Three Questions for Meghan McNamara

[Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature a short Q&A with an IWLCA member coach. The format will be one question about lacrosse, one question about life, and one fun question.]

Q&A with Meghan McNamara, Head Coach, LIU Post, @LIUPWLax

Share some advice you were given as a young player or coach that impacted you positively that you wish everyone knew.

I have gotten great advice from numerous coaches, teammates, and mentors throughout my life, but my father has provided some of the best advice.

         Photo by John Strohsacker.

He told me to prepare, grow and perform to the best of your ability. You should endeavor to make those around you successful, and by doing that, you yourself will become successful. Every action that you take affects others, so you should perform the best that you can to enable all of those around you. Whether my role is player, coach or advisor, I try never to lose sight of this mission and I take a lot of pride in giving everything to help those around me.

I believe everyone receives great advice from many people throughout their playing or coaching careers. Regardless of the source, sometimes that advice makes sense right away or finally “clicks” when reflecting on it years later. So always listen and keep an open mind!

What are some things young people can do to develop their leadership skills?

To be an effective leader you must have a direction or goal to take your followers. You must be willing to try new things and expose yourself to situations to learn and then use these experiences to guide others.

Here are some of the ways that can help move a group or individual to a positive goal and build leadership skills:

  • Get to know everyone around you. Interact with all your teammates and coaches and listen. Everyone has different abilities, personalities, strengths and weaknesses. The best way is through face-to-face conversations and interactions. Direct individual contact goes a long way toward facilitating communication with your group.
  • Seek out and always learn from the experience and wisdom of others. Listen to podcasts, read books and ask questions of those you admire. These stories and lessons will one day give you insight when you are on the field or in the classroom.
  • Get involved in the community. Help in ways large and small. Volunteer and do hands–on work. Helping others reinforces that the little things you do in life make long lasting impacts on more people than just one. Remember, everything you do is for something bigger than you are.
  • Lastly, be grateful for your opportunity to play, to be a role model and compete. Work on ways to share your enjoyment with younger players, teammates and your community. Show your gratitude and appreciation to your teammates and opponents on the field and off the field and get others on board. Always lead by example in practice and during games and continue after the final whistle blows, win or lose.

Everything comes back to being visible in your own way, in a positive way, for your team and those around you.

You are stuck in an elevator for three hours with someone. Who would you want that to be and how do you pass the time?

First, I really do not like elevators and the thought of being stuck in one is a bit scary but, hypothetically, I would like to be stuck in the elevator with the legendary coach and teacher, John Wooden. I’ve been greatly inspired by his accomplishments. I have read his books, listened to his speeches and videos that are online, and I quote him regularly.

After alerting the authorities of our predicament, I would talk to him and listen to his stories about his experiences throughout his lifetime. I would love to hear how he developed his “Pyramid of Success.” His attention to detail, innovative lessons and game planning inspire me as I strive to be the best coach I can for the players and co-workers I work with and for. His messages were well thought out and have the impact, still to this day, of making those around him better people and players with tremendous character. He was always so humble and selfless when he spoke. I really admire that.

As a teacher, he always had the bigger picture in mind. He has forged a pathway to greatness in all aspects of life, sport and family. He was a student as well as a teacher, examining and learning from all those he has coached and he used those pieces to make his team and his players exceptional.

He seemed playful yet serious, family was important, and he valued everyone he met. I would love to discuss it all with him. Having the opportunity to be in the same room as John Wooden, let alone stuck in an elevator, would be amazing. 

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