You’re a high school lacrosse player with dreams of playing in college, but it can be easy to make mistakes during the recruiting process.
You’re signed up for the Top 100 Shootout, you play on the elite club team in your area, you have a jam-packed summer schedule. You’re excited – the coaches list is off the charts, and some of the top college programs will be in attendance.
It’s time for you to shine.
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The focus level has to not only be on the field but off the field just as much. Here are five recruiting mistakes lacrosse players have to steer clear of to be successful when finding their college of choice.
Five Recruiting Mistakes Lacrosse Players Must Avoid
Choose Your Club Team/Showcase Events Carefully
Choose your club team and showcases wisely. In the past decade, club lacrosse has come to dominate the recruiting landscape, and the tournament and showcase scene has become big business. College coaches plan their entire summers by which tournaments certain club teams will attend or which showcases draw the most talent.
Don’t sign up to attend every showcase. Do your research and make the correct decision, not just based on looks but also the right group of schools you’ll be playing in front of. Your club team has to match your ability and college goals.
Before your family invests in a premium-level club, do your research, contact your high school coach and kids in the area who have gone on to play at the next level. Then ask yourself how committed you are to the game? A premium club team will ask for a lot of time and commitment, and you have to be ready for that.
You can also find a nice home at mid-tier club that might be a little more regional or local – not a non-competitive club, but just like college, a different level. That being said, club lacrosse is not bad! But do your homework and don’t just chase the helmet, which is a common mistake made by lacrosse players experiencing the recruiting process.
Proper Communication with Coaches
Emails are fine! Just make sure you proof read and double check the names of the coaches and colleges you’re sending the letter to. Many times, Coach Ward is mistaken for Coach So & So from “Southern Florida University,” and that’s a prime example of a big mistake that could cost you a follow-up text, phone call, or email.
Make sure you have your list defined and have a great balance of academics and athletics in mind when sending interest letters to coaches. Don’t just rely on your high school or club coach to make phone calls and emails on your behalf to college coaches; direct contact is the best way to get on the radar. Remember, coaches are people who have families, personal lives, and other professional responsibilities. Be mindful of their time.
The numero uno, the big cheese, the head honcho of mistakes a lacrosse player can make in recruiting: not worrying about SCHOOL!
Guess what? It really doesn’t matter how hard you shoot, what club you’re on, or how sick your last “celly” was if you don’t go to class. The majority of schools that offer lacrosse at the collegiate level will ask you one question on the phone: how are your grades? Can you send us a copy of your transcript? If you have poor grades and are not committed to academics, a lot of doors will close on you right away. The majority of scholarship money that’s awarded for lacrosse is in the form of merit scholarships, so you will be putting yourself at a disadvantage by not focusing on academics.
Keep Getting Better
Don’t just rest on your laurels. You made First Team All-Star, and you’re committed as a sophomore to a Big Ten school, but that doesn’t mean you don’t continue to compete in the summer going into your senior year or stop putting the extra work in. Even if you haven’t made a commitment to a school, don’t get frustrated.
One of the biggest mistakes a lacrosse player can make in recruiting is to stop getting better. You might be a late bloomer, and there are plenty of quality programs that can offer you a home. You have to be committed to the process of becoming great, not just getting to one level and maintaining.
College coaches will continue to evaluate you; one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to stop working hard to get better after a college commitment.
Not Committing to Your High School Team
The landscape has changed, and the culture of high school lacrosse is different from when I graduated in 2003. But the fact still remains, there is absolutely nothing better than working hard with your high school team and chasing a championship.
It’s a huge mistake to focus more on your recruiting cycle rather than living in the moment with your current high school lacrosse team. This doesn’t just mean in the spring when the season is active but also during the summer, fall, and winter for extra workouts with your team.
You know what college coaches love to hear on the phone? “Hey Coach, we have winter workouts and my high school team is really coming together.” The commitment level to your school team is still very important and is not overlooked in the process.
This article was originally published July 12, 2021.