Friday, August 10, 2012

Nurturing Healthy Male Relationships

My son Kennedy (left) playing  in his first youth lacrosse program  back in  New York

Here’s an email dialogue with a parent in a youth program that ask for advice about how to address his 4th graders interest in playing fall lacrosse. I shared my thoughts in a previous post and link to a related video I did on club ball and tournaments. The parent wrote, “Fred, I share your concern that commitment to a single sport and competitive expectations can get out of control for kids in elementary school. My wife and I assumed our child would switch to other sport(s) this fall as he had in the past. But he is really pushing to play lacrosse.  If he is going to play this fall, our #1 objective is to allow him to continue playing with lots of town kids. Our youth lacrosse program here in town was so good for him socially this spring and we'd like him to continue building those friendships.” To that I say, I hear you on the role of sports and helping to nurture healthy relationships among children. In particular, young boys often struggle in this area (and so do men! This is something I began to work on last year). When we relocated to Massachusetts in 2010, life was pretty miserable for my son, who is going into fourth grade. Playing in a very large town lacrosse program in which I his father coached helped him establish some healthy relationship with other boys in his new community. Because he excels on the field he has gained bit of cache among his peers which helps his delicate self-esteem. As a coach, athletic competition is a great opportunity for me to help nurture healthy relationships between young boys and guide them along the long and bumpy journey to manhood.  Teaching them how to treat each other with dignity, respect, and grace during practice and games is my goal. I could care less if the team wins or loses, that's not my raison d'être for coaching. As I have learned from Joe Ehrmann, I’m focusing on helping boys become men and cultivating relationship with other boys including the ones on the opposing team that just beat us 10 to 2 or 10 to 9.  

Helping Boys Develop Friendships: [Listen 17 min: 51 sec]

The NBA's Grant Hill on Sports and Parents: [Listen 17 min: 51 sec]

Joe Ehrmann, Inside Out Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives: [Watch 4 min 7 sec]

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