Forest Hill Lacrosse believes in not only teaching our boys the game of lacrosse but also how to enjoy and honor the game. As parents, there are several things we need to keep in mind. This article does a good job of laying out the big 5.
How we behave on the field, and off the field, effects how we are perceived and our boys interpret right from wrong. Please take the time to read it carefully. We owe it to our boys and each other. Always “Honor The Game”.
Our organization is committed to the principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance and against a “win-at-all-cost” mentality. PCA calls a Positive Coach a “Double-Goal Coach.” A win-at-all-cost coach has only one goal – to win. A Positive Coach shares that goal (wants to win) but has a second goal that is even more important – to use the sports experience to help young people learn “life lessons” and positive character traits that will help them be successful throughout their lives.
Help us promote the three PCA principles which have the power to “transform youth sports so that sports can transform youth.” The three principles, explained in this letter, are:
1) Redefining “Winner”
2) Filling the Emotional Tank, and
3) Honoring the Game.
In professional sports (which is entertainment), there is only one goal—to have the most points at the end of a contest. However, in youth sports (which is education), there is a SECOND GOAL: to produce young people who will be WINNERS IN LIFE.
To help our children get the most out of competitive sports, we need to redefine what it means to be a “winner.”
Winners are individuals who:
• Make maximum effort.
• Continue to learn and improve.
• Refuse to let mistakes (or fear of making mistakes) stop them.
This is called a Mastery Orientation. PCA says that the Tree of Mastery is an ELM Tree where ELM stands for Effort, Learning, and rebounding from Mistakes.
If our athletes keep these things in mind, they will develop habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.
There is an added benefit. Athletes who are coached with a Mastery Orientation tend to have reduced anxiety and increased self-confidence. And when athletes feel less anxiety, they are more likely to have fun playing their sport and to do better!
Here’s how you can help:
1) Tell your child that it’s OK to make a mistake.
2) Let your child know you appreciate it when they try hard even if unsuccessful.
3) Ask rather than tell. Try to get your child to talk about their play rather than telling them what you think about it. Ask open-ended questions to get them to talk (e.g., “What was the best part of the game for you?”)
4) Recognize that Mastery is hard work. Let the coaches criticize your child’s play. Tell your child you are proud of him regardless of the outcome of the game.
FILLING THE EMOTIONAL TANK
Research shows that the home team wins about 60% of the time because of the emotional support a team receives when it plays in front of its own fans. Like gas tanks in cars, athletes have “Emotional Tanks” that need to be filled to do their best.
There will be times when you need to correct and criticize. Research has shown that a “Magic Ratio” of 5:1 (praise to criticism) is ideal. Help us achieve this Magic Ratio with your child.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Your #1 job is to fill your child’s Emotional Tank.
Encourage them regardless of what happens in the game.
2) Try not to give your child a lot of advice (Which after a tough game can seem like criticism, which drains a person’s tank).
Remember, it’s difficult to do well with a low tank. When they make a mistake, you might say,“ Don’t worry. Let’s get the next one. You can do it.” After tough losses, it’s often helpful to acknowledge feelings of disappointment. For example, you might say “I can imagine you must be disappointed to have lost.”
3) Use the “3-Pluses-and-a-Wish” technique. Before you give advice, find three good things about your child’s performance. Phrase the advice as a wish:
Plus #1 - You really tried hard in the game today
Plus #2 - I also saw you filling your teammate’s Emotional Tank after they made a mistake.
Plus #3 - And that play you made toward the end of the game shows how much you are improving.
Wish - I wish you wouldn’t get down on yourself when you make a mistake. (If you can’t come up with three pluses, don’t say the wish. It may drain his emotional tank rather than fill it.)
4) Remember the Magic Ratio*. Praise your child about 5 times for every time you criticize. If you do, they will be better able to hear your criticism without becoming defensive. It’s called the Magic Ratio because great things happen when we get close to it with our children.
HONORING THE GAME
Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of positive play, where ROOTS stands for respect for:
• Rules: We don’t bend the rules to win.
• Opponents: A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
• Officials: We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
• Teammates: We never do anything that would embarrass our team on or off the field.
• Self: We live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.
Here’s how you can help:
1) Let your child ke.now that you want them to Honor The Game. Discuss the meaning of each element of ROOTS with your athletes.
2) Be a good role model. Honor the Game when you attend games. Cheer both teams when good plays are made. If, in your opinion, an officiating mistake is made, be silent! Use this as an opportunity to think about how difficult it is for a referee to call a perfect game.
Attendance at practices is important; coaches will take attendance and keep records. It is simply unfair to expect that your son (if he does not regularly attend practice) will get the same amount of time during games as those players that attend practices.
Assuming your son regularly attends practices with the team, the program’s playing time policy is a minimum of 1/3 of the game with an attempt to get every player on the field at least half the game. (Midfield play counts as double time).
Why does Midfield play count as double time? Simple, they are engaged in play on both sides of the field. As a result there is no down time; they are constantly engaged in play. This means lots of running. We expect the midfield to go all out while on the field, but this requires that they be relieved twice as often as the defense, or the attack. Also, if a game is well balanced, the defense and attack should be engaged in play only 50% of the time. This means that the defense and attack may see more field time, but not necessarily more playing time. So, to be sure they get as much playing time as possible, they stay on the field longer then the Midfield.
Playing time on the Select Teams will follow a similiar set of expectations, but may be adjusted depending on the level of competition during each contest.
The Wolf Pack Philosophy - How to Teach the Game of Lacrosse
The Wolf Pack Philosophy – How to Teach the Game of Lacrosse
Our plan is to teach the game in manageable steps, concentrating on mechanics and fundamentals in the younger age groups and building on that solid foundation in the older age groups. This will be done within a teaching curriculum, much like the school system. The key to success is the system. Your child may or may not play for several coaches over their years in the program, exposing them to multiple coaching styles and personalities, but they will be taught the same system regardless of the coach. The key to success is a consistent message, constant repetition and a clear goal applied in simple, manageable steps.
In order for this to work, we all have to understand the goal and believe in the system that will allow your player to reach it. The goal is for our players to have fun while developing the skill and knowledge base in each age group that will allow them to play the game at the next age group and ultimately at the high school level.
The Basics – What our players need to understand and what we need to consistently teach at all age groups.
1) Mechanics – the physical realities of passing, catching, scooping, cradling and footwork.
a) Muscle memory.
i) A player should assume the correct position without even thinking about it.
i) Teach the players how to self-correct (Example: understand why a pass went wide and how to make adjustments so it does not happen again.)
2) Fundamentals - Do not confuse this with mechanics, they are not the same.
a) Move the ball through the air.
b) Always look for the open player.
c) Never stand or walk on the field of play while the ball is on your side of the field.
d) Always maintain proper position when in possession of the ball, or defending against it.
e) Be able to play with both hands.
f) Concentrate on off ball movement.
i) This is the key to success on both offense and defense.
g) Understand the field of play and how to use it.
3) Honor the Game.
a) These apply to everyone including Parents, Coaches, Players, etc.
i) We do not bend the rules to win.
ii) A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
iii) We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
(1) Do not challenge a call from the sidelines, or the field.
iv) We never do anything that would embarrass our team on or off the field.
(1) We do not use inappropriate language.
(2) We are always respectful.
v) We live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.