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Are there downsides to "Elite" training?
6 years ago "Small Group Training" was in its infancy. We launched our trainings because the focus was on large camps, showcases and tournament events, versus less development.
Now, “elite”, the “best coaching ever” , the “BEST” talent, “max reps” are all used to market most small group sessions.
Families are often after "ELITE", but here are a few things you might want to consider:
1. Mental Balance
In a training environment, being around better players has its benefits. But sometimes, there can also be adverse affects. Performance anxiety, fear of failure & unwillingness to ask questions can arise. Some players don't want to look silly and ask a question in front of peers because they want to impress.
There needs to be some balance. Often players go to 2-4 "elite" sessions in a week with multiple trainers. Where is your time to balance your own yard work, your own creativity, and free play? Additionally, this is time for growth, not to "impress".
Sometimes, we can also use a "booch em up" (a term we used in college) where a player just needs a little confidence and boost to build back up if they're in a rut.
We have consistently offered 1 hour a week of training for our players this past year in hopes that they have more of this time otherwise.
When you train with younger kids, or kids with less talent, there are leadership and communication qualities you can learn and develop. How do you bring them along with you? How do you communicate? Do you "palms up" every time they mess up a rep, or can you help the coach coach them up?
These are rarely tapped into as training with younger, or seemingly lesser players, is often avoided and looked down upon. Another hidden benefit of being less concerned with who's in your group or being open to more cross age training!
3. Overload vs Underload
Similar to point 1, a constant overload to pressure, intense drills, & critical feedback can wear on an athlete combined with their other practices. Always being told what you're doing wrong can also just have a diminishing return and wear a player down.
Underloading through play, mixed ages/talent, and FUN, can unlock more than you realize mentally. It can be GOOD to dominate against younger players, or "feel" like you're a honcho in a group. Just like it can be GOOD to be surrounded by a lot of players better than you that might make you feel that "oh snap, I have some work to do!".
Like I mentioned above, there's a balance, and most often focus on things that overload!
Parents, have you ever wanted an older player to take your son / daughter under their wing? Someone to guide that's not you, or even their coach? These relationships can be born out of training and who you grow up around.
However, do you encourage it the other way around? Are you asking your son or daughter to grab the other player struggling, or a younger player who needs to be shown the ropes?
Some of our older athletes have carried that mentorship idea into our trainings and the positive impact is immeasurable. It sometimes can be harder to come by if you are only so concerned with being around what you consider "elite" players or peers.
Players get to college and sometimes go “whoa, I’m surprised some kids aren’t as invested as I thought they’d be!"
More talent doesn’t always mean better environment. Rather, YOU help create the environment and it becomes infectious. It's about what you do with it.
How are you contributing to the environment? How are you lifting up those around you? Often players and parents get too concerned, in my humble opinion, with who else is in the group. Instead, focus on what you control and can bring to the group, and in turn, I think you'll find that you make the most out of your training!
I think all of these things are simply things to consider when assessing training options. Do we run what we think is elite training? Of course! I don't intend this to be another message where we say one thing and do another. I simply want families to consider their options and stay open minded to the different benefits out there. I also say this as I've found it hard in my one area to establish pickup games because everyone is so scheduled! You don't always need several "Elite" trainings to get better. More isn't always better...
I hope you found this helpful and if you are ever looking for mentorship or program consulting, please let us know!
- Coach Class
We hope you found this helpful. We started First Class Lacrosse because we believe in the power player development. We believe you can get exponentially better if you combine a great work ethic with the guidance of knowing what to work on and how to do it. Luckily, we experienced it firsthand as players and coaches. Our goal is to pass on what we have learned and experienced to future generations of lacrosse players, parents, and coaches. Join our Email List here.
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