athletes were all together, we would run more challenging exercises that presented many constraints to the players, and which tested their psychological skills while rewarding technical competence. While some of the more difficult training drills could present some “shaken” athletes, on the whole the players recognized and appreciated the fertile environment created by our challenging training exercises. The athletes were all of a competitive nature, and most could re-present the drills as ways to access, and refine, the “performance state” of the sport. If nothing else, deep reflection after our day’s work helped all athletes recognize that with each passing day they are getting better and more polished.
The morning routines are another one of the highlights of the work we do in a week like this. Coach Jeff likes to run the athletes through what he calls a “meditate and move” routine, which serves as a perfect start to the day of an athlete. In these early morning times, players move through a physical “wake-up” while the sun rises around them. In these sessions, players are guided a little by the coach, who asks them to reflect on their past day, to draw out the positives and learning moments, and then to plan out how they can make the most of this coming day. Through a mixture of meditation, movement, and reflection, the players can’t help but start their day on the right foot.
We flew-out on a Wednesday and returned on the next Monday – so while we minimized days away from school, we were still able to create what felt like a week of good training. It would seem that the length of the trip was just right for this time of year. The golf courses and climate in Arizona is perfect.
We enrolled in the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event in Arizona, which took place on Saturday and Sunday of that week. Playing an event was a really nice way to add purpose to the week. Players were sharp in their approach to their own skills, as if the looming event lent a sense of urgency to their work, which was useful.
The house we rented was a beautiful space to make our meals and chat about golf, and also offered a great perk in the form of a basketball court in the back yard. Hours were spent dribbling, posting, and attempting 3 pointers on the nice court.
Mini-van rentals were simple and effective, although renting a vehicle at the Phoenix airport is unique!
These away training camps have always been highlights of our year, and we have consistently found that the “retreats” we offer are well received by the players involved. We strongly believe attending camps / retreats can provide the following benefits to the passionate golfer.
- Environment – Building new habits which is made easier by getting away from our daily routines at home.
- Immersion – Spending countless hours training over a short period of time.
- Community – Learning and sharing experiences with like-minded peers with support from coaches.
- Reflection – Time available for deeper levels of learning and self-discovery
Click here for information of our next competitive junior away training camp which runs from March 9th – 16th in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina