Lacrosse Recruiting: A Suggested Timeline For Lacrosse Players

A lacrosse player defends the goal against an attack from an opposing player.

Are you a high school lacrosse player with hopes of playing at the college level? It’s an exciting conclusion to come to, but it also brings plenty of uncertainty thanks to everything that goes into the lacrosse recruiting process.

The best way to equip yourself throughout the process is to be armed with as much knowledge as possible. As a lacrosse player, know the important dates, rules, and regulations with regard to your sport in general, and what college lacrosse coaches can and can’t do during certain times of the year. Most importantly, be in control of what you can control, with the biggest one being how you progress within lacrosse throughout your high school career.

Whether you’re getting ready to enter high school or already in the middle of your experience, the following suggested timeline will be helpful.

Lacrosse Recruiting Timeline

Freshman Year

Playing lax in the fall (if it’s possible) is a good idea, but if you play another sport, don’t drop that sport for lacrosse unless you really, really want to. Once the winter rolls around, it’s a good idea to see if there are any winter leagues or clinics available to you. This is also a good time to visit a couple local schools to start getting a feel for what you like, while also thinking about and being honest with yourself about which division of college lacrosse is the best fit for you. Also remember that when looking for the right college fit, you should also consider more than just a good fit athletically but also academically, financially, and even socially.

The spring time should be focused on having a good season with your school team, while also planning on a summer camp to help you continue progressing – like at one of our GameBreaker Lacrosse Camps!

Sophomore Year

As you continue trying to hone in on the types of schools you like and the types of college lacrosse programs you’d like to play for, start to make a college list so they’re all in one spot. Along with once again playing in a winter league or camp, start reaching out to coaches via emails or filling out prospective student-athlete questionnaires at the colleges you like the most.

If you can, check out a few college lax games at schools that you really like while also continuing to modify and get closer to finalizing your college list. The summer after your sophomore year is a great time to start making trips to a few of these schools.

Junior Year

This is finally the time when the NCAA allows college coaches to initiate contact with you. For anyone that does, make sure you respond quickly and keep the tone conversational, but professional. It’s important to keep coaches of your top schools (which should be closer to a list of 10 by now) in the loop on what you’re doing – any ACT or SAT test, fall tournaments, or anything else they should know about your upcoming spring season.

Once July hits, you need to be registered with the NCAA Clearinghouse, be sending your updated transcript and test scores to coaches, getting a lacrosse highlight video together, and playing in tournaments and/or camps where college coaches will be in attendance.

Senior Year

College coaches will reach out to you about official visits if they’d like you to come to campus. Whether you do official or unofficial visits, this is a great opportunity to compare and contrast schools while you’re submitting applications. If you don’t commit to a school earlier in the fall, continue to stay in touch with coaches where you think you’d be a great fit.

Also, don’t forget about keeping your grades up and getting ready for the spring season. Once you officially commit to a school by May 1st, it’ll then be time to get ready for college!

So now you know what the typical lacrosse recruiting timeline looks like, but you might still be left with questions on the overall recruiting process, like how to make a highlight tape or the difference in recruiting between Division 1, 2, and 3. Below we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about lacrosse recruiting.

Is the Lacrosse Recruiting Process Different between Divisions 1, 2, and 3?

Yes, there are differences in the lacrosse recruiting process between NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III programs, primarily due to varying NCAA regulations and the nature of the athletic programs at each division level. Understanding these differences can help you navigate the recruiting process more effectively. Here’s a general overview:

Division I

  • Strictest recruiting rules; early identification and contact.
  • Full-ride athletic scholarships available; high competition level.
  • Significant time commitment; sports can resemble a full-time job.

Division II

  • Less restrictive recruiting rules; earlier coach contact allowed.
  • Partial athletic scholarships are common; balances athletics, academics, and extracurriculars.
  • Moderate time commitment, allowing for a broader college experience.

Division III

  • Most flexible recruiting rules; no athletic scholarships, focusing on financial aid based on academics or leadership.
  • Emphasizes balance between athletics, academics, and college life.
  • Recruiting focuses on academic fit and personal development.

General Considerations

  • Recruiting Philosophy: Division I and II may recruit nationally/internationally, while Division III often focuses on regional talent with a strong emphasis on academic fit.
  • Visibility and Exposure: Higher for Division I prospects, requiring top-tier club team participation and showcase events. Division II and III may offer more direct outreach opportunities.

How Do I Make a Great Lacrosse Highlight Video?

Here are a few tips on how to make a lacrosse highlight reel that can grab a coach’s attention.

  • Highlight Reel Order: Start with your most impressive plays to catch attention early. Organize the video so that it flows smoothly from one clip to the next, keeping engagement high throughout.
  • Incorporate Important Information: Begin the video with a slide that includes your name, high school, position, graduation year, and contact information. You can also list any notable statistics or achievements, but keep it brief.
  • Keep it Concise: Aim for a video length of 3-5 minutes. Coaches have limited time and watch numerous videos, so make sure every clip counts and maintains their interest.
  • Highlight Your Versatility: Include clips that showcase a range of skills relevant to your position, such as shooting, passing, defense, dodging, faceoffs (if applicable), and off-ball movement. Showcasing versatility can make you a more attractive recruit.
  • Get Feedback Before Finalizing: Share your draft video with your coach, teammates, or a trusted advisor for feedback. They might spot things you’ve missed or suggest additional clips to include.

What is the Best Way to Get a College Coach’s Attention?

The most effective strategy to capture a lacrosse coach’s attention during the recruiting process is to showcase your skills in person at camps and clinics. The value of a coach seeing you live in action cannot be overstated; it provides them with a firsthand look at your athletic abilities, game sense, and how you interact with teammates and opponents. This direct exposure is often what makes the difference in a highly competitive recruiting landscape. However, it’s crucial to approach your recruitment from multiple angles. Don’t overlook the importance of playing on a club team during the offseason, initiating contact through emails, filling out recruiting questionnaires, and creating a compelling highlight video. These elements complement your live performances, ensuring that coaches have a well-rounded understanding of your capabilities and character, both on and off the field.