The Power of A Sports Mentor
By Coach Damon on December 17, 2018
I’ve been thinking a lot about mentors lately.
As I think back to the mentors that I’ve had in my life – both on and off the lacrosse field – they’re some of my most treasured relationships.
Finding a great mentor is life changing.
A mentor in the sports arena can help you grow as an athlete and a person. They can give you confidence and push you to achieve your definition of success.
Sports mentors not only give you tips on how to succeed in your sport of choice but they also help you become a better person.
Or they can simply be an ear to vent to when things are going sideways.
Mentors can be a guide, a tutor, a counselor, an adviser, a friend.
On the other side of things being a mentor is incredibly rewarding.
For anyone who has mentored a young athlete, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
If you think you know a particular topic, try to teach it to another person. You’ll find it requires a new level of understanding. Thereby completing the symbiotic relationship a goalie and his/her mentor share.
Seeing the growth of the individual you’re mentoring is also personally rewarding in your own growth. For when you light a lantern for another person, it also brightens your own path.
When it culminates in that call, text, or email where the athlete shares his/her success and gives you praise, that’s a feeling surpassed by few.
When we try to succeed in a worthwhile endeavor, we are bound to face challenges and difficulties. If you have a great mentor who looks after you from a young age your odds of achieving success in that endeavor skyrocket.
Connect with Like-Minded Folks
Our position of lacrosse goalie is also an interesting dilemma.
While we may be surrounded by teammates who share a common goal on the lacrosse field (winning) you might be the only goalie on the team.
And there’s just some things that only goalies can understand.
I recently spoke with recent Syracuse grad Dom Madonna for a future podcast and when I asked him about breaking out of a slump he said turned to his goalie mentors – his uncles. These guys were his support, his guidance and because they knew the goalie position they could appreciate what he was going through and offer sound advice.
Only another goalie can truly appreciate the trials and tribulations that come with this position.
Only another goalie can truly understand the pains, fears, and issues a young goalie is encountering.
Many coaches and older folks who never stepped in between the pipes just don’t know the mental battles we fight. They don’t the insane pre-game nerves that we get. They don’t know the feeling we get of completely letting the team down.
A young goalie who connects with a mentor who has traveled this difficult path is in a much better situation.
The shared ideal, and the shared struggle to realize it, create a profound closeness in the lives of mentor and goalie.
I’ve studied quite a bit of Buddhism in my day.
Buddhism describes this as the “oneness” of mentor and disciple. This is the lifeblood of Buddhism and the means by which the aspiration to live a fully realized life and enable others to do the same is transmitted and developed from one generation to the next.
In Buddhism, the relationship between mentor and disciple arises from their shared vow to strive together for people’s happiness and to enable them to transform their sufferings into a source of growth and strength.
On the lacrosse field, the same is true albeit I’ll propose a different set of language.
Mentor and Goalie (disciple sounds too weird in this context) strive together for success (happiness) both on and off the lacrosse field to enable them to transform setbacks (suffering) into a source of growth and strength.
Mentors are that important.
Goalie Mentor Program
With the thought of mentors on my mind, I decided to try something with the folks on my email list.
I realized there are a lot of parents on my list with young goalies who could probably use a mentor.
I also realized there a lot of high school and college age goalies on my list who could gain a ton by mentoring a young goalie.
I offered to connect young goalies in search of a mentor with HS and college age (and sometimes older) goalies who would be willing to take on a goalie mentor.
I’m calling it the Goalie Mentor program.
Within the first day, I had over 100 people signup! Meaning we planted the seed for over 50 goalie/mentor relationships.
While I’m sure not all will flourish, I look forward to hearing some success stories a few months down the road.
Check out details: Goalie Mentor Program.
Organizing these relationships took a ton of my time so the Goalie Mentor program is closed for now while I get this 1st group up and running.
But if you want to be alerted when it reopens (probably early Q1 next year) be sure you’re on the email list (subscribe here).
Cristiano Reynaldo, a 5-time Ballon d’Or (soccer player of the year) winner, credits his early coach and mentor Sir Alex Ferguson for all his success.
Tennis champion Rafael Nadal was introduced to the sport by uncle Toni who continues to mentor and coach him to this day.
The list of sport champions with strong mentors goes on and on.
Why do all these top sports champions have mentors?
Because trying to do great things is difficult. Trying to do them alone is, more often than not, impossible.
That’s why all great leaders have mentors, and also mentor others.
Learning from an excellent teacher or mentor with an abundance of experience, knowledge, and wisdom gives us a much better chance of seeing great results on the lacrosse field.
Success is a team sport.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Who’s your mentor? What have they taught you? Let me know in the comments.