I get this question all the time. Prospects want to know what college coaches are looking for. And if you ask 20 college coaches for the answer, chances are you will get 20 DIFFERENT answers. Of course they will all mention they are looking for good athletes, with solid fundamental lacrosse skills, who understand the game, and have great academic backgrounds. But that’s pretty much common sense, right? Of course they are looking for that!
It’s probably easier to understand what they aren’t looking for. I spent a couple hours last night walking around the facilities at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex during the IWLCA President’s Cup, and I was a collegiate coach for 20 years. Based on what I’ve heard on the sidelines, I can tell you this is what college coaches DON’T want to see when they are watching you play:
- Don’t be selfish. Coaches aren’t looking for that player that never passes the ball to an open teammate. They especially don’t want the player who doesn’t make the pass and then loses the ball, putting her team back on defense. It doesn’t matter if your teammate doesn’t score when you pass it to her in the middle of the 8m – they will see that you made the right pas and they will know you are a team player.
- Don’t be a poor sport. Coaches don’t want to see you throw a temper tantrum after you lose the ball or get beat on defense. Don’t disrespect your opponents or the officials. Control your emotions and your body language. Honor the game by playing hard but fair. Banging your stick on the ground or mouthing off to the ref isn’t going to get you recruited. Don’t be that kid.
- Don’t be a bad teammate. Coaches care deeply about the culture of their team and most consider the team a big family. If you’re the player who yells at their teammates when they make a mistake, or don’t support them when they need it, you’re being a bad teammate. Be the player who encourages her teammates, who picks them up when they’re down, and who gives them the confidence they need to play their best. That’s being a great teammate and there isn’t a coach in the country who doesn’t want that kind of player on their team.
- Don’t be lazy. “That kid is the laziest one on the field, I think I’ll offer her a scholarship,” said no coach EVER. Coaches love a hard worker. Effort and hustle make good players great. Think about it – if you can’t even work hard when you see a sideline full of coaches evaluating you at a tournament, will you ever work hard for them when you’re on their team?
There are 259 teams at President’s Cup this year. Every single one of them has good student-athletes that want to be recruited on the roster. What are you going to do to stand out and make a coach notice you? Be unselfish, demonstrate sportsmanship, support your teammates, and work your butt off to show the coaches that you are exactly the type of player they are looking for.
And a note to the parents: You don’t get a free pass because coaches watch you too. When you are cheering in support of your daughter and her teammates, they notice. When you are screaming like a lunatic at the officials or making derogatory comments about the teenagers you are watching, they notice that too. Many names get crossed off a recruiting list because coaches aren’t willing to recruit a great kid that comes with crazy parents. So make sure the coaches consider you a positive factor when they are evaluating your daughter.
Have a great weekend!