Previous Post: Team USA and the Heart of the Game

In 1989, Stephen Covey published a self-help book called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In the book, he explored concepts like “synergy” and “self-mastery” in relation to the ways that people interact. It was an incredibly popular book and its directives still cycle around in management classes and the occasional team-building exercise.

When I began talking to the members of Team USA about their lacrosse careers, I didn’t really expect to think about Mr. Covey’s book. In my head, this series was forming as a look at the players’ backgrounds with some warm fuzzies thrown in—a little like an Olympics backstory piece (without the weird Bob Costas pink eye).

I have known from the beginning that the men who play lacrosse for Team USA, and even those who didn’t make the cuts, are a different class of athlete. I thought that in talking to the players I’d find a few inspirational stories and a lot of evidence of hard work and determination. I thought I’d answer some questions about how they got where they are and maybe cull out a motivational quote that would stick. I thought I’d write some posts about teamwork and listening to coaches and wrap it up neatly in Denver with a summary about what a great team looks like.

With those goals in mind, I sent emails and made phone calls and scribbled notes on everything that even looked like paper. But as I read and listened, the quotes and anecdotes became secondary to a much bigger, much more important pattern developing.

Just as there are traits that characterize highly successful people, there are very specific hallmarks of great lacrosse players. Some seem simplistic, others intuitive, some perhaps a little hokey at first glance. Yet in every conversation I’ve had, the members of Team USA have stressed, sometimes in exact words, the critical importance these attributes.

So here they are, Nine Habits of Highly Effective Lacrosse Players:

  1. Be an effective communicator
  2. Be deliberate
  3. Work hard
  4. Specialize less
  5. Laugh more
  6. Be humble
  7. Be accessible
  8. Surround yourself with great people
  9. Be grateful

Do I think the members of Team USA achieve every one of these things every day? No.

Do I think they’re saints? Absolutely not.

But I do think that each of these men incorporate these tenants into their daily routines and, because of it, are the best lacrosse players in the nation.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be breaking each one of these habits down, letting you in on how they make well-rounded athletes and ultimate lacrosse teams and giving you a little more insight into the guys wearing the red, white, and blue this summer. I hope you’ll keep reading, whether you pick up the stick every day, head to the hoop, swing the bat, or anything else. These nine habits don’t just make great lacrosse players. At the end of the day, they make great people.

Do you have any more habits to add to Morgan’s list? Share them in the comments section.

Morgan Crutchfield is a travel journalist who is quickly becoming a lacrosse fanatic. She lives with her 10-year-old son in Central Florida. Morgan tweets @CentralMorgan and blogs about lacrosse and all kinds of other things at