Mastery of the Sport of Lacrosse

Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse National Program Director, Brian Lalley, discusses, Mastery of the Sport of Lacrosse:

We hear it all the time from many areas of life. “If you want good grades, you have to work hard and study.” “If you want to make money, you have to get a good job and work hard.” “If you want to be a good lacrosse player, you have to practice, exercise and work hard.”

As a lacrosse coach, I am an influencer of people’s behavior. I do not control the players I coach, but I influence how they approach their improvement through IQ, skill and character development cues. I also encourage energetic behavior and hold players accountable to the standards of our program.

I am currently reading a highly referenced book in the world of athletics, “Outliers,” by Malcolm Gladwell. I try to start my day by learning so that as a coach I can continue to grow and hopefully maximize my current level of influence of those in my care. I am currently on the chapter, “The 10,000 Hour Rule.”

Most people have heard the reference that it takes 10,000 hours of disciplined practice to reach mastery. In this chapter, pianists were studied based on their level of mastery and practice habits as they progress from adolescence through adulthood. Based on the current level of ability, each pianist was categorized as stars, good, or unlikely to ever play professionally. When asked their practice habits since five-years-old when most started, there were significantly different practice habits from the stars. The truly excellent performers were all around the 10,000-hour mark, where the good performers were around 8,000 and the lowest group were around 4,000 hours.

What I found most striking about this study was that there weren’t any “naturals” observed. Meaning, there was not a single pianist who reached that top category of mastery without being in that 10,000-hour group of disciplined practice throughout his/her development. The conclusion of the study was once a musician has the talent to make it to a top music school, hard work is the distinguishing factor between two performers. Additionally, the top performer was consistently found to work much harder than anyone else they are competing with.

It’s easy to describe someone better at lacrosse than you as, “gifted.” There is no doubt that natural athletic abilities are a factor in development. However, the very best of the best lacrosse player has never, and will never get there based on gifts alone. If you really want to be great, you have to put the disciplined effort into your continued growth.


Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse Camps

For more great tips like this one come join us at one of our summer lacrosse camps 2018 to increase your lacrosse kowledge and gain valuable experience. Xcelerate Nike Lacrosse Camp provide players of all positions and skill levels an opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches and players in the game today.

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