Recruiting Is Mostly Promotion

Some people ask about equipment for goalies and wonder why goalie gloves are important.  The more the goalie can play with the wrists to the rear of the shaft, the better wrist rotation is available during the save.  This exposes the thumb tip.  Regular gloves do not have thumb tip protect.  Thus, the goalie glove is meant to protect the thumb tip using a plastic tip.  Top of the line gloves (e.g. STX Cell and K18 Goalie gloves) protect the side of the thumb, the fingers and the back of the hand more than regular gloves.  With the shooters, even at the younger levels, shooting harder and harder, goalie gloves are a must (for both boys and girls goalies).

It is amazing how little is really shared about recruiting.  I get asked by goalies, mostly, about how to get to play in college - how to get recruited.  Over time I have developed some responses that work. I know they work because those same players got in and have graduated with successful academic, social and of course athletic college careers.  There are a few realities and the biggest two are 1) there are a lot of places to play college lacrosse when you count the varsity and club teams and 2) there are few athletic scholarships each year. 

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2010 College Lacrosse Landscape







Per Team


Per Yr


NCAA Division I


60 1

7 2

12.69 4

~ 550



NCAA Division II



7 2

10.8 4

~ 400

~  90


NCAA Division III



19 2





NJCAA (Junior College)




10 3

~ 260

~ 100


MCLA Division I








MCLA Division II
























Teams of Interest








Canadian CUFLA








Canadian MUFLL














~ 310


Notes:  1  45 w/athletic scholarships plus Army, Navy, Air Force w/full scholarships for all students

      2  plus independents        3 men and women <=20       4  split among 2-4 players as partial scholarships

In NCAA Division I and II schools, partial scholarships are normal. Those teams have players playing without athletic financial aid. Further, in Division I, the Ivy League and the Patriot League do not give out athletic scholar-ships. So, there is a maze of financial aid opportunities or pitfalls that should be aided by a professional such as, Dr. Herm Davis, author of College Financial Aid for Dummies and Executive Director, C.F.A.C.E.S., Rockville, Md., who helped guide me and my sons years ago and others since.

There are schools that recruit and some athletes will be found by coaches searching them out.  But, f you are not in the top 5% of the players around you AND you are playing somewhere where the teams are not top teams, it is unlikely you will be on their recruiting list.  You must do some promoting to be recruited. And if you do get recruited the benefit is that you get into a college that might not admit you on your academic record.

Before covering that, why are NCAA Div I, II, III and Junior College (Juco) coaches recruiting from places where top teams play?  At these colleges the level of play is high and the players were the best at their high schools.  Coaches can confidently/successfully recruit by recruiting players who have succeeded, regularly against the best high school competition.  This thinking is so prevalent that many successful Division II/III coaches will recruit off of the benches of successful teams (those 2nd / 3rd team players play against great 1st team group every day in practice).

face_off_2010.jpgFurther, the recruiting rules for coaches are both fair and there for a reason (e.g. past abuses), so they have little direct contact that they can do with you other than mail or by you coming to campus for a visit (on your initiative) until July 1 following your Junior year.  Division I coaches will have gotten their commitment letters signed and most of their recruiting done by late September.  Division II and III trail these dates since players who commit to Division I are gone and they continue recruiting through the winter with those who are left.  Juco coaches work through the senior year looking for those who don’t get into other institutions to materialize.

If you are one of those few athletes that are on Inside Lacrosse’s top prospects lists, then you will be contacted by numerous schools and asked to fill out information sheets and as the process goes along fill out entrance applications and  be invited to Junior Day at the school and to an “official visit” paid for by the Div I or II school.  Then after July 1 you will be called no more often than weekly with a note of some type from the coaching staff at least weekly, too. You can call them but they are restricted in how many times they can call you, visit you or have you on an “official visit” to campus. Of the 15,000+ college players playing and the 5,000 or so entering college as players each year, only about 300-500  will be actively recruited scholarship athletes.  Some Div III teams are great at this same scenario, but don’t offer scholarships.  So, the rest of you need to promote yourselves to be of interest to the school(s) of your choice.

Promotion Process – There are some principles in getting on a team, especially the team you want to be on;

·     barronsbestbuys10th.gifYou want to go to a place that wants you and that has the right academics, social and athletic situation for you. 

·    They want someone who will graduate, represent the school well while there and represent the school positively after they are gone.

·    Pick 10 schools that fit your academic, financial, location, social and athletic needs.  Faceoff Magazine helps a lot with the athletic part (along with www.laxpower,com for leagues, schedules and team records).  If you are a specialty player (especially goalie or faceoff) then check the roster on their web site to see when the current players are graduating. Barron’s Best Buys in Colleges Education helps with the academic and financial information.  But, the most important method is to talk it out with your parents and a knowledgeable friend as I get to do from time to time (using all these resources)

·     Write each school with a short athletic and academic resume, indicate your interest athletically and academically (start giving the coach something that he/she can use when lobbying with admissions) and ask;

  • What do you need from me to expand your interest in me being on your team?

  • Any questions you have about their program?

·    Be ready for the answer which will be those information sheets and draft college application AND game tape of your team against your toughest opponent. Serious coaches need to see you under pressure, not just your highlights.  They may come see you play but probably can’t talk to you on site in your junior year season, so if that is going to happen you have to peak their interest with your letter, correspondence, tape and visits.

·    If you get invited to Junior Day, then go.  It is a chance to check them out and their chance to romance you a little. But, if you are in a room with 50 athletes only 7-13 are going to be on that team at the end of fall ball freshman year -- keep gauging their enthusiasm and yours to be one of those few.

·    Plan to visit all 10 schools early in your junior year.  If you aren’t invited for an “official” recruiting visit, make an appointment with the head coach anyway.  Meet him and the captains.  You will learn from them because they are succeeding in the program.  Make a similar appointment with admissions.  And, make sure that you and your parents are talking to each other too.

·    There are a lot of good exposure tips that you have heard that also work, for example: 1) go to a recruiting camp such as Top 205, Champ Camp or New England 150; where your target coaches can see you, 2) go to your target schools’ lacrosse camps and get a feel for coaches, campus, players, etc. - they get a fell too.

Remember, if you don’t like what you see, where you are, who you are going to be with, move on.  But, if these things look positive, then keep asking and learning so you can make a good decision.  There is a place for you to play varsity or club, so start promoting yourself to those programs until you get the match you both want.  And, for you highly recruited athletes, keep your wits about you, talk out your options/feelings and make a good decision for yourselves.

Copyright Weston Lacrosse 6-2010