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Helping A Player Maintain Effort

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"I coach a U-14 girls lacrosse team. I have a new player whose father tells me his daughter plays hard when ahead, but if the competition is tough or physical she holds back on her effort. He has told his daughter that if the pattern persists, he may remove her from our team. In our two practices together, I see her frustration with physical play, but she hasn't quit on us. How can I help my new player maintain her effort and gain her father's support?"

PCA Response by Lisa Christiansen, PCA Trainer-New York
For starters, you need to get a good feel for your new player's skill level. Once you know that, then it is time to build up her confidence.

At PCA, our Double-Goal Coach® training contains a section about the ELM tree of Mastery (where ELM stands for Effort, Learning, and Mistakes are ok). When you tie ELM into this player's performance, it will help her understand how -- and why -- to continue expending maximum effort through those tough competitive situations.

Intentionally exposing her to safe, legal, physical play in practice will help her get used to those situations. It also will help you assess the validity of her father's concerns. Either way you, as a coach, will have a basis from which to operate, both in terms of improving her play and in equipping you to discuss her progress with her father. Creating these tough-play scenarios also will help the rest of your team learn how to respond.

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