"We'll never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it." - Travis Rice
As promised, I will be writing blogs on how a lacrosse player can go about getting recruited for college and the steps that one must take to do so. When I first started thinking about writing on this subject matter, I started to get overwhelmed with how much I had to talk about. So, I want to do this in installments or lessons, with this being the first and probably most important one.
Just to be clear, I totally understand that many youth and high school lacrosse players have other things in their lives that they want to pursue and they do not care if they get recruited. There is obviously nothing wrong with that! For those players though, I still believe it is important for them to push themselves to reach their full potential in whatever they do, including lacrosse, as they will learn a lot about themselves in the process. So, this blog pertains to them as well!
Anyway, the first lesson on how to get recruited for college lacrosse is BE A GREAT LACROSSE PLAYER, ATHLETE, STUDENT AND PERSON! I know you were probably expecting better advice than just that, but it's really that simple (and that challenging). This is the combination of characteristics that most college coaches are looking for and let's be honest, they are the ones in the driver's seat. There are not that many colleges with NCAA programs and there are more and more good high school players from all over the country each year. So, it's a buyer's market, so to speak.
For this reason, parents come up to me all the time and ask me questions about how to help their son get recruited. They ask what recruiting service to use, what tournaments to go to, what teams to play for, what camps to attend, what their highlight videos should look (and sound) like, what their emails to coaches should consist of, if they should call coaches, what they should say to coaches and the list goes on and on.
Here's the bottom line : none of this matters at all unless you are a great lacrosse player. That is the characteristic that comes first in a coach's mind when looking for a recruit. If a coach sees a player that he thinks would be great for his program, he is most likely going to recruit him. It is that plain and simple. Obviously, this website and our Tier Lacrosse programs at DU (camps, clinics and teams) are all about helping you to become a great lacrosse player. There is a ton that goes into that and it is important to learn from as many different coaches and experienced players as possible. But, that's not even close to enough.
Speaking from my own experience, I realized at a very young age that I wanted to become a great lacrosse player. My two dreams were to win a national championship with my father at Princeton University and play for Team USA. I was fortunate enough to get to experience each of those dreams twice. But, it was not just luck that helped me realize those dreams. I made a commitment to the game from a very young age. I had my lacrosse stick in my hand every single day. I played 30 to 60 minutes of wall ball every day. I spent another 30 to 60 minutes shooting on a goal per day. My brother and I were always playing one on one in the backyard. I faked passes at my mother as she was making dinner (make sure it's with a tennis ball or you can get yourself in some trouble!). I tried to watch as much good lacrosse as possible by going to my father's team practices and games and getting my hands on as much game film as possible. I watched the best players and tried to emulate their style. I made lacrosse my life when I was young and I loved it!
Loving lacrosse is one of the most important aspects to all of this because there is no point in making yourself do something that you are not passionate about. This brings me back to the quote I started the blog with. Travis Rice is a professional snowboarder and that quote is from his new movie, "The Art Of Flight", which I saw last night and inspired me to write this blog. It reminded me that whatever we choose to do in life, we should push ourselves to be our best in that pursuit.
So, if you want to be a great lacrosse player, and you want to get recruited, that's awesome! Just remember that there are a lot of things out there in the recruiting process that you cannot control. The aspects you can control are to be the best player you can be, be the best athlete you can be, be the best student you can be and be the best person you can be. I am almost positive that anyone who pursues those four goals to the best of their abilities will find a home to play college lacrosse. Even if you don't get recruited, you will have learned more about yourself through this process than you could ever dream of now. As you push yourself in all these pursuits, you will find out what you are capable of and how you can realize your full potential in whatever you want to do.
That is the greatest gift lacrosse has given me, and I hope it does for you as well. But, it's up to you to find out for yourself. ;-)
In the next week or so, I will continue to write blogs about being a great athlete, student and person, which are just as important in coach's eyes as being a great player.