To those players out there who didn't just move in to college this week, you're going to need to know what to do, how to act, and how to carry yourself when a college coach is watching.
I don't know much about recruiting guidelines, so this isn't that. I recommend going to someone like Brandi Jackson for help in that area. She's helped a ton of players navigate through the recruiting process and get into some awesome schools.
We are focusing on the mental side. When a coach is watching you, what is your goal? I'm guessing you want to impress the coach. But I think right here you immediately mess yourself up. A coach doesn't want to see you be impressive. They want to see you be you. They want to see how you handle good things and bad things. They already know your scores, otherwise they wouldn't be watching you. So they know how good you are on paper, now they want to see you in person and whether or not you would be a good fit.
So back to trying to impress the coach. If you feel like you're putting on a show for the coach, then you're going to be nervous, and therefore probably tense up and not play well. But if you're focusing on the controllables - the things you can control like your attitude, your focus, your pre-shot routine, your acceptance of the shot - then you're less likely to get nervous. If you keep that focus exactly where it needs to be then you will more likely be freed up and play better. And I think we can all agree that if you play more freely, the RESULT will be that you will impress the coach.
Focus on the result, and you rarely get the result you want. Focus on the right things first, and then good results will happen naturally as a symptom. Think about being sick (pretty appropriate for these times). If you have a runny nose and you only treat the runny nose by blowing it, but never treat the underlying sickness, then your nose will keep running. But if you focus on treating the root cause, then the symptom will naturally go away.
Anyone can learn from these principles, but now a general principle that can apply to anyone, not just high schoolers. Trying to impress coaches gets at an underlying issue that a lot of players have- trying to muster a good golf game when it counts, when really the only time you muster a golf game is in preparation and practice between events.
You can't magically be better on the day of a tournament. In fact, 99.9% of the time, your tournament game will be worse than your practice game. My mentor Robert Linville has looked at scores and stats for years and confirmed this to be true. You worst tendencies come out when you're under the most pressure. So honing your tendencies is a way to help this. And on the day of a tournament coming to peace with the fact that your game is the that it is. I'm the world's worst at this. I start the first few holes of a tournament round determined to just play the game I brought that day, but inevitably I start experimenting, trying to find a game. And I do this for about 12 more holes, and eventually just relax and go back to my natural game and finally start playing better. But in the middle of the round I tinker and try to find and muster.
We all know these things, and who more than myself as a mental coach, but we must stay disciplined and focus on the controllables.