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Social Media and Lacrosse Parents

You know who the most annoying lacrosse parent on your timeline is, probably a few. Most everyone is trying to give our children sage advice around the dangers and cautions of life on social media, and how best to strike a balance. With our purpose to support parents of Lacrosse players, it feels like the advice and guidance on social media needs to extend to the parents. I know any such guidance is unique to everyone and their situation, but at this point most are aligned with moderation being key. Even then, we all have those parents on our timeline that are constantly complaining about their coach/program being unfair to their child, or constantly praising how great their 9 year old is in rec league. So a post dedicated to social media tips for the parents of youth sport or lacrosse players is long overdue. Let's break it down to a few key areas:

  • Maturity rate - children grow and mature at greatly varying rates. When I was in the 4th grade, my buddy Pete was the tallest kid on the basketball team. He played center, scored 75% of our points and was borderline unstoppable. Fast forward to 8th grade, Pete was still the exact same size, but everyone(except me) had grown taller than him. He was now a guard who couldn't really shoot or dribble. He never needed those skills when the rest of us were dribbling for our lives and learning to shoot from the outside. Its a tale as old as time, kids mature at different rates and the kids who are dominant at a young age rarely stay that way. Parents seem to forget this when they go on social media and anoint their youth athlete the next Casey Powell, while parents of smaller kids suffer from comparison fatigue. No youth player is getting a scholarship at age 9, and as the article Early to Ripe, Early to Rot explains, typically those kids who mature first, fizzle out first, like my buddy Pete who was passed by physically and didn't even play basketball in HS. Keep that in mind when posting anything to social media praising your childs accomplishments. Lets not add pressure to them at a young age, and if praise is deserved deliver it in person and for reasons that will make them great adults, like sportsmanship, being an amazing teammate and cleaning up the sidelines after practice. I promise you, if your son or daughter is playing at a level worth social media recognition, those accolades will come.

  • Recruiting - If you've heard any college coach or recruiting advice in the lacrosse community to players, it will inevitably address social media. Telling players, if you are considering playing at the next level, the first thing a college coach that may be interested in you does, is check your social media. So something a kid reposted at age 15, could cost them an opportunity in college. Same goes for parents, college coaches will all tell you they evaluate parents as much as the child. Probably a good filter for parents as they post. College coaches don't want a parent who is publicly criticizing a coach or program, or constantly telling the world they have the best player in the world because in9th grade their child got a notice in the recruiting portal from a D1 team. That kid is not going to take criticism well at the next level, maybe they are going to transfer at the first sign of adversity. It may not be true, but coaches have more kids to choose from than ever, don't give them a reason to pass on your deserving child.

  • Addiction - This one scares me the most, it is truly eye opening how much time I can waste in the social media time-suck. For example, I remembered I had to respond to a DM the other day, stopped by instagram to do so and boom, 30 minutes later I can't remember what brought me here. But I did watch stories about every kid in the state who has committed to college, convincing the world they got a full ride(see FOMO section below). I'll never get those 30 minutes back and they didn't add any value to my life or my children's life, sans some fodder for this article. As current cases in front of our government today are evidence, the social media platforms were built and designed to keep us hooked. They take us down rabbit hole, after rabbit hole and keep us literally addicted. I have the restriction set up on my phone to only allow me an hour a day on social media, but I can proudly say I am on a hot streak of 400 days in a row of turning off that alert when it comes up. If I'm a case study, that limit doesn't work. What does work? The algorithms designed to keep your interest and peak your serotonin levels with every post and story. As adults, know its an addiction, remind yourself its an addiction, go outside and leave your phone inside. Monitor yourself just like you monitor your kids screen time. Go to Settings > Screen Time, Tap the All App and Website Activity, then see the different Apps and usages. It can be eye opening.

  • FOMO - lastly is maybe the worst. Consider our kids, most of whom have access to the entirety of the social media apps(TikTok, Youtube, Instagram). We wonder what changed about today's kids? Nothing! They are still kids, just products of the environment they are growing up in, and they have access to so much information designed to affect them. They don't stand a chance if they spend all of their time trying to keep up with 'friends' online. How could a HS freshman not be worried about getting to play lacrosse at the right college when her teammates or competitors are posting that they committed to Clemson?! No context or details offered, just a perception of keeping up with the Joneses. Well it happens to us parents just as much or more. Seeing another parent of a player on your team or in your town getting offers or committing, making some select team your kid didn't even want to play on, it makes you question everything. You compare your parenting and raising of your kids to others in completely different situations. "Should we be paying more money to different travel teams or sign up for private lessons/" its a never ending cycle if you let it. Follow the advice you want your kids to follow, run your own race. We are all moving at our own pace and what's right for one is not right for everyone. A constant state of FOMO disconnects us from reality, social media is not reality, it is a perception that people want you to have of them. Reality is the rule of thirds. 1/3 of your time things are great, 1/3 of your time will be just ok and 1/3 of your time will be lows. When you feel like you are spending a bit too much time in any one of those, take inventory. Social media may be the cause. PSA If its too much in the lows or you can't get out of the funk, don't ever be afraid to ask for help.

I wrap this up by sharing an old saying a brother of mine just mentioned that sums up the best tip for dealing with the internet as kids or parents: "Ignorance is Bliss" If you aren't online, you might not even know what you are missing.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time.


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