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.