Getting Recognized By Colleges in Lacrosse
Just about every serious youth lacrosse player has the same (or, at least a similar) goal in mind: to get noticed by college coaches and to eventually get an offer to play somewhere as a student-athlete for four years. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on between the beginning of your lax career and the point of accepting a college offer, but it’s always worth the sacrifice in the end.
When it comes to getting noticed by college lacrosse coaches, the formula used to be pretty simple: get the best instruction possible and also spend time going to tournaments, camps, and showcases where you know the types of college coaches you want to play for will be in attendance. The initial (and continuous) impact of COVID-19 has made this a lot harder to do because a lot of summer tournaments and programs were canceled, while many college coaches haven’t been able to make as many recruiting trips as they’d like (or any, for that matter).
That’s frustrating, but it’s also an opportunity for you to get resourceful if playing in college is really important. Plus, there are many phases of the recruitment process — from the side of the prospective student-athlete, at least — that have remained the same throughout the pandemic.
The first, and likely, most important, thing to do is to get an academic and athletic evaluation to see which types of schools are within the range of your abilities. For the athletic evaluation, be sure to find someone with plenty of experience helping athletes like you play at the next level — this could be a high school coach, club coach, or a local trainer that works with similar athletes. They’ll be able to provide an impartial assessment on your skill level, and what division of play makes the most sense at that point in time.
After getting that type of feedback, it’d also be a good idea to truly know what the differences are between each of the three NCAA divisional levels of play. Are you happy with the level of play your skill level currently fits? Great! It’s time to get to work on getting noticed by coaches. Do you want to strive a little higher? That’s great, too! You’ll just need to work a little harder to make sure your physical abilities continue progressing throughout high school.
While getting in front of college coaches and playing for them in person may still be difficult (and hopefully be getting easier in the near future), that shouldn’t stop you from initiating contact via email with some basic information about yourself and a highlight video if it’s available. Coaches want to recruit the best possible athletes for their team, but don’t forget that a recruitment evaluation isn’t purely athletic — they’re looking at the total person, so personality and character count.
They want someone who’s willing to take initiative when it comes to reaching their goals, which means you should be finding the email addresses of all the coaches on staff at schools you’re interested in and send a brief introduction email. That’s when you can also tap on the shoulder of your club or high school coach to help create more of a connection and start building a relationship with certain programs throughout the recruitment experience.