The summer has become one of the most important recruiting periods for players who hope to play college lacrosse. Whether you are attending a school-specific prospect day, a 500-player showcase or Trilogy’s own Academic Aces, it is crucial that you present yourself well and play your best. Utilizing the 5 tips below may not guarantee you’ll have top D1 school knocking on your door, but they will ensure that you stand out from the crowd:
1. Go Hard. All the Time.
There is nothing I hate more than hearing a player call another guy a “go hard” in a negative sense. College coaches want players who go hard. On every loose ball. Every time they are riding. When they make a mistake. In the classroom. They want the guy who is going to battle no matter whether they are up 10 or down by 5. If you want to be too cool for school, chances are, you will be. Go hard on every play, even when you feel like nobody is watching, because they probably are.
2. Take Instruction – and USE it.
At certain events (including the Aces), you’ll have the opportunity to be coached by real college coaches. Take that occasion to learn from them. When they suggest something, look them in the eye, make sure you understand the point they are trying to make (ask if you don’t!), and apply it next time you have the chance to do so. Being “coachable” is high on the priority list for college coaches. It is also one of the things that allows the best players to become truly great.
3. Treat everyone with respect
Whether it is the person running check-in, the referees or the cafeteria employees, how you interact with those helping you off the field will say a lot about the kind of teammate you’ll be on it. College lacrosse requires coaches to put their trust in 40+ young men – knowing that they have polite, respectful, honest team members goes a long way in allowing them to sleep at night. Plus, you never know when it is the wife of that very coach you are trying to impress who is working the check-in table!
4. Don’t get down on your teammates or yourself.
You are going to make mistakes. It happens in sports and it happens in life. The thing that coaches want to know when watching you is, how you will handle that adversity? Will you drop your head and sulk back to the bench? Or will you try to make up for it right away or on the next play. And if it isn’t you who made the mistake, how will you react? I can’t tell you how many coaches have mentioned how quickly they write off the “palms up” guy. If you make a mistake, learn from it and do your best to make up for it. If a teammate makes a mistake, pick him up and be a good teammate (see below).
5. Be a team-player
This can often be the hardest part of individual recruiting events. You want to be seen, so you need to make plays. But you also don’t want to be a ball-hog. How can you balance the two? First, do what you do well. If you are a feeder, dodge to feed. If you are a shut-down defensemen, match up with the best guy possible and do your thing. Second, celebrate your teammates successes and help to put them in those positions. By being supportive of your teammates, and really honing in on what YOU do best, you can showcase your own skills without compromising your dedication to the team.
In short, college coaches want to win on and off the field. To do that, they need their teams to be filled with guys they can count on to play hard, to represent the program well and who are willing to work with each other in times of adversity to overcome obstacles. Be that guy, combine it with lacrosse skill, and you will have a leg up on the competition this summer!