Not only is UNCG Head Coach Janell Howland an awesome coach but she also happens to be a dear friend who I admire and respect greatly. I recently asked her to answer a few questions about her recruiting and coaching philosophy.
What is your own coaching philosophy? People first, Students second, Golfers third. Everything we do in our program revolves around those 3 things, in that order.
What do you love about being a college coach? Seeing personal growth from each girl from the time they get to me until the time they graduate.
What do you look for with a resume and swing video? Grades, Golf Scores from multiple years to see how they are trending, Extra activities that they are involved in. I want to see an all-around person as well as an athlete.
What are some good questions you ask players on visits to help determine the best fit? What size of school are they looking for? What size of team are they looking for? Are they looking to stay close to home or go far away?
What are some good questions they should ask you to help determine the best fit? Coaching philosophy. Team goals for the present and future. How many players we would like to have on the team.
How do you structure your practice and qualifying? Typically we have 4-6 rounds of qualifying before our first tournament. We will take the top 4 qualifiers and always reserve 1 coaches pick. Practice is different every day and every week. We give them a day called What you Want Wednesday where they get to plan and develop their own practice. The rest of the practices for the week are comprised of team competitions, practices designed for them with their input, on course games/challenges, and a day a month where we pair them up and they plan the practice for the entire team.
What do you feel junior golfers can do to improve their games? Short game, short game, short game. By the time you get to college, most players are ok with their full swing, but what makes the difference is how quickly they get the ball in the hole.
How can they be more prepared for college golf? Start doing their own laundry 🙂 It sounds silly, but some kids don’t know how to do that. That would be a great start in becoming independent!!
What is the biggest mistake you see families make through the process? Parents doing everything for their daughter. We are a family here and I LOVE parents to be involved. But I want the daughter to do the leg work and be the communicator. She is the one that I am going to be spending the next 4 years with, so I want to make sure that she can do things on her own.
When you watch a player at a tournament what are things you look for? Attitude is a big one for me. How does that player treat her fellow competitors? How does she treat her family who brought her to the tournament? How she treats them is how she is going to treat her coaches.
How much does length play a factor in recruiting a player to a D1 program? What do you consider short, average and long off the tee? It’s becoming more and more of a factor. That is one way tours/colleges are making golf courses harder is by making them longer. You don’t HAVE to hit the ball far, but it definitely makes it easier. Long–over 240, Average-220-240, Short-Under 220
How important is fitness and nutrition for a junior golfer? Fitness and nutrition are huge for all athletes moving forward. We are becoming so specialized so early that in order to avoid injuries, players are going to have to take care of their body better at an earlier age. We are a very one sided sport, and in order to help limit injuries, they need to be training both sides. Nutrition is key as well. When you get to college, numerous tournaments we will play 4 rounds in 3 days. That’s a lot and if you aren’t properly hydrated and nourished, it’s going to be a struggle.