Learning from Legends
By Greg Bach
Many of the attributes that were so valuable on twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux’s trek to greatness were forged at the hockey rinks and soccer fields of their youth.
It was during those years growing up in Grand Forks, North Dakota that the foundation was laid by their parents, and those early lessons stuck with them throughout their glorious hockey careers with Team USA.
“Our parents never defined success by wins or losses, or if you made a team,” Jocelyn says. “It was always about your work ethic and if you were a good teammate. I think so many lessons can be lost if success is defined by winning. That just puts unnecessary stress on kids, and I really think you lose the value of what’s important about sports.”
The sisters are the authors of DARE TO MAKE HISTORY, which chronicles their inspiring journey, which began with playing hockey on a frozen pond near the family home with their four older brothers and their friends and later playing – and dominating – on boys teams since there were no girls teams at that time. They went on to play in three Olympics – helping the U.S. win gold at the 2018 Games with a thrilling shootout win over Team Canada – and silver medals at the 2014 and 2010 Games; along with capturing six World Championships.
Now both retired, married and moms, we spoke with the pair on everything from performing under pressure and the value of going through adversity to building confidence in kids and the power of self-evaluating. Check out what these decorated Olympians shared:
PERFORMING UNDER PRESSURE
MONIQUE: Our team sports psychologist that we had for a number of years always told us if you’re really nervous and you have butterflies before a game are you having them fly all over the place or are you going to have them fly in formation and work together. Hearing it put in those terms really clicked for me and made sense of just having those nerves work in your favor and not have your mind all over the place. So just have that excitement work in your favor and be excited for the game and don’t be scared. I think if you can put it in those terms for kids it will help them manage their feelings a little bit better.
JOCELYNE: Our dad never chewed us out, and we never left the car crying. It was more that we learned to be very critical of ourselves in a good way. I think being able to self-evaluate and honestly self-evaluate, is a skill that athletes need to have so that you can adapt and adjust and be better the next time. So that was a skill we learned when we would break down games or talk about games or certain plays.
MONIQUE: A big thing our dad taught us at a young age is that if you can learn how to honestly evaluate your play it’s going to help you be better. That was something that really helped us of having that skill to be able to evaluate our play, pick apart our game, and find ways to improve it.
MAKING AN IMPRINT
JOCELYNE: In the pursuit of trying to win an Olympic medal the lessons learned along the way, and how we impact others throughout that whole process, is what is the most important. Medals are great and winning games is awesome, but those medals at the end of the day collect dust on a shelf and how you impacted the people around you and your teammates and your community, that’s the most important part of this whole journey of life that we’re on. We all have opportunities – big or small throughout our lives – to make an impact on others and to be a voice for positive change and positive impact.
MONIQUE: Our confidence always came from our preparation. Growing up we were some of the better players on our teams, but when we started going to national team camps where you’re not the fastest and you’re not the strongest and you might not have the hardest shot, we were always prepared to the best of our ability. So a big thing that we try and have kids take away when we talk to them is that if you’re looking for confidence from outside sources – from your coaches, from your parents, from other teammates – you might get it from them for a little while, but that’s not going to be a sustained, long-lasting form of confidence. It has to come from within and we’re firm believers that confidence comes from your preparation and your willingness to get better every single day and to work your hardest. And if that’s where your confidence comes from, then even on those days when things might not be going well you’ll be able to pull from within to help you turn things around.
OPERATING THROUGH ADVERSITY
JOCELYNE: How you operate during those high times and low times is what makes great athletes great. If things are going well, maintaining that level of play is a skill, but then when things aren’t going well how you dig yourself out of those moments is also another skill that is harder to develop. As parents, if all you do is try and eliminate that adversity, that’s detrimental for kids as they get older and have to be able to manage things in life that don’t go their way – and those things are going to happen. Especially as they get older those moments get more difficult, whether that’s in relationships, or applying to school or trying to get a job. There are always going to be moments of adversity that we have to learn to overcome and if we just try to eliminate all of those things at a young age for kids we’re doing them a disservice.
GROWING THE GAME FOR GIRLS
JOCELYNE: The goal is to create more opportunities for young girls and for the next generation of players we hope to eliminate the barriers that we had to face throughout our careers and hopefully they get to do more and accomplish more greater things than we did.
You can follow Jocelyne and Monique on Twitter @LamoureuxTwins and Instagram: @jocelyneusa17 and @moniquelam7.
Orlando Pride midfielder Chelsee Washington, founder of 90/10 Performance Co., on helping young players manage mindsets and build confidence from within to perform at their best
Erica Suter, former soccer standout at Johns Hopkins University and author of THE STRONG FEMALE ATHLETE, on helping female athletes enhance confidence, reduce injuries, and boost performance
Former NFL safety Dr. Myron Rolle, author of The 2% Way, shares the mindset that he uses every day to keep moving forward and how young athletes can benefit from it on their journeys, too
Dr. Julie Stamm, a leading neuroscientist and author of THE BRAIN ON YOUTH SPORTS, shares important research and insights on repetitive head trauma and the long-term impact on young athletes’ brain