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What do college lacrosse coaches look for in recruits?
How to get recruited to play college lacrosse can seem to a mystery to anyone navigating the process for the first time.
From when college coaches can contact an athlete to picking the right club program and the right event, the process can be stressful for players and parents.
Over the next few weeks, LaxRecords.com hopes to shed some light on the recruiting process by talking with college coaches from all levels to answer some of the most asked questions.
First up …
How to Get Noticed
- Understand your goals
- Let coaches know you’re interested
- Perform at a high level
- Love lacrosse and show that passion
Luke Christiansen, Head Coach William Penn
“I think, by any means necessary, right? There’s not one right way to go about recruiting. The best way to go about it is to understand your goals. So, to define what your goals are within recruiting as a D-I, as a D-II, as a D-III, to get the best absolute scholarship to help fund your education. What are your goals? Define those, then really look at yourself individually and understand what your fit is. What makes you attractive to schools? And then to market that effectively.
There are two student-athletes that really come to mind of that I recruited over the last couple years that really, really did it effectively, and it was all about them understanding their strengths and then leveraging those to find a great situation and great scholarship money. One of them, that was all athletic money. He understood he painted himself in somewhat of a corner with his grades. But hey, he could use his athletic ability to help finance his education. And that’s a great attribute, understanding that situation and making the best out of it.
The other understood, “Hey, my grades are probably one of my greatest attributes. I’m a really good player as well. I can package those things together and pay for almost all of my tuition and education through that.” And those two really understood their situation, understood their goals, and then were able to leverage them for good situations for themselves.”
Kevin Corrigan, Head Coach Notre Dame
“Kids should be smart and strategic about the events, know what the level of play is and what his aspirations are. Every event doesn’t have the same people. You’re going to have different coaches at different venues based on the perceived level of play at that event. Have some good video available and send it out to coaches.”
Dave Pietramala, Head Coach Johns Hopkins
“Perform. That’s the most obvious. If you find yourself in a game where college coaches are present, perform at a high level. That’s what’s going to catch a coach’s eye first. Coaches are always looking for guys that compete with great energy and enthusiasm. How hard you play is something I find to be an interesting quality you’re looking for, but you don’t necessarily find it as much as you’d like. I’m always amazed when I go to these camps and there’s a number of coaches watching and here’s the players, some who are not playing as hard as they’re capable of.”
Jon Torpey, Head Coach High Point
“There’s a series of things you have to do. One, I think you got to get in front of people, obviously, first and foremost. Whether it’s through recruiting camps, if you played at a school that’s going to bring coaches to your camps, that’s obviously a plus. But that doesn’t happen in many areas outside of the hotbeds.”
“But if you can get on a good team that’s going to get some exposure, you can obviously put together a highlight film, get that out to coaches as kind of an initial, “Hey this is who I am, this is what I do.” And just put some things in there, whether it’s the initial email or the actual highlight film, are just things that might pop to a college coach, whether it’s your size, whether it’s your speed, whether it’s different accolades in the sport of lacrosse or potentially other sports that you’re playing. Obviously your grades, that’s going to open some doors, it’s going to close some doors for you too.
But you just want to make sure you’re getting your name out there. And I think most coaches at that point will either reach back out to you with maybe just kind of a general correspondence or, you know, potentially an invite to a prospect camp, or if they’re really interested in what they see in the initial term, and it depends on the season, they might say, “Hey I’m going to be at this camp at this time. Look forward to seeing you there.” But you just have to stay relevant, and I think the more outside of those hotbed areas of Maryland and Philadelphia and New York you are, the more work you have to do. Just to get that initial look and to reach out to these guys.”
Trey Wilkes, Assistant Coach Delaware
“I think the first thing that’s really important is, do you have a desire to play? Regardless of the level. The saddest thing that I see is kids that say, D-I or bust, right? And it’s like I’m either going to play Division I lacrosse or not at all. To be honest, it’s kind of a red flag for any Division I coach because that doesn’t really tell us that you love the game all that much. I could remember being a high school kid not too long ago. For me, I had aspirations and dreams and goals of playing Division I lacrosse. At the end of the day to me what was more important that I was going to play collegiately and be a part of something that was bigger than myself and it was also going to help me just become a better person and prepare me for the next chapter in life. I think that your game has to be your number one priority. What are you doing to become a better player?
Marc Zolchonock, Wagner Assistant Coach
I kind of broke this down in the three categories. Your number one, your athleticism is going to stand out, first and foremost, how big a fast how strong you are. That's very easy for us to notice right away. The second category that we'd like to break it down to is guys that play with a motor. And what that entails is, are you playing as hard at 8 a.m. and at 3 p.m.? In the afternoon, after you've played a couple of games, do you still bring that same energy to the table, that your game is consistent along the entire day? We understand that days are long, we get tired sitting in chairs on turf, it's hot, you got to drink a lot of water. But if you're able to make me go, wow, this kid is playing hard and it's 4:54 in the afternoon, we're like wow, there there's something there. The third category that how do we evaluate players visible is plays made. Whether that's visible plays on the field or the invisible types. And what I mean by that is, the visible types are kind of the obvious ones scoring, assisting, winning faceoffs playing the ball well on defense. And then the invisible plays that we like to talk about is your stick work and moving the ball or using both hands? How well do you set up your dodge? Drawing slides and moving the ball? Communicating? Can we hear you from the sideline? And are you saying the right things? What are your slide decisions? Like? And how well did you pick up the ground balls, those invisible plays make up a lot more in my opinion than the physical plays. Yeah. And that's almost 10 different ways for you to get evaluated in a showcase sport or tournament setting.
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