January 6, 2011

New Jersey Coach Wins Spot at US Lacrosse Convention Coaching Clinic

by Megan Rhoads | US Lacrosse | "Countdown to Convention" Home

Last month, we asked lacrosse coaches everywhere: "Why do you coach lacrosse?"

Out of the great answers we received from coaches across the country, we selected a response from Michelle Thomas of Marlton, N.J. as one of our favorites. As a reward, Thomas will attend the Level 1 Coaching Education Program (CEP) instructional clinic offered at the 2011 US Lacrosse National Convention presented by Champion free of charge (a $65 value).

A former player at UMBC, Thomas is now in her eighth year of coaching at the recreation level. When she and her family relocated to southern New Jersey and discovered that there was no lacrosse program in her town where her daughter could play, Thomas started her own team.

"In our inaugural year, we had over 250 girls from grades 3-8 come out to play," she wrote in an email.

Thomas expressed interest in attending a US Lacrosse coaching clinic at Convention so she can bring back the knowledge she learns to her team and town recreation program.

"Teaching the fundamentals the right way will always strengthen our sport," wrote Thomas. "My hope is that the girls I've been lucky enough to coach or interact with will find the same passion for the sport that I have and share it with new lacrosse recruits. Ultimately, I'd hope that the girls will pass on the volunteer spirit of coaching and/or reffing in the communities that they will reside as they get older."

The Level 1 CEP clinic, the in-person training component of Level 1 CEP certification, introduces coaches to the responsibilities and philosophies of coaching. Coaches learn powerful communication techniques, practice planning methods and fun drills and activities to teach the game in an age-appropriate manner.

Major kudos to ALL the coaches out there who responded. Here are a few highlights by our runners up from Twitter:

@sullivanmarkd: I coach because seeing the glint in the eye or confidence build in a 9-10 year old once they complete a pass is priceless.

@ravenlax: Nothing better than when the light bulb comes on for a kid and they do something they never thought they could.

@dennisjoyce: I coach because when I was young I had a coach who made me believe in myself and I want to affect one kid that way.

@TVG_KimVincent: Coaching to build the sport in our area and give kids a chance they would not have had without lacrosse.

Our contest question, "Why do you coach lacrosse?" is quite timely for coaches to ponder, as January is a typical time for team sign-ups and parent meetings. Here's a tip from CEP: Create a purpose statement. Think about why you coach lacrosse, then craft a message for parents that explains who you are and why you want to coach their son or daughter. It's something that can separate you from just some other coach in the school or program this spring.

Want more from CEP? Learn more about how you can take advantage of training from the first national, standardized training program for lacrosse coaches. Visit the Coaching Education Program Web site to get started.

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