Tag Archives: different

Try An Individual Sport

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I’ve written a great deal on the benefits playing team sports has on young players with posts like:

I’ve also written about the positive impact I got from the individual sports of kickboxing and jiu-jitsu:

I can confidently say that without both individual and team sports in my life I would be crippled in my personal and work life today. The different types of sports compliment one another. Team sports teach broad lessons where players learn how to depend on fellow teammates and become a dependable teammate themselves. Individual sports teach harsher lessons that are felt much deeper because success and failure are set on one person’s shoulders. In our increasingly interconnected world it is becoming more and more necessary for young kids to learn how to interact well in a group setting, but that does not mean children should only play team sports growing up. An individual sport can have a wonderfully positive impact on a child. I know because I was fortunate to grow up with parents that encouraged my athletics ambitions in lacrosse, but also promoted my love for jiu-jitsu and kickboxing.

Few things teach you how to keep your hands up like getting punched in the face. As I trained more kickboxing and jiu-jitsu I found how to push past physical exhaustion in each class, but I also learned how to absorb the mental blows of getting repeatedly beat on and tapped without getting down on myself. This is much harder to do in individual sports because you’re responsible for your own mistakes. When a teammate misses a pass it’s easy to go, “aww, he should have caught that. I threw that perfect!” even if you didn’t throw it perfectly. That is the biggest benefit for individual sports. Kids learn to own their failures and then learn how to get past them on their own.

Every time I hear one of our young players say they’re going out for tennis, or trying wrestling, or joining the swim team I want to hug them. They’re going to be more well-rounded individuals by the end of their first season playing an individual sport, and if they choose to stick with lacrosse they will be better players too. I did not earn playing time in high school by being a physically imposing defender. I knew lacrosse by studying the game and I was usually in the right spot at the right time, but I also knew exactly where to best put my body to defend an opponent. If I hadn’t spent hours and hours on the mat I wouldn’t have know my body, and my body’s limits, as well (3+ hours of constant movement wearing a thick cotton gi in a dojo with the heat cranked will get you into shape!).

Kickboxing and jiu-jitsu made me a better lacrosse player, and if I ever got a little tired of one I could focus on the other. That provided a great balance for me growing up, and the different lessons learned on the field and in the dojo continue to serve me well at twenty-six. So to any AYL or other youth players reading this I want to strongly encourage you to try any individual sport that peaks your interest. I ran, golfed, and swam at a young age before zeroing in on kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, and lacrosse. You’ll never know what might spark a passion in you without trying, and I assure you that lacrosse will still be here if you choose to spend the majority of your time practicing and playing lacrosse.

Featured Image Credit – www.teamedgeonline.com



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Normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.

This post goes out to any youth player who has ever felt a little odd. Here’s a hint – you are not alone in feeling weird, strange, out-there, peculiar, different, or flat-out not normal. If there is one thing I am certain of it is that nobody has ever felt completely normal because we all have our own idiosyncrasies that make us unique.

When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with being normal. In reality, all I wanted to be was cool. I wanted to hang out with the cool kids, and ditch my geeky/nerdy life. So I spiked up my hair, started playing more basketball, and hanging around the kids that I wanted to emulate. The trouble was, I was never really me when I was with these new friends. In fact, by the time I hit high school I did not like the person I had become. I was so fixated on being liked by everyone that I tried to please everyone around me, except the person that truly counted – me.

So in middle of high school I decided to stop trying to be liked. I was going to go at thing alone because I felt that my peers would never accept me for the goofy person that I really am. I spent roughly three years barely speaking to anyone in high school for fear of rejection and embarrassment. Because of this, lacrosse became my main outlet. I poured myself into the game, but I never really socialized with my fellow players because I always felt that I would be judged if I ever showed my true self.

Enter the college years. I met a few people who physically dragged me out of the shell I had created during high school. I began to feel comfortable being a little peculiar. Eventually, I came to realize that I had true friends that were going to stand by me no matter what. In short, I learned that the only people I cared about being around were the people who accepted me for who I was. Anyone else who judged me for being me just was not worth my time.

At 24 years old I can honestly say that I am comfortable in my own skin because I do not care what other people think about me. The only opinion on myself that matters is my own, and the friends that I trust.

So to all the youth players out there, I want you to remember that it is okay to be a little different. Actually, it is a good thing to be downright strange and weird. It makes you you. Hold on to your peculiar hobbies, and odd tastes. Even if they are not appreciated by those around you right now, you will find friends in life who will appreciate you for you, weirdness and all.

Peculiar facts about me:

  • I love vacuuming
  • I watch competitive Starcraft 2 replays on YouTube
  • I am extremely goofy around my close friends
  • Science fiction is my favorite genre of literature (Dune by Frank Herbert in particular)
  • I will watch endless replays of Ninja Warrior
  • I have always wanted a flying squirrel as a pet

Players – create your own list and post them in the comments below!