May 02, 2022 • 3 min read
Lacrosse is a challenging sport that needs disciplined players. In order to succeed at any organized sport, you must show dedication and motivation both on and off the field. As a youth sports league coach, fostering a growth mindset is an important element of players’ empowerment. With the right tools and consistent encouragement, your team can accomplish anything they want. Here are some practical ways in which you can encourage a growth mindset within your lacrosse team.
Growth and morale start at the top. It is the coach’s responsibility to lead by example. This looks like practicing open communication and constantly striving to improve. Set a good standard for your lacrosse team by sharing stories of your own personal growth. Let your team members know that it is okay to fail. Encourage each player to try their best at all times and to be open to criticism. Being willing to learn is an integral part of improving as a person and as a player.
With the right amount of confidence, you can do anything. Remind your players that how they view themselves directly affects how they act (and how they perform on the field). Offering silly examples, such as a skit depicting a character acting out nervous behavior and then confident behavior can help to drive your point home. Even more, tell your youth sports team members to write down empowering mantras such as:
-I can do it
-I am brave
-I am strong
-I believe in myself
-I will try again
These simple slogans help set the standard for your players’ self-perception. A change as seemingly insignificant as repeating a single sentence before practice can make all the difference. Do not be surprised if you start seeing the difference during the big game.
A growth mindset starts when you set clear goals and expectations for yourself. Despite what some players might tell you, sports are not everything. There is a lot more going on in your players’ lives than just lacrosse practice and games. Remind your team that their attitude and habits are critical beyond the game. Work to keep an open conversation with players regarding their school performance, social life, and family environment. This can clue you into areas of improvement, or even where a player needs extra support.
Encouraging a growth mindset on your lacrosse team includes empowering every member of the group. Leadership should not just consist of you (the coach). Each player should feel a sense of ownership regarding their team. This mentality does not just happen. Rather, coaches must cultivate fierce integrity within their players. An old adage says, “Within a great team, the players lead.” This rings true for your youth sports team. You can build a spirit of leadership within your lacrosse team by assigning specific roles to each player. Make it a point to publicly honor players that you see going above and beyond. Consistent encouragement and clear goals will help each member grow.
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