As the recruiting calendar closes, we discuss the good and bad from the summer lacrosse industry organized in easy to read passages. These are my opinions based on trends and other habits I noticed from my summer on the recruiting trail.
Everybody loves lists.
- New X’s and O’s – At this point on the summer circuit, you’re likely to play teams from New York, North Carolina, Cleveland, and Florida in two days. Chances are high they play the game and think the game a little differently than you. What a great opportunity to pick up a new man up play or ride.
- Elite Food Trucks – This was my first year at Baltimore Summer Kick Off. I’ll be back next year just for the pork tacos and milkshakes. (Two different trucks.) Minimal lines and decent prices made it easy to consume two milkshakes in one afternoon. A food truck at the January Adrenaline Challenge featured a memorable Philly Cheesesteak with an additional sauce, possibly garlic aioli. MVP at Rider in November typically has a pork roll and cheese sandwich not to be missed.
- Overcast weather, especially in the afternoon session, especially in July - Players, parents, coaches are eternally grateful for clouds and temperatures in the low 80s
- Tournament Software – 3D Denver Shootout, Tri-State, Hotbeds and others trotted out Tournament Machine , which allows you to follow teams, scores, and schedules on your phone. MVP Live Score provided real time scores and standings including goals for and goals allowed. NXT brings monitors to their main tent to showcase scores. Any combination of these services makes it easier for all involved to gather information. If you’re still using white poster board and black marker in 2015 as your main way of sharing results, your event should be ashamed. If you’re attending an event that just poster board and marker, you’re wasting your money.
- Watching teams with the ugly uniforms lose
- Uninterested Field Managers – You have a minor role that requires very little energy. Sit in a chair. Keep track of the time. Keep track of the score. Call for a medic on your cell or walkie talkie. Not too challenging. Since I’ve been on the road with American Revolution, I’ve seen one field manager leave his chair in the sun and stand in the shade behind the net. Of course both teams immediately got into a disagreement over the score of the game coming out of half time. I have a photo of another field manager asleep…face first in the grass. We don’t attend that event anymore.
- No Parking Lot for College Coaches – General parking lots at summer tournaments make levels out of Left 4 Dead look calm. Events operated by college coaches typically take care of their own, but I’ve never noticed a college coach parking lot at one of the most well-known summer events on the East Coast. Why an event wouldn’t make it as easy possible on the recruiters is beyond me.
- Fields in July – If you’re competing at an event that has hosted more than one game all summer and it hasn’t rained in a week, you’re playing on granite covered in dust. Be thankful you’re not a one-knee face off guy.
- Bad Recruiting Books - College coaches recruit individuals not teams. They don’t care who wins the games. Most coaches leave before the tournament finals to get to their next event. If the information on the book, doesn’t match the athletes on the field, you’ve got a major problem. Whether you assign blame to the tournament directors or the club coaches, the kids suffer.
- Coaches that Don’t Coach – Enter enough tournaments and you’re bound to get roughed up at least once. That doesn’t mean you stop coaching, regardless of the weather, regardless of the kids’ attitudes, regardless of how much money the club is paying you. The kids deserve your very best. Don’t roll over.