Growing up in the lacrosse-crazed town of Baltimore, everyone is trying to be the next greatest Baltimore lacrosse prodigy. If you were to go to any girls' lacrosse game in the greater Baltimore area you will notice that each girl is stronger, faster and more talented than the next.
Unfortunately, for many of these talented girls, their crazy screaming parents are not far behind. We have all seen those parents. You know who they are, the players know who they are, and even college coaches who are recruiting for their programs have identified them.
I’m sure many of you agree with me when I say that my biggest fear about one day being a mother, is becoming one of these parents.
So, what can be done to avoid being that stereotypical crazy sports parent?
Here are 4 areas that I think every parent can focus on to support their daughter to success:
1. Know your role as a parent.
In most every parent relationship there is a good cop and a bad cop. Embrace your role and own it. I was blessed with two incredibly caring parents that had two very different outlooks on how to support me through all my sports endeavors. Both of them knew my end goal, which had been to play lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University. Although their way of getting me to finally put on that jersey were very different, having two opposite perspectives was exactly what I needed.
My dad, like most dads with their daughters, is a total softy. I could have had the worst game of my life, but my dad still told me how great I played and as long as I had fun doing it then nothing else mattered. I knew that as soon as I stepped off the field there would be a big hug and a kiss waiting for me courtesy of my number one fan, MY DAD.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was my mom. She was the one that saw the blood, sweat, and tears of my everyday practices and training and understood how desperately I wanted to achieve my goals in the sport of lacrosse. Although sometimes she could be extremely critical, she knew how hard I was working towards my dream of playing for the Blue Jays and she knew exactly what I needed to do to make it a reality. I cannot tell you that her opinions and suggestions were always welcomed, her message was always the same.
” Success is found in our daily routines “
2. Know what your daughter’s dreams are and support them.
Have an open conversation with your daughter about her goals in all areas of her life, but especially sports. Does she want to play in college, or does she want to be a 2-year starter on her high school team and call it a career? As she matures her goals will change. The important thing is that if she is truly passionate about her goals support her and help her in anyway that you can. There is no greater feeling in the world than having your parents support. Trust me.
3. Focus on her strengths and don’t harp on her weaknesses.
In my experience in coaching a wide age range of girls the roadblock to success is a lack of confidence. Most girls are very aware of their weaknesses, they don’t need to be reminded of them. It is important that we encourage them to acknowledge their strengths and use those strengths as a foundation to build on. Obviously, we want them to improve their weaknesses, however how can we have the confidence necessary to be successful if that is all we focus on
4. Give it 24 hours and get over it.
Any coach I ever played for had this rule and I think it’s a great one for most things in life. Whether it’s an awesome win, tough loss, or a big argument, allow your daughter 24 hours to go through whatever emotions she needs to go through. Give her 24 hours to put it in the past and move on. If your daughter has a tough game and she does not want to talk about it, especially in the car ride home or that night, grant her that space. Trust me, after a good night sleep, she will be over it, and she will appreciate the space that you gave her.
Hopefully these four simple tips will not only help you motivate and support your daughter on the field but off the field as well.
~ Ana Henrich is a lacrosse coach at Sean Kelly's Performance Center focusing on female lacrosse athletes developing their lacrosse skills and Lacrosse IQ. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where she played attack for the women’s Division 1 lacrosse team. As a member of the team, she was the 2012 participant of the Bob Scott Blue Jay Award for the player that displayed the most dedication, selflessness, team spirit and enthusiasm. Additionally Ana was recruited to play field hockey at several Division One colleges. As captain of the IAMM A championship field hockey team she led her team to four consecutive IAMM A conferences championships. Under the leadership of Lloyd Conyers, she was selected to the U-16 festival team. Ana has coached the TLC Maryland girls U16 lacrosse team.