I received the best piece of advice on how to be coached after two years of playing lacrosse:
“It does not matter if you like the coach. It does matter if the coach likes you.”
This is an interesting lesson to learn at 11 years old. What do you mean I have to make the coach like me? I’m young and generally cheerful how can I possibly not be liked? Well there are a few reasons that I will list for you and I am guilty of committing all of them:
- No hustle in practice – At the very least jog to where you need to be. Nothing bugs a coach more than waiting to start a drill because everyone is walking to the huddle.
- Complaining and/or whining – Every player will someday say these words: “I’m tired. This is hard. When is practice over? When do we get to do something fun?” As a youth coach hearing these words is the exact equivalent of one hundred tiny monkeys crawling over my head armed with miniature icepicks, which they repeatedly jam into my head. If you are going to gripe do it out of earshot of the coach.
- Being Late – Parents this applies to you as well as the youth players. Lateness disrupts a practice plan, especially if multiple players are late. Get into the habit of showing up five minutes early for practice because your high school coach will not take pity on you or your teammates. I have run far more wind sprints than I care to remember for late teammates.
- Asking when you get to go into the game – The entire reason players practice is to play, but if there are twenty-two kids on a team twelve will sit on the bench at any given time. Nothing makes me want to keep a kid on the pine more than hearing “Coach, I haven’t gotten in yet.” Players, trust that your coaches at the youth level will make every effort to keep playing time as equal as possible, but occasionally he will forget. Remind him politely at halftime. If you still don’t get in for the rest of the game find me, or an AYL Staff member, and we will make sure you get in.
- I forgot my _____ – In ten years of attending practice I forgot my helmet once and my stick once. I understand forgetting equipment occasionally. Do not make forgetting your gear a habit. If it happens once a season, then fine. If it happens every other practice I will eventually bring duck tape to practice and I will bind the gear to your body for a week.
- “Dude, bro, guy, buddy” – A coach is a Coach, with a capital “C.” Or if his name is John Doe – Coach Doe. And if you forget Coach Doe’s name, saying sir never hurts. Keep the pet names for your friends.
Always remember that if you are on a coach’s good side good things will happen to you. You can stay on the good side by not complaining, hustling everywhere, and showing him respect even if you think he does not deserve it. Learn this lesson now and you will be well prepared once you tryout for your High School lax team.
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