As the Christmas trees are put out on the curb and the old year winds down, junior golfers can start thinking of off-season golf preparation and heed the words of American novelist Paul Theroux: Winter is the season of recovery and preparation.
It's time to look to the year ahead and start preparing for a year of golf growth and positive interactions on and off the golf course. We suggest a start along the following lines:
Look ahead at the year. Check out our list of Top Junior Golf Tournaments and Tours You Need to Know About - and let us know if there are any your kids play that should be added! Find a calendar that you can see the whole year at a glance and write in potential tournaments - making note of the registration windows. Bear in mind also that some tours/tournaments fill up very quickly - within a few minutes of the window opening in some cases. Be prepared by already being signed up as a member of the particular Tour before you try and sign up for a tournament.
We particularly like a large annual, erasable, laminated wall calendar (which doesn't necessarily need to go on the wall!).
A junior golf club fitting from time to time will ensure that your junior golfer's equipment matches and supports their swing as they grow in strength and potential. It is a good idea to have it done in the off-season to avoid unnecessary changes being made mid-season when performance is key. More information can be found in Club Fitting for Juniors.
The best ball for your junior golfer depends to a large degree on swing speed. If your junior's golf ball of choice comes down to the choice of their favorite Tour Pro or color, read Best Golf Balls for Juniors which includes a short Junior Golf Ball Fitting Quiz that helps you narrow down balls for their maximum performance.
Time to start working through the Holiday repose. This article on Junior Golf Fitness has an easy print-out with exercises that are specifically geared towards golfing fitness and that can even be done in your living room! Pick 4 or 5 to start with for juniors not used to working out. In addition to building strength and flexibility, cardio is still very important. If weather precludes outdoor 1 to 5 mile runs 3x per week, hit the treadmill, rowing machine or jump rope to get your heart-rate up.
SuperSpeed Golf training utilizes the concept of overspeed/underspeed (or overload/underload) training which is used by athletes to train their bodies to move at speeds higher than normal competitive speeds. In addition it trains both sides of the body resulting in the ability to both swing faster and brake faster. It can also be done indoors (with a high enough ceiling - e.g. in a garage). Read about the benefits of SuperSpeed Training for Junior Golfers.
Read a chapter of a good golf book - there are so many out there - some of which are reviewed in Movies and Books for Education and Entertainment : Junior Golfers and their Parents.
You never know where motivation and inspiration will find you, but you likely can't go wrong with A Life Well Played: My Stories by Arnold Palmer.
Watch the Golf Channel and golf improvement YouTube videos for tips and keep reminders in a notebook for easy reference, along with any quotes from your golf reading.
Off-season golf preparation can give you confidence to start the season positively. Eat well. Layer up for outdoor range practice and play. Some tips for dressing for winter weather can be found in Winter Golf for Juniors. Pump up your confidence by reading your written golf motivations, tips and quotes daily and don't forget to schedule those tournaments. In the end - and in the words of David Duval: you do what you need to if you're serious about playing great golf.