The recruiting period is now one for the books, giving high school players the opportunity to take visits over the next few weeks as the first semester winds down.
Peter Tumbas, who has coached high school and MCLA ball extensively, also has a popular blog and a rather informative, hilarious and opinionated Twitter account @4OneTwoLax that is a great follow for anyone in the game.
This morning, he put out perhaps his best piece yet with 1,500 words of recruiting tips. Here are a few that stuck out to me, so I chimed in below each point. Read over a dozen more of Peter’s points here.
1. Be proactive. You have to show that you are interested in the school. An email once before the summer starts isn’t going to cut it. There are too many kids playing and not that many spots at the next level for you to sit around and pray. Daily contact would annoy anyone. Once a week says I’m interested in being a future student athlete at your school.
RR: Recruiting is a two-way street. No college prospect should assume that just because they’re talented, attending the right events or producing highlight reels, that colleges are aware of interest (or that any of those things count as being proactive). Be assertive, but not too assertive or annoying – don’t be timid.
2. Be smart on social media. Even if your account is private. Don’t scare a coach away because you tweeted something inappropriate in an effort to be cool for your high school friends. College coaches love mentioning how tough they are about cutting kids off their list for social media mischief.
RR: This goes back to common sense. Don’t think that a college coach won’t see something because he doesn’t follow you. Or as 412 points out, because your account is private… or because you deleted the tweet soon after posting it. Screenshots are forever, and remarkably easy to pass on.
3. At this point, you’re probably not serious about playing college lacrosse if you don’t have footage of your play (game action or highlight tape) online. When you make your highlight video, put your best highlights up front. If you’re paying a local videographer to make your highlight tape be sure he understands what you want. Don’t let him decide how he wants to make your highlight video especially if he doesn’t have a lacrosse background. College coaches don’t have time to watch a full video so if your average plays begin the video they may be tempted to close the link. Be sure that video is mobile friendly so coaches can watch it while stuck at an airport or in the passenger seat of a car. Do not use inappropriate music.
RR: It’s astonishing how many players (both uncommitted or committed) simply don’t have highlight reels. Maybe I’m being selfish for rankings purposes here, but it’s great for every kid to make a highlight video once or twice a year despite the commitment status to show what kind of progress is being made. Coaches want to see it, media members want to see it and perhaps most of all, other players want to see it.
Peter makes a lot of great points, but here’s another big one: include an intro in the video before the game footage begins. Include things like stats, accomplishments, height/weight, planned events and if you’re uncommitted, contact info for you and your coaches. Make it easy on us!
4. Choose a school as if lacrosse wasn’t available to you. Would you still want to go to that school if they didn’t offer lacrosse? Would you still want to go to that school if you got hurt and could never play again? If you’ve never heard of the school before they contacted you regarding lacrosse, is it a good fit for you? Lacrosse is only four years of your life but the degree will follow you forever.
RR: Well, I really can’t stress this enough. If not for parents’ guidance, I’m not sure many early commits would take any of this into consideration. Transfers are becoming more and more prevalent and though I won’t make the crazy assumption that they all chose schools only for lacrosse, it frequently plays a role. Some kids quit the team and stay at the school then some quit the team and transfer elsewhere to be a student rather than a student-athlete. I’m not going to name names, but there are plenty of schools that kids choose without fully considering the other factors of an institution. Take your time with a decision and think it all through.
5. Visit as many campuses as possible. Even if you aren’t 100% sure you want to apply, visiting a campus is an important information gathering opportunity. Every school is going to look a four star resort on their website. Campuses look a little different in February. While no one is selecting a college based on how beautiful the campus is, you have to live there for four years.
RR: This is another tip I’m a big advocate of. Don’t commit after your first visit, even if it’s the so-called perfect fit. If you’ve narrowed it down to a top three before visits, wait to check out all three. I’ve started to hear about a few club programs who even require a minimum amount of visits to ensure that their players’ do their proper homework. Parents, I fully realize that these visits are costly – especially if you’re not on the East Coast and have to fly everywhere – but come on, see as many places as you can.
6. Consider playing time. Are you willing to sit the bench for a couple years or do you need to play right away? There is a huge talent gap between high school and college lacrosse. You will no longer be the biggest, fastest, strongest athlete on the roster. Not only are there older players at your position, but you may not be the best player at your position in your recruiting class. Understand that it may take a couple of years to adjust to the new level of play. Are you going to be happy going to practice everyday knowing your playing time is still a few years away? If you aren’t playing, will that affect your school work?
RR: When you commit as a freshman, it’s hard to project depth charts and playing time. Look at the recruiting classes in front of you…. and read the point below.
7. Use LaxPower’s recruiting database and the myriad of lacrosse recruiting media outlets to track developments in your recruiting class. If a school already has a goalie or face off guy, you may have to move on. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad player, it just means they went in a different direction. Perhaps they saw that athlete more times in person.
RR: There are a lot of schools that load up in their recruiting classes, taking too many at one position year after year with All-Americans eventually sitting on the bench. I’m sorry that I can’t totally avoid corniness here, but go somewhere where you can shine and where your talents aren’t wasted playing a critical role on the scout team rather than a critical role on gameday.
8. Not every lacrosse program is going to be interested in your services. You’re not going to be interested in every program that reaches out to you. Never forget that you get to decide where you want to live for the next four years. You have all the power. Don’t let a coach pressure you into making a decision sooner. If they really want you, they will wait.
RR: If a coach pressures you to commit, you shouldn’t go to that school. There’s a head coach giving deadlines to recruits before he moves onto the next kid, and he’s still gobbling up a lot of talent (and a great guy), but it’s a big decision and time should be taken when commitments are being made at such a young age.