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How to Make the Most of Showcases and Prospect Days

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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.    Be Coachable

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

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 to Stand Apart

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.     Your Parents Represent you

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

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.    College Mentality

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.

 

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

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

1. Importance of Grades

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. Score Big This Time of Year

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 their additional time. Have strong scores by your rising junior summer; the most important recruiting summer.


3. Take Advantage of Mentorship

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.

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. Stepping Stone to College

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!