My Son Isn’t Being Challenged

Tauna & Kirsten
In Ask Our Experts
By Tauna & Kirsten | October 5, 2018
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My son is bigger and stronger than most kids his age. The coach wants to keep him playing lacrosse at his own age level. Should we move clubs so he can compete against bigger kids? How do we challenge him? The coach said he is being challenged, but we disagree.
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Raising Kids to Compete and Win

There are three factors to consider: First, does the coach want your son playing where he is so they can win, or does the coach feel your son needs to stay on this level to develop the correct skills, or (and I don’t mean this critically), do you think you know more than the coach? The most important thing is to understand the coach’s reasoning. Ask him the advantages and disadvantages of staying on this team or playing up; if they make sense, then stay. If they don’t make sense, ask another coach who doesn’t know your son what the disadvantages and advantages are. Don’t get caught up in the hype of playing up.

Correct skills and technique are the most important part of any sport. If kids are put at a level they struggle at, their skill and technique will suffer. As parents we feel we always know what is best for our child; but a well-informed parent who listens and follows objective, knowledgeable advice is the most valuable instrument your child can have.

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Peak Performance Coach

What level of knowledge of the sport do you, as the parent, have of the sport? Have you played the sport at a high level and therefore understand how his skills may develop over time? If you’ve played it at a high level and understand how the development goes, then you may in fact have a point. How do you evaluate the coach? Is he a former player? Or is he just a dad helping out? Or what skills/track record does he have for developing players? Do you know anyone who played for him in the past? Where are they playing now?

Of course, there is no one perfect answer to this question. You need to evaluate your son’s maturity and development (not just size) to see if he’d benefit by playing up. Sometimes kids play up too quickly, get discouraged altogether because they can’t adjust and stop playing. If he’s having fun right now and he’s developing his fundamentals, assuming he isn’t a high schooler yet, the playing field will balance out over the course of the next few years when puberty hits. If he’s a high schooler and is very serious about playing at the next level, speak to a few other parents and coaches and get their read on his talent and abilities. It’s always good to get a neutral opinion from someone with no skin in the game to help you evaluate.

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