Making the Most of Showcases and Prospect Days

September 1st has come and gone and we are now into October and November, the months of prospect days and showcases. So what does a player do? How can you catch the eye of a college coach? How do you make yourself stand out among the many players? Here are some simple yet necessary steps.

 

1.    Focus on what you can control- Effort, attitude, sportsmanship, and having fun.

a)   Everyone plays better when they are having fun.

b)   You can’t control if people pass you the ball, but you can control you effort: hustle after every fifty-fifty ball, be the good teammate who makes the right pass, congratulate your teammates and opponents for a great play or effort, and be positive.

2.    Be present: arrive in plenty of time to get yourself used to your surroundings. Be prepared to warm up and stretch on your own (ask at arrival if the group does a stretch/warm-up or if you need to do it yourself) and introduce yourself to some other players to warm up with.

3.    Use your time at the prospect day (or camp/clinic) to demonstrate how “coachable” you are. Try doing things the way the coach has explained, not just the way you always do it. Ask questions to show you are engaged. Be willing to fail and learn from your mistakes.

4.    Thank your coaches after each station and at the end of day. Write a real thank you note, not just an email, if you really want to stand out from the crowd. Emails are easy, coaches get tons each day, so why not be different?

5.    Showcases: Again, focus on what you can control! Play fast and play hard. Don’t rest on the field, you need to go 100% every minute you are on the field, off-ball, on-ball, and with the ball – always be moving at 100%. Shifts at tournaments can be short (as little as 3 minutes), so make the most of it. In your three minute shift you may not see the ball... what are you doing to make yourself stand out? Are you encouraging teammates? Are you picking up your teammates after giving up a goal? Are you congratulating your teammates after your team scores a goal? Don’t forget sideline behavior... the coaches are watching this as well.

6.    How else can you stand out? Be sure to write to coaches well in advance of an event. Like you, they need time to plan. Two days before an event is not helpful for them to schedule a time to watch you. Include your club team, uniform number (if you have a picture in your uniform include it), schedule and any identifying characteristics, like “I play with green shoelaces,” or “pink cleats.”

7.     Remind your parents that they are part of your recruiting process, and the coaches observe their behavior too. College coaches don’t want to recruit players if they think their parents will be a negative presence on the sidelines.

8.    Have fun and enjoy the time spent with your parents and friends. The recruiting window is really small, but the relationships you make while going through the process last a lifetime.

9.    Keep in mind that no one graduates with a degree in lacrosse, but lacrosse can be a significant part of your college experience. If you find the right academic fit, you will set yourself up for success, on and off the field.

Getting the Bang for the Buck

How can parents and players be sure they are spending wisely when it comes to lacrosse recruiting tournaments? So many emails! So many choices! How do I know what to do for my player?

I hear these statements and questions daily as a club director. It is very confusing at times, so here’s some advice to help you navigate the current landscape of club lacrosse as it relates to the recruiting process so you can consider all the factors and make the best decisions for your family.

1.     You need to do your homework. Explore schools, and visit schools so you know what you might like and might not like about schools. If the schools are far away, consider taking a virtual tour.

2.     Talk to the coaches and your club director about your level of play and what schools may be appropriate for you in terms of your academics and lacrosse.

3.     With the new NCAA Division I recruiting rules that push the initial date of communication between DI coaches and prospects and their families back to September 1 of the junior year, players will now have a great opportunity to take their time finding the right fit for academics and lacrosse.

4.     Tournaments – you must go where the coaches are! You cannot be seen if the coaches are not there. We choose our events based on our experience of where the coaches will be during the summer and fall recruiting season.

5.     Write to them early! Coaches are unlikely to “discover you” on their own. Just like you want to be loved by the coaches at the school you choose, they want players who want to be at their schools.

6.     Recruiting happens during a very short window of time, so invest wisely. Choose a club that focuses on teaching the game and the skills needed, as well as helping you find the right academic match. No one graduates with a degree in lacrosse!

