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Six Words Every Lacrosse Player Needs to Hear
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Six Words Every Lacrosse Player Needs to Hear

Editor’s Note: A former two-sport DI athlete at Fairfield University, Kelly has dedicated his life to building better lacrosse athletes, on and off of the field. Sean contributes regularly from his state-of-the-art Sports and Mental Preparation Facility in New Jersey. Take it from here, Sean!

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What is your worst memory of playing youth and high school sports? I recently read an article where hundreds of college athletes were asked this same question.

Who could imagine hearing this as most popular answer by a large margin?

The ride home from the game with my parents.

Oh man, the first thing I thought was, “what do I need to do so my children never have a reason to say that?”

Most parents inadvertently make the car ride home miserable for their children. Most are not your stereotypical “crazy” sports parents that yell at referees, loudly second guess coaches or berate their children from the stands.

The large majority are well-intentioned adults just like you and me who recognize the effort their child is putting into an endeavor and are simply trying to help them along the way.

Unfortunately, the child does not see it that way. That same group of college athletes I mentioned earlier were also asked what their parents said to them after a game that made them feel great.

The overwhelming response was 6 magical words:

I love to watch you play.

Wow. So simple. So obvious. How did we all miss it?

Once the game is over, most of the time a young lacrosse player make a rapid transition from athlete back to child. Unfortunately, as parents, we seem to have a much harder time transitioning from spectator (or in many cases coach) back to parent.

In that same article, those college athletes were asked who they enjoyed watching them play the most. The response seems to obvious, but I would have never guessed:

Their grandparents.

Overall, grandparents are more content than actual parents to simply enjoy watching their grandchild participate. A grandparent is much more likely to offer a smile and a hug and say those 6 magical words, “I love to watch you play.”

Parents sometimes tend to say things like:

  • “Why did you take that shot when we talked about not forcing things?”
  • “Stay focused when you are on the bench.”
  • “Your coach didn’t have the best team on the field when it mattered most.”

Even if some of the comments are true, our child has most likely heard most of them from their coach and doesn’t want to hear it again from their parents.

Sports provide one of the best ways for our children to take risks and deal with failure because the consequences are not permanent. It’s just a game, so they don’t need us coming to their rescue when things go wrong.

Once you are assured that the team is a safe environment for your child, release that child to the coach and to the game. That way all successes are theirs, and all failures are theirs.

Then we can just sit back, enjoy the game and be sure to tell them, “I love to watch you play.”