The Role of the Coach
US Lacrosse is committed to the principles of "Honoring the Game" and works in partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) to provide tools and resources to the lacrosse community for this purpose. PCA is a national non-profit organization based at Stanford University with a mission to "transform youth sports so sports can transform youth." US Lacrosse wants all players to enjoy their experience with the sport of lacrosse and to learn positive character lessons that will help them in every aspect of their life. Coaches are expected to embody the principles of the Positive Coaching Alliance, including the following:
A Positive Coach is a positive motivator and refuses to motivate through fear, intimidation or shame. He establishes order and discipline in a positive manner.
A Positive Coach works to remain positive even through losing streaks. She recognizes that it is often when things go wrong that a coach can have the most positive impact and teach the most important lessons. Regardless of the adversity involved, she refuses to demean herself or her players by resorting to fear, intimidation or shame. She always treats athletes with respect regardless of how well they perform.
A Positive Coach “coaches” for mastery rather than victory, which he sees as a by-product of the pursuit of excellence. He focuses on effort rather than outcome, learning rather than comparison to others.
A Positive Coach recognizes that mistakes are an important and inevitable part of learning and encourages an environment in which players are willing to risk making a mistake.
A Positive Coach sets standards of continuous learning and improvement for herself and her players. She encourages and inspires her players, whatever their level of mastery, to strive to get better without threatening them. She is committed to becoming the best coach she can be and continually seeks to improve her own effectiveness.
A Positive Coach "Honors the Game." He feels an obligation to the sport he coaches. He loves his sport and shares his love and enjoyment with his players. He feels privileged to be able to take part in his sport.
A Positive Coach respects her opponents, recognizing that a worthy opponent will push her and her team to do their best.
A Positive Coach understands the important role that officials play and strives to show them respect even when he disagrees with their decisions.
A Positive Coach values the rich tradition of her sport and works to honor the spirit as well as the letter of its rules
A Positive Coach demonstrates personal integrity and would rather lose than win by dishonoring the game. Dishonoring the game is worse than defeat.
Role of the Parent
You, the parent, are equally as important to your child's positive lacrosse experience as the coach of the team. In order for your child to get the most out of playing lacrosse, it is important that you do the following:
Be supportive of your child by giving encouragement and showing an interest in his or her team. Positive reinforcement encourages learning and fun. Research has shown that a ratio of five positive statements (compliments, positive recognition) for each negative statement (criticisms, corrections) is ideal for helping young athletes do their best. Try to maintain a 5:1 ratio in your comments to your child.
Attend games whenever possible. If you cannot attend, ask about your child’s experience, not whether the team won or lost. Some questions that you might ask before asking about the final score include: "Did you try as hard as you could? Did you have fun? Did you learn anything today that might make you a better player in the future?"
Be a positive role model by displaying good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, officials, opponents and your child’s teammates. "Honoring the Game" is an important part of what US Lacrosse represents. Help us by honoring the game in your behavior as a spectator.
Let your child set his own goals and play the game for herself. Be your child’s "home court advantage" by giving her your unconditional support regardless of how well he or she performs.
Let the coach “coach”. Refrain from giving your child advice when he or she is playing. Use positive reinforcement with your child’s coach. Let the coach know when he or she is doing a good job.
Respect the decisions of the referee or umpire. This is an important part of honoring the game. Your child will pay more attention to how you act than to what you say.
Read the rulebook. A full understanding of the rules will help you enjoy the game and educate others.
Get to know who is in charge. Meet with the leadership of the program, whether it’s school sponsored or recreational, to discuss topics such as cost, practice and game scheduling, insurance coverage, emergency procedures, etc.
Get involved! A great way to support your child's lacrosse experience is by becoming a volunteer for the program. Some of the ways you can get involved: keep the scorebook, run the clock, line the fields, manage equipment, chaperone trips, raise funds, organize clinics and team social events, update the team web site, photograph players and organize carpooling.
Sit back and enjoy the game. Remember, lacrosse is played for FUN.