7.     Be prepared for camps, tournaments and clinics. Be mentally ready, emotionally ready, and physically ready to perform your best.

8.     Be a great teammate, be engaged on the sidelines, be respectful of the other team (coaches notice this!), and enjoy this special time with your lacrosse family because it is gone before you know it. Have fun.

9.     Stay engaged with the top schools on your list, plan a second visit, continue to email the coaches, attend camps and clinics at the school, and let them know how you feel about the school and where you are in your recruiting process.

10. Do not take rejection personally. There is a place for every player and student athlete. We all will have different paths to our special place… but you will find it. Stay positive.

Still not sure what events to attend or how to manage your process? Do not hesitate to ask your coaches for advice! That is what the Dodgers staff is here for: to help you along this journey!

Advice From Coach Colleen

Dodgers is thrilled to welcome Colleen Olson to our coaching staff. Here are 3 Things Colleen encourages athletes to keep top of mind:

1) What you put into your passion is what you will get out of it. If you are passionate about lacrosse and want to be the best player you can be, you've got to be fired up to put in the work it will take off the field to get there, whether that's on the wall with stickwork, doing extra footwork drills on the ladder, or running some extra 100's after practice.

2) Be present. Soak in every moment you have with your teammates and coaches. Playing on a team like Dodgers is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, when you get to work really, really hard at something with people you care about, while playing a game you all love.

3) Always think about what you are giving to your teammates. Some days, your shots may not be falling. You might be injured and on the sidelines. But there is always a way to give 100% of your energy to your team, whether it's cheering and celebrating their successes, directing younger players with confidence, making the pass that sets up a goal, or fighting to get a ground ball back after you've made a mistake and turned it over.

Parent Perspective: 5 Things on Recruiting I Wish We Knew Early

By Scott Burnett, parent of Briana Burnett who recently signed with Army

1. I wish we had known how vitally important grades were starting freshman year of high school. It's so much easier to start at a high GPA and maintain it versus letting it slip and trying to bring it back up. Encourage your kid(s) to stay on top of classes, homework and other assignments.

2. Since recruiting is happening earlier and earlier now, I wish we knew how helpful and insightful early ACT and SAT scores were throughout the recruiting process. It's never too early to start taking the tests (even just for practice or experience). Good scores can truly impact recruiting efforts because they are tangible numbers coaches can assess to determine if you are worth of their additional time. Have strong scores by your rising junior summer; the most important recruiting summer.

3. I wish we had known about the Dodgers program sooner.  It changed our daughter's life, and she ended up committing to play lacrosse at her first college choice.

4. Trusting Dee and the Dodgers staff is something I wish did earlier. It won't take long to see and understand that Dee's focus is to place your kid at the right school, not just anywhere. I remember our first summer tournament with Dodgers when Dee mentioned a couple of schools that expressed interest in our daughter. She immediately started to guide us by offering perspective on some of the schools, understanding what kind of fit our daughter would have with various teams/programs/coaches. It was like Dee gave us 100% great news before taking back 75% of it. We now realize she truly had our daughter's best interest at heart, which has been worth so much more than the initial great news she gave us.

5. Most importantly, I wish I knew how fast this recruiting thing can happen and wished I had opened my eyes and heart a little more along the journey. We were so consumed with showing well and trying to make lasting lacrosse impressions, I sometimes forgot this is a game my daughter loves and it was her choice to try to pursue it in college.  Looking back, we visited some of the most beautiful parts of the Northeast that we had never seen before and met some of the nicest people, especially those of the extended Dodgers family. I'll always be thankful for the process with Dee and my daughter.  

College recruiting happens once in your daughter's life.  Make it memorable! 

ONE COACH’S CHALLENGE

It all happened so quickly. And just like that, Dodgers Coach Sydney Satchell was an amputee. But what makes Satchell different from most that face the physical, mental, and emotional challenges that come with this type of diagnosis, is the positivity she displayed in the face of adversity. Despite five surgeries before her leg was even amputated, and the extensive rehabilitation process afterwards, Satchell maintained her fighting spirit.