Category Archives: Zebras

The Three Most Important Questions?

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As a long time Coach and mentor I came across this article (see below) that I thought was both interesting and thought-provoking.  I pride myself on connecting with young people and I have coached every level of player and almost every type of personality.  The quiet, emotional, difficult, happy-go-lucky, I don’t care, enthusiastic, fiery, sulking, athletic, non athletic, and anxious to name a few.  You name the adjective and I have probably coached it.  And frankly most coaches display these same traits as well as parents.  It’s what makes us part of the human race.

The article asks us three questions:

1.  Who tells us who we are?

2.  Where do we want to go with our lives?

3.  How do we want to get there?

Question one outlines the amount of noise all of us face each day especially young people.  Internet, Social Media, TV, Movies, Advertising etc.  The article stresses that we don’t hear enough of how hard we work, how curious, how to make a positive difference to others.  These forces stress the importance of what we wear, what we buy, who we hang out with how many people like us on Facebook, what college are we going to go to etc.  Instead of substance and character we worry about appearance and material objects.

I relate this to lacrosse because I can catch, throw and shoot with a $35 dollar stick vs the X15 model $200 stick.  Players and parents get to revved up about swag and sticks.  It is important to have good equipment but you don’t need to get a new stick or helmet every season.

Question two is important because  it defines who we are.  I have met many people in life who just go around aimlessly and never really finding a passion for anything.  They chase instant gratification and dollars signs but in the end I believe life is about relationships.  Coaching has allowed me to impact young people’s lives in a positive way.   While I have made many mistakes over the years,  I cherish the moments that I have with all my players.  Some players I may have only coached for a year and others for many seasons.  It is a joy to get a note or a call from them and know that I was part of their life.

Question three the author proclaims is the most important question.  How do want to get there?  He speaks of cheating to get ahead.  Lacrosse like other sports has cheaters.  The player that grabs the ball on the Face-off, illegal stick stringing, thumbing the ball to name a few.  We as players, parents and coaches should praise the players that play by the rules and use hard work and determination to get ahead.  Short cuts never really get you to your destination. 

I don’t profess to know everything there is to know about millennials, baby boomers or X and Y generations.  But these questions are not just unique in today’s day and age.

Socrates once said this about youth:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

Socrates died in 399 BC.  Think about that for moment.  Here is one of the worlds greatest philosophers complaining about youth during his life.  I would like  more optimistic about our young people then Socrates was.  They have brightness and enthusiasm and I am honored to be around them every day.

As another great Philosopher, Charles Schultz (Peanuts creator) once said “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-mulligan/the-three-most-important-questions-you-can-ask-your-teenager_b_6173822.html

 

See ya on the field

Habits of Unhappy People

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I recently read an article titled 22 Habits of Unhappy People.  While reading the article I could not help but think of being an athlete, parent and coach.  I have had the pleasure of coaching thousands of players over the years as well I have had some of the best teammates and friends a person can ask for.  Whether I was coaching or playing I always encountered some form of adversity and the people that handle adversity with poise and confidence are the ones that usually come out on top and the end result is happiness.

As a John Wooden disciple I have read and memorized many quotes and maxims from this wonderful man.  The one that always sticks out is:

Never lie

Never cheat

Never steal

Don’t Whine

Don’t complain

Don’t make excuses

 

While these six simple maxims deal with honesty and adversity using them on a daily basis has helped me with my own happiness and those around me.   The article (link below) struck a cord because almost everything relating to the article is about how to improve yourself or build stronger relationships while dealing with your own happiness.

http://www.infobarrel.com/22_Habits_of_Unhappy_People/2

 

See ya on the field Coach Lou

 

How come my child is not playing and how can I be a better teammate!

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Everyone

One of our coaches (Dave Regan) recently posted the below article as well my son Gordon posted this article for US Lacrosse yesterday.  I thought they were both important for several reasons.

Atlanta Youth Lacrosse provides a safe environment for all of our players and like anything in life especially as it relates to children we take it seriously.  While we always want to have fun and be competitive we  never want to get in the way of being safety consensus first.

The first article revolves around the world of playing time and allowing young people to face adversity with failure.  All to often we protect our kids and in some cases hurt them in the long run.  As a youth program we want to be conscience of the development of each player but we also want to teach them the rules of the game, sportsmanship, respecting coaches, officials, opponents and their parents.

The article focuses on football but it can be applied to any sport.  This quote stood out for me.

“The thing is that many kids know what they’re good at, and what they’re not good at. When it comes to football, for instance, most of the middle-schoolers or freshman already know the one or two kids who are good enough to play on the varsity team. And be the ones likely to catch the eye of a college recruiter. Their parents do not.

The rest play because they enjoy it, need the discipline, want to belong to a team, have dreamed of it since they were 5 or 6, are trying to make their parents happy, need a varsity sport on their college application, or some combination thereof.”

The rest of the article is very thought provoking and puts things in perspective.

http://www.boston.com/sports/blogs/obnoxiousbostonfan/2014/10/were_about_a_month_or.html

Gorden’s article tackles the issue of learning the rules and playing a better brand of lacrosse.  If you notice in our U9 games the official counts to 4 and if the player does not pass the ball it becomes a turnover.  This is not a real rule in lacrosse and can be confusing.  We call this game “Hippo” it does several things:

  1. It forces players to look up field and move the ball
  2. It forces players without the ball to get open for their teammates instead of just standing there
  3. It eliminates the stronger player from the game who can go “coast to coast” with the ball and just score at will.  I call these players the BLACK HOLE.  Once they get the ball their teammates never get it back.

As Gordon highlights we do these things to help the players get a better understanding of the game when it means little.  When you tie it back to Coach Dave’s article it shows the importance of what we learn on the field and how we can be better teammates and develop a way to deal with adversity.  Sports are a great way with dealing with the ups and downs of life and the earlier we learn these lessons that better we will be in the future.

http://www.uslacrosse.org/multimedia-center/blog/postid/781/4-unwritten-rule-ideas-for-improving-youth-boys-lacrosse.aspx

 

See ya on the field!

 

Coach Lou