Recruiting is a difficult subject to approach. There are so many different views on how to go about getting noticed by top lacrosse college programs. In Utah we have so many travel and elite teams and most of them basically have the same goals; play in tournaments and get players noticed by college coaches. I won’t argue against the success of many of these teams and I think most of them are run well. With so many new “teams, clubs, academies, camps, elite, comp, etc” starting up, teams are looking for players. Here is my advice to parents out there: do your research. Learn about the coaches, the club’s goals, expectations, costs and advantages. You want to make sure that your child is joining a “club” that will be the best fit.
So many players from Utah go to a school to play lacrosse but come back. They come back for various reasons but from what I have seen they get lured in by the lacrosse program but don’t look around and think about “what if I don’t play my freshman year”, “what if I get injured and can’t play lacrosse”, “and does this school meet my academic standards?” There is basically no money in lacrosse so academics and atmosphere should play the biggest roles in making a decision about where to attend. What are you going to do after lacrosse is over? I’d be interested to know how much the kids are learning about preparing for a college experience versus trying to get to a school that gives them some money.
When thinking back at making my college decision I wish I would have thought more seriously about what I was looking for out of my college experience. I want to impart some advice to high school and youth players based on my experience. Hopefully some of these points hit home.
1A. GET GOOD GRADES. You can’t even be considered for a lacrosse program unless you have good grades. Also, this doesn’t just mean get the grade, it means learn as much as you can because it only gets harder in college.
1. Don’t pay attention to rumors or who is talking to what school or any of that. You have zero control over it so instead focus on what you can control which is your own abilities.
2. Focus on fundamentals. Due to genetics you probably won’t be the biggest, strongest and fastest guy out there but you can learn to be able to catch, pass, shoot, face-off, gather up groundballs and create opportunities better than anyone else.
3. Listen to your coaches. Do they know everything? NO, but that doesn’t mean you can dismiss what they are saying. As I’ve heard a great coach say, “Put it in your tool belt of skills.”
4. Be diverse. You can’t be the guy who plays top-left EMO and expect to be recruited. Be able to play all positions. When asked what position you play reply with, “whatever will get me on the field” and you HAVE to mean it.
5. Be diverse. I know I said it again, but this time I mean be more than just a lacrosse player. Play other sports. Playing basketball, soccer, hockey, learning martial arts, and even playing golf will help you with your play on the lacrosse field. (Maybe not so much golf, but I like to think it helps)
6. Be honest with yourself. Do you really want to play lacrosse in college? It is a HUGE commitment so do your research by talking to college players from schools you are interested in and see how they manage school and lacrosse.
7. Learn responsibility. Bring all your gear to every practice and game. Show up at least 15 minutes early (which means tell your parents you want to be there early and push them out the door instead of the other way around)
8. Learn how to use email properly! This means checking it every day and responding in a timely manner. Also, remember that email isn’t the same as a text message so use complete sentences.
9. Learn respect for adults and authority. Treat your parents, coaches, officials, teachers, friend’s parents with respect and you will get respect in return.
10. Hit the wall, shoot, run, eat right, practice trick shots, all on your own time.
11. Remember that lacrosse is a game. Use disappointments to drive you to get better and be humble when you achieve success, but overall, have fun playing!
12. Last on my list here but maybe one of the most important- Honor the Game. It was here well before you and will be here long after you so do what you can to make it better for those who follow.
These are just a few ideas which I wish I had paid more attention to when I was in high school. I’m sure my parents were saying all those things to me, but I didn’t know how important they all are.
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