Last Minute Advice for Junior Gold

Do's and don'ts for competitors and their parents

As you read this a large number of you are preparing for, on the way to, or already in Las Vegas for the 2011 USBC Junior Gold Tournament. As a parent, a personal coach, a collegiate coach who was recruiting, a volunteer for USBC, and a representative of Bowling This Month, I participated in some way at all of the Junior Gold events from 2002 to 2010.

I have a daughter who participated in six consecutive Junior Gold tourneys, I have written multiple times about the tournament, and have been fortunate enough to coach a number of young athletes who have done very well in Junior Gold. ‘I have worked in some way with four athletes who made the final 16 in their respective gender and three of them have made Junior Team USA.

During my travels I have learned a lot about how to manage the tournament. Some of my learning has been from experience, some from making mistakes, some from other coaches or parents, and some just through the wisdom of years. I’ve watched others make mistakes. The one thing that will absolutely happen is that it will NOT be the normal day at the center. To quote a friend of mine who is recovering from a serious health issue: “Normal is just a cycle on my dryer and it never works as well as the other settings!”

So, expect the unexpected.

Del Warren wrote an excellent article in the November and December issues of BTM last year. Here are some other more immediate preparation actions/items/words of wisdom to help you prepare for Junior Gold.

Plan your routes

I was in Las Vegas for the Holiday Collegiate Tournaments a few years ago. We stayed downtown, which was not close to the centers where the event was held. One particular night we decided to go as a team to one of the centers to practice. Using my GPS to navigate, we made 12 U-Turns in getting to the center. It was funny that night, but if it had happened when we were cutting it close on time, it would have been potentially disastrous.

Our trip to the center the second time was much smoother, needless to say. If you have the time and the resources, drive your route to the center in advance. In Dallas the distance between the two centers farthest apart was about 60 miles and traffic ...

Dug Barker

About Dug Barker

Dug Barker is a Silver Coach, Youth Director at Ken-Bowl Lanes, and is based in Louisville, KY. A member of the Positive Coaching Alliance, he is a two-time Top 100 Coach.