The following post is by our president and COO, Lisa Strasman, who played hockey at Yale before going on to play professionally in Switzerland. Lisa regularly contributes to the blog to discuss the transformative power of sport.
At NCSA Athletic Recruiting we are in constant communication with parents who are stressed about the college recruiting process. The path towards earning an athletic scholarship and playing at the next level can be challenging, and our team always strives to be a comforting voice in a frazzled parent’s corner.
If I could offer one piece of advice to anxious parents it is this: Keep in mind why you’ve reached this point. Your child loves his or her sport and has already discovered many lessons from youth sports throughout their career. Don’t let them miss out on the joy of competing because they are so consumed with the college recruiting process. And if you’re anything like me, you probably love watching them play. Remember that, and enjoy!
Motherhood means opening the doors to lessons from youth sports.
Some women dream of motherhood from the time they are little girls. Dreams of holding a newborn close to their chest, feeding a young infant, dressing their young daughters in pink. I never connected with this vision of motherhood, but I always knew I wanted to be a hockey mom. And a soccer mom. And any kind of mom that involved 5am wake-up calls, long drives to tournaments, tears of victory and defeat and a prime seat on the sidelines.
It’s finally happening. Last week my 3-year old son participated in his first soccer “practice.” In full disclosure, we did sign him up for Little Kickers and learn to skate classes prior to this point, but this is the first class where parents do not participate. I got to sit back and watch my eager little son play soccer.
I was on the edge of my seat as he hovered over the ball, anxiously waiting for the coach to tell him it was time to kick. The entire hour was thrilling but it was at the end of the session when I sat back in my chair and thought to myself: “This is what it’s all about.” Max participated in his first huddle.
Whether it’s a soccer pitch, a cold sheet of ice or his field of choice, I hope my son receives some of the same gifts I have from a life spent inside many huddles.
The huddle is time to put your heads together and listen to a teammate or coach give direction. Whether a play is being called or a team cheer is being directed, inside the huddle one learns to listen intently and respond.
Teams are made up of diverse groups of individuals with different opinions and styles. When inside a huddle everyone has the same goals. Personal biases and differences must be put aside for the greater good of the team.
Sometimes it’s your turn to lead the huddle. Will you take charge? What will you say? Will you look your teammates in the eyes? Will you speak from the heart? Will you push someone out of the huddle if they aren’t on board? Will you pick your teammates up when they are down?
There’s nothing quite like being forehead to forehead with teammates, all pulling in the same direction. Risks are taken in huddles, and someone always has your back. Sacrifices are made in huddles. Best friends are made in huddles.
Someone once said everything they learned in life they learned in kindergarten. My most important life lessons and experiences happened inside the huddle. Whether my son ever plays college soccer, college hockey, or even makes a varsity team, I hope he has many more huddles in his future. I’ll be there with the orange slices when they break.
We’re here to help your children experience similar lessons many of us learned from the opportunities we had as college athletes and coaches. Get started with a free recruiting profile today.