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Creativity. It’s a trait that comes at a premium, but pays off both on and off the field.

Where does it come from? How do you cultivate it, and how do you manage it? How do you take ownership of it on and off the field in a way that helps and benefits your team?

Well, creativity – in short – comes from within. Every person has their own unique way of seeing the world – it’s ingrained in us from birth. Even though this is true, the best way to foster your own creativity is to learn, see, and try new things, especially outside of sports.

Traveling and seeing new areas while learning about different microcultures, picking up a creative art like videography or graphic design, pursuing an active hobby like rock climbing or snowboarding, or acquiring a new skill like learning another language or teaching yourself how to cook – all of these help your brain become more agile. They teach you to creatively solve problems, train your mind to see and manifest what doesn’t already exist, and help you process your world more quickly and efficiently. Not to mention, they’re just plain fun to do.

In a game like lacrosse where your environment changes by the second, creativity is everything.

If you look at every great player there ever was, they all have one thing in common: they were all massively creative in how they played the game and solved the on-field problems that were presented to them.

Paul and Gary Gait navigated closed passing lanes by changing the path of the ball with the most deadly behind the back passes the game has ever seen. Brodie Merrill dared to play defense with an offensive mindset, which allowed him the space and the confidence to be an invaluable asset both in settled defense and transition play. Lyle Thompson continues to mesh his box lacrosse skills into field play, wowing us with every escaped double team and backhanded pass thanks to his borderline psychic vision.

These guys are flat out creative, and simply would not be the same players if they didn’t allow themselves that freedom while developing both as players and as people. Clearly, these players didn’t just excel at their sport – by daring to be creative, they pushed the very boundaries of the game. Things that were once taboo quickly became valuable assets. Behind the back passes, defensemen with the green light to play offense, and backhanded shots are now on every lacrosse field.

So when you’re away from the field, follow the things that grab your attention. Don’t be afraid to explore and steer away from convention. Don’t be afraid to pioneer the world that we live in. Don’t be afraid to create.

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