A view from a Volunteer Coach:
Today I heard a comment made about me behind my back. I started to turn around and look, but then decided better of it and kept my eyes on the field. My wife hears things like this more often than I do, because many of you don’t know who she is. She tells me what you say. I have received angry emails, full of “suggestions,” about who should be playing where and how I... lost that day’s game for the kids. I thought I’d write an open letter to all of you parents, even though I might never send it. I’ll start it this way: “I am a volunteer.”
I’m the one who answered the call when the league said they didn’t have enough coaches. I understand that you were too busy. I have some news for you. I’m not retired. I’m busy too. I have other children and a job, just like you do. Not only do I not get paid to do this – it costs me money. I see you walk up to the game 15 minutes after it started, still dressed for work. Do you know I’ve already been here over an hour? Imagine if you had to leave work early nearly every day. I’ve never seen you at a practice. I’m sure you’re plugging away at the office. But I’m out here, on the field, trying my best to teach these children how to play a sport they love, while my bank account suffers.
I know. I make mistakes. In fact, maybe I’m not even that great of a coach. But I treat the kids fairly and with respect. I am pretty sure they like coming to my practices and games, and without me or someone like me, there’d be no team for them to play on. I’m part of this community too and it’s no picnic being out here on this stage like this. It’s a lot easier back there with the other parents where no one is second-guessing you.
And I also know you think I give my son or daughter unfair advantages. I try not to. In fact, have you ever considered that maybe I’m harder on him than on the others? I’m sure he hears plenty of criticism at school from classmates, who hear it from you at home, about what a lame coach I am. And if, even unconsciously, my kids are getting a slight advantage because I know them better and trust their abilities, is that the worst thing in the world, considering the sacrifice I’m making? Trust me, I want to win too. And if your son or daughter could guarantee we’d do that, I’d give them the chance.
After this game is over, I’ll be the last one to leave. I have to break down the field, put away all the equipment and make sure everyone has had a parent arrive to pick them up. There have been evenings when my son and I waited with a player until after dark before someone came to get them. Many nights I’m sure you’ve already had dinner and are relaxing on the couch by the time I finally kick the mud off my shoes and climb into my car, which hasn’t been washed or vacuumed for weeks. Why bother cleaning it during the season? Do you know how nice it would be if, just once, after a game one of you offered to carry the heavy gear bag to my car or help straighten up the field?
If I sound angry, I’m not. I do this because I love it and I love being around the kids. There are plenty of rewards and I remind myself that while you’re at the office working, your kid is saying something that makes us all laugh or brings a tear to my eye. The positives outweigh the negatives. I just wish sometime those who don’t choose to volunteer their time would leave the coaching to the few of us who do.
Beginner's Guide to Girl's Lacrosse
Beginner's Guide to Boy's Lacrosse
Borrowed "Athletic Scholarship Myth" from Timberlane Lacrosse Coach Gary Sherman. All parents should read this.
Lakes Region Lacrosse Club (LRLC) was formed to provide instruction and play for Lakes Region Area School (Gilford, Alton, Meredith, Center Harbor, Sanbornton and othr towns without a lacrosse program) to boys and girls ages 6-14. To ask questions and have someone contact you about LRLC, visit the "Contacts" page.
LRLC coaching philosophy is aligning with the values developed by the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) based out of Stanford University. PCA's core principles are Redefining Winner, Filling the Emotional Tank and Honoring the Game.
1) Redefining “Winner”
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." Here’s what winners do. They
• 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 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!
2) 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. We want our players to have a portable home team advantage that they can take wherever they go. The key is the “Emotional Tank.” Like gas tanks in cars, we all have Emotional Tanks that need to be filled to do our 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. When the ratio drops much below 5:1, children become discouraged (their tanks become drained!). Help us achieve this Magic Ratio with your child.
3) Honoring the Game
Sportsmanship may seem like an out-of-date concept today when professional athletes and coaches act in ways we would not want our children to imitate. We intend to reverse this trend in our league by
“Honoring the Game.”
Honoring the Game gets to the ROOTS of the matter, where ROOTS stands for respect for
• Teammates, and one's
• Rules: We don't bend the rules to win. We respect the letter and spirit of the rules.
• Opponents: A worthy opponent is a gift that forces us to play to our highest potential.
We try our hardest to win, but not at the expense of demeaning our opponents.
• Officials: We treat officials with respect even when we disagree.
• Teammates: We never do anything that would embarrass our team.
• Self: We try to live up to our own standards regardless of what others do.
We can't do this alone, so we are asking for your help and participation to help transform youth sports into a positive experience. Each parent will receive a letter explaining how you can help your child and how you can set an example at games and practices