Author’s Note: Michael Ward is a columnist with LaxRecords.com and is also a lacrosse parent who decided to share the good and bad of his experiences. I appeared on the latest LaxRecords.com podcast with Michael and I can tell you that if you listened to his segment you’ll know he truly understands what he is talking about. I strongly suggest that ANY current lacrosse parent will get a lot out of what Michael wrote!
I’m often asked about travel teams. What high school program do you think is better for my son or what camps have the most impact.
A word of caution … when you ask for my opinion, buckle up, you’re going to get it.
I base my views on experiences I’ve had with my son, on friends whose kids play in other states, even on friends whose children play other travel sports.
In this arena, parents most often play the part of the coach. I’ve done it! It can be both a thankless, yet rewarding job. Most times kids are starting at a young age and, depending on where you live, the coach may know very little about the sport.
A person who gives his or her time to coach other people’s children should get all the credit in the world. I’ve heard youth coaches refer to coaching a youth program as “herding cats,” which is usually said with a sly smile.
The job of a youth coach is to teach the basics of the game. They teach passing, catching, grounds balls, proper positioning, and most important of all the rules of the game.
These key elements are necessary, to build the foundation for a player. The other item that needs stressing is practicing at home is the only way to improve. Not once or twice a week at a one hour practice, but consistency. I’m not a fan of youth leagues running plays or a motion offense. Focus on the basics, and you’ll be fine.
As a dad coaching his son, I noticed at least one positive effect. When I was coaching, my son would tell the other kids who were screwing around to shut up and listen. He hated seeing his Dad disrespected.
I told him every coach is a dad, brother, mother, sister, so treat them with the same respect as me. To this day, he walks up to every coach, shakes their hand and says thank you. I told my players to shake the hand and thank the referees. Without them, there would be no games.
Players and parents, please remember the referees are trying to do a job!
Some youth lacrosse players will become good enough and love the game to step up to a travel team.
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