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Loyola Lehigh Patriot League Championship lacrosse 2014

Exposure vs. Preparation: Truth About Summer Lacrosse Events

If your goal is to play in college, spend your summer getting ready to play, don’t spend summer lacrosse trying to convince coaches how good you are.

Editor’s Note: A former two-sport DI athlete at Fairfield University, Kelly has dedicated his life to building better lacrosse athletes, on and off of the field. Sean contributes regularly from his state-of-the-art Sports and Mental Preparation Facility in New Jersey. Take it from here, Sean!

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Let’s just get this out there, attending 6 to 8 tournaments/camps a summer should not be your road map to playing college sports.

If your goal, or child’s goal, is to play college sports, then spend your summer lacrosse season getting ready to play college sports, don’t spend it trying to convince college coaches how good you are.

The showcase should be treated like a final exam. If you don’t study and improve your weaknesses before the final, then you are most likely going to be unprepared for the test and receive a failing grade.

The Road To College

I recently read a very interesting article by Mike Boyle called “The Road to College.” In this article Mike vents his frustrations about summer tournaments/camps and showcases.

I love some of the points that Coach Boyle makes but the point that particularly stands out for me is the following;

The road to college sports should go right through a weight room. I know this sounds old-fashioned but it’s true. If your child’s goal is to play college sports, then, get ready to play.

Don’t spend all summer trying to convince coaches how good you are. Spend the summer trying to get better so coaches will notice you. You can’t network your way into college sports.

To me this is a process over outcome problem. The outcome is that you want to play in college. The problem is that many kids feel that exposure is the process. Exposure is NOT the process, preparation IS the process.

The Best You Can Be

I played football and lacrosse at the Division 1 level, and trust me, exposure is not how I did it. My summer was focused around training, preparation and improving my weaknesses. I was obsessed with getting stronger, faster, and improving my sport specific skills through hours and hours of preparation.

If you want to play in college, you need to become the best high school player that you are capable of becoming. You need to improve your strengths so that they are head and shoulders above everyone else. You need to improve your weaknesses so that they become strengths. There aren’t many 1 dimensional college athletes.

Planning The Summer

Let me be clear, I’m not saying that you should never attend a tournament/camp or showcase. My point is that attending 6 to 8 tournaments/camps a summer should not be your road map to playing college sports.

I suggest, as does Coach Boyle, to choose 1 or 2 camps that have the most value for you and then spend the rest of the summer preparing and improving for those camps.

The showcase should be treated like a final exam. If you don’t study and improve your weaknesses before the final, then you are most likely going to be unprepared for the test and receive a failing grade. Traveling from showcase to showcase all summer long is like taking test after test without studying.

Coach Kelly, you are just saying this because you have a vested financial interest in trying to steer us towards more training right?

I will let coach Mike Boyle answer that question, to which I absolutely agree:

Every sport has entrepreneurs and organizers who swear they know the answer. The problem is they have a vested financial interest in you and your child. They need you to make money. The truth is, so do training centers and sports performance centers. However training centers and sports performance programs help young athletes do exactly what professional and collegiate athletes do in the off-season. TRAIN.

Most summer training programs are intentionally modeled on the programs that have helped high school, college and professional athletes succeed for decades. The programs are not flashy or sexy. In fact they are difficult and demanding. However, they are designed around a successful formula.

So before you sign up for camp after camp, tournament after tournament, showcase after showcase this summer think about how the process of PREPARATION will help you become the best high school player you can become. This in turn will help you get noticed!

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I always enjoy hearing you feedback so don’t be afraid to drop a comment below or email me with your thoughts and opinions on this subject.

Photo Credit: Craig Chase

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