JV vs. Varsity: Finding Your Why

Written by Katie Coleman, Girls Program Director Illinois

What is your why? The reason you bring yourself to practice every day, the thing that pushes you through your last sprint during conditioning, the feeling you get on game night before the first draw. Why finding your why or your purpose may seem like a difficult question to ask yourself. It is definitely one that requires a lot of thought and intention, but it’s something I challenge you to think through. The reason behind why we do certain things often helps us find a purpose to push for success. When thinking about what’s better: To be a JV starter or a Varsity benchwarmer, you have to reflect back to your why.

Lacrosse is an amazing sport that allows the opportunity to consistently challenge yourself and the people around you. We unite in a common goal and push through the obstacles to get there together. Along the way, we create friendships, memories, skills, and tools that will last longer than any single spring season. These are all great examples of the things that help fill our why. For some, finding your why may mean you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself or to challenge yourself physically and mentally.

When we think about those reasons why, they don’t come with the label of JV or Varsity, and they shouldn’t. They don’t read: To be the best player on the field, to score all of the goals, or to be a Varsity player. Unfortunately, labels, titles, and other people’s opinions of us tend to play a big role in how we see ourselves. There is a stigma that comes with JV vs. Varsity. An inherent idea that being on JV somehow makes you less of a person or player. The thing about lacrosse is that it doesn’t care about labels. Lacrosse is a sport that allows you to grow if you work and try. It is a hands-on sport that requires you to get in and get dirty. If you put in the time and effort, lacrosse will always give back to you.

In order to learn and grow, you have to put your pride aside and the idea of titles and ask yourself how you learn best. Are you more of a visual or hands-on learner? There is so much power in both. Being able to stand on a sideline to watch the game and hear your coaches feedback at the moment is a great way to learn. It’s like an in-the-moment film session. It also takes a well-rounded athlete to be on the field and learn from mistakes physically. To feel what a successful dodge feels like to get instant feedback from a good ground ball versus a bad. The important thing is you’re playing and learning, no matter the level. And, finding your why can help you achieve this.

At the end of the day, to answer the question of what’s better? JV, starter, Varsity or the bench? You first have to ask yourself what your why is and how you can succeed.