Lacrosse has grown in popularity at the high school level, and as a result the number of youth players hoping to play in college has increased. This has made getting recruited to play at the next level even more competitive. Lacrosse Playground decided to compile a list of the top ways to get noticed by coaches and get recruited to play at your school of choice.
It is never too early to start the recruiting process if you’re serious about playing lacrosse in college. Coaches generally like to have an idea of their incoming recruiting class by the fall of players’ senior years of high school. This means during your sophomore year you should develop a list of potential schools you’d like to play for. Look at schools that you have an interest in both academically as well as athletically. Your list should have around 10 schools you’d seriously consider attending based on academic majors offered, location and other important factors. Lastly, be realistic with yourself and know which Division or Club level is right for you. Every level of play has a different level of competition and the most important thing is figuring out what level gives you the best chance to succeed.
Contact coaches immediately
Once you’ve made a list, contact coaches and show them that you’re interested. There are often rules against coaches contacting players first during certain times in the recruiting process and often coaches rely on prospective players to show the initial interest. It is up to you to reach out to coaches and begin communicating your desire to play for them. Once you have contacted them, submit a player profile (often found on the team’s athletic website) and inform them of any upcoming games or tournaments you’ll be attending.
Join a club team
By your sophomore or junior year of high school you should join a club or travel team in addition to playing for your high school. You don’t have to play for the most elite club team to get recognized by coaches, yet you should choose a team that attends several of the more popular tournaments in your area. Very few coaches are able to attend all their potential recruits’ games when in season, and they will use summer tournaments to meet and watch possible recruits play.
Make a highlight tape
While a coach who is interested in you will often try to see you in person, it is logistically impossible for coaches to see all their prospective recruits play. In order to display your abilities, you should send coaches a highlight tape. While coaches will often prefer seeing a player in person, a highlight tape is a great alternative and often can set you apart from the competition. Your highlight tape should be about five to eight minutes long. You don’t want it too long, but you should make sure it shows enough highlights of you so coaches can get an idea of your level of play and whether your skill set is right for the team. Most camps offer professional film services to players attending for a certain fee. However, if you have a basic HD camcorder and a relative or friend willing to film you, you can create your own highlight tape. Simply include some of your best lacrosse highlights, set it to music, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and send it to any interested coaches for a fraction of the cost of professional videographers.
Be persistent, but professional
Frequently email coaches about your current season and upcoming games or tournaments. Don’t be afraid to follow up with coaches, but do so in a respectful and professional manner. Some coaches may show less interest than others, but the key is to remain persistent. If coaches continue to not respond, don’t get discouraged. Rejection is part of the process and although it is sometimes difficult to accept, it is more important to continue to maintain contact with coaches who do show an interest.
Attend scholarship days and overnight visits
Once you have narrowed your search to three to six schools, attend as many scholarship or prospective student days as possible and contact coaches about staying overnight with a current player. At this point you may think you know what each school has to offer, but you may not truly know what it is like to attend that school. The best way to see if a school is right for you and to get to know your potential teammates is to attend an overnight visit and shadow a current player. Most coaches believe an overnight is the best way to introduce recruits to their programs. Overnight visits can often make or break a recruit’s decision and most recruits leave with a better understanding of the people and culture present at a particular school.
Make the right decision for you
Lastly, always remember that where you attend college is your decision and ultimately you want to play lacrosse at the school that is right for you. Your ultimate goal when completing the recruiting process is to find a school that offers you the chance to develop academically, athletically and ultimately as a person. Recruiting is a challenging and tedious process, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort it can lead to incredible opportunities both on and off the lacrosse field.