Youth sports is a major part of today's society. Sports has tremendous health and life benefits. Children are able to remain active and develop friendships while also learning many valuable life lessons.
The sport of lacrosse is growing in popularity across the country and is emerging as a huge investment as more and more collegiate departments are offering lacrosse as a sponsored and scholarship sport. Lacrosse parents, like most sports parents, have naturally high expectations for their children, and the competitive nature of the sport can lead to pressure and burnout.
Supportive Lacrosse Parents
Here are several tips for channeling your high expectations and providing your child the support needed to take her game to the next level.
1. Have a Conversation
For most parents, it is natural to want to talk with your child about his performance. Often, parents will immediately launch into a critical debrief right after the game, pointing out what went right and what went wrong. This one-sided conversation hinders your child from taking ownership and prohibits him from thinking critically about his performance on his own. Instead, give your child some space after the game and later ask open-ended questions that encourage him to think about his performance. This tactic shows support and also helps him develop the skills to recognize patterns and adjust his game on his own.
2. Offer Praise
Children need to feel nurtured and loved at all times, and this is especially true after a tough sporting event. Win or lose, it's important that you offer your child some encouragement and credit for any successes. Make sure the praises you offer are specific and truthful so your child knows you're sincere. You can still offer a critique, but make sure you are cushioning these criticisms in a constructive and supportive way.
3. Focus on Effort
This tip is extremely important and allows your child to feel success after each and every game, regardless of the score. Effort is something your child can control and this should always be at the forefront of conversation. Focusing on effort rather than outcome will help your child feel calm, in control, and encouraged to work harder to meet her lacrosse goals. In addition, an athlete who focuses on effort and maintains a positive attitude will always be successful and will have increased confidence and self esteem.
4. Allow Downtime
It can be tempting to have your child live and breath lacrosse, but this is not a healthy dynamic and can lead to burnout. It's important to allow your child the opportunity to experience other activities along the way. Encourage your child to cross-train in other sports and socialize outside of lacrosse. In the off-season you should also limit conversation about the sport and allow your child to be the first and only one to bring it up. This break reduces pressure and rejuvenates your child for the next season.
5. Model Good Behavior
As a parent and a fan, it is so easy to become deeply involved in you child’s athletics. Being a spectator and a fan comes with the responsibility to encourage good sportsmanship. If you are upset with the way your child’s athletics is being handled, instead of yelling negative comments during a game or calling the coach to complain, take a breathing period to collect your thoughts. If you still have issues after you’ve had time to process them, address your issues calmly with the coach as it’s always better than an angry discussion sparked by the intensity of competition. It is important to remember that showing good sportsmanship from the sideline and even from your home will positively affect your child’s experience.
These are just a few of the many ways you can increase your child's lifelong passion for the game of lacrosse. These strategies are effective in increasing confidence and propelling your child to seek competition at the next level.
Jessica Kane is a writer for SteelLocker Sports, which is a provider of sporting goods and training programs for coaches, players, parents, and institutions with a primary focus on youth sports.