group of child lacrosse players on afield with their coach

A Note from a Travel Lacrosse Program Director: How to Increase Confidence in Young Athletes 

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I get asked this all of the time: “How do I increase my daughter/son’s confidence in the game?”. Confidence in sports, specifically, is pretty tricky because it encompasses so many different aspects of a player’s development. 

A lacrosse player being coached during a practice

Practice Makes Perfect

On the skill side, competence = confidence. The more you practice something, the more your competency grows, and the more confident you feel on the field. Pretty simple right? Well, that’s just one side of the equation. Why do we see a lot of high-level College or Professional athletes coming back from an injury a completely different player? They have practiced their skills a trillion times in their life, but now they are “in their head”. Which brings us to the other side of the equation of confidence: the mental game. 

The Mental Game

Ever hear that little voice in your head saying “Catch the ball, catch the ball!!”. And then you realize that’s all you’re thinking about – not the defender closing in on you or your next look. You can’t focus on the actual game. Maybe that little voice is coming from a coach who threatens “if you don’t catch the ball you’re coming out of the game” or maybe your mom or dad promised ice cream if you “just catch the darn ball”. The mental game has to be nurtured for confidence in sports just as much as your skills need practice. For some cases, I recommend a Sports Psychologist… but there is another way to increase your player’s confidence in both their skills and their mentality. 

How Overnight Lacrosse Camp Helps Increase Confidence

Lacrosse Camp. Specifically, Overnight Lacrosse Camp. In an overnight sports camp setting, players are taken out of their element, which is often a team that they know, coaches that they know, and their parents on the sideline. They are placed in an unfamiliar, yet supportive environment. 

Opportunity for Independence 

At camp, you’re away from everything within your game’s comfort zone. Now you’re passing to players who you’ve only known for a few days. You’re away from the support… and the pressure… of your parents. And most importantly, you’re responsible for getting the most out of your experience on the field. You don’t have to worry about your club coach seeing you drop the ball and worry about the effects on your playing time that might have. You’re not worried about how your future high school coach just walked on the field. Your first opportunity for independence in your sport is at an overnight camp. 

A young lacrosse player receiving one-on-one coaching from a professional lacrosse player

Different Coaches 

Each coach is really good at one thing. Whether that’s teaching footwork, or executing an 8-meter shot, or the face-off. Each coach knows what their role was as a player and that is their secret sauce as a coach. I always encourage my players to take away that one thing about each coach that they play under. And the more coaches you have, the more skills you walk away with. I think it’s absolutely detrimental to see players under one coach their whole life. I’m sure that the coach is an amazing coach, but I guarantee that coach won’t be following you to your College program. Different coaches advance players’ skills, communication, and coachability. 


Overnight lacrosse camp is a fast track to understanding how to be a teammate. Like I said, this is the first time you’re meeting the players you’re grouped with on the field. And within a few sessions, you’re working together and communicating on the field. This environment allows players to embody the player they want to be, and drop the player that they may be on their club or high school teams. Maybe the player always wanted to be a leader on the team but felt timid because there were already captains in place, etc. At camp, a player can recreate their image in the sport for a week, which translates to their leadership on their home teams. 

All in all, overnight lacrosse camp develops technical skills, independence, and leadership skills within each player, in a comfortable and supportive environment. This is the recipe to increase your confidence in the sport. 

Coach Maddie signature

– Director of Palms Lacrosse Club (Florida) 

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