According to the NCAA, there are 351 Division I schools, and about 176,000 student athletes compete at this level. When you dig deeper, there are only 3471 athletes competing at the NCAA's Division I women's lacrosse programs. And for many of our California athletes, most of these schools are located in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Since 2017, NCAA instituted a rule that coaches cannot start contacting student-athletes before September 1st of junior year. This is an exciting week for those athletes preparing to narrow down their school selection.
On August 24, 2021, the IWLCA (Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association) held a Recruiting Roundtable that featured some of the top DI coaches - Amy Bokker (Ohio State), Jill Batcheller (Villanova), Lindsay Teeters (American), Kristen Skiera (VA Tech), Kerstin Kimel (Duke), and Jenny Graap (Cornell) - and they gave great advice for those student-athletes serious about starting their DI college admission journey.
There was so many good nuggets of advice, so we will break down a few of the most important points:
If you don't get called at 8 am on September 1st - BREATH!
This is just the first day the programs can start reaching out. There will be more opportunities to showcase your skills. Expect your own process and do not compare to your friends or team mates. Kristen Skiera quoted, "Comparison is the thief of joy." So enJOY the process; sports are supposed to be fun.
Do your homework
The easiest thing to do is to take a virtual tour of each school you're interested in. You can also go on Youtube and watch college games and ask yourself, "what is the style of the team, does it look like you could play with them, are you ready for that level of play?". And as any good Triad Athlete, "know your why." Coaches WILL ask you what you want. You have to be prepared to answer this question.
Additionally, work with your club or high school coaches and get their feedback. You must understand what is realistic for you as a player.
It's not always the BEST player, but the RIGHT player
Just like in the movie, "Miracle," the coaches are looking for the right fit, not necessarily the best players. Amy Bokker wanted the group to be reminded that finding the right players was essential and sometimes if you are not chosen, it's not a reflection on the athlete. They are building a 6 year relationship with some of the athletes and they need to make sure their investment is the right one.
Social Media Presence is important
The Triad leadership team thinks this one is extremely important, which is why we offer this service to our Annual Pass holders. The coaching staff WILL look at your social media presence - all of it. It's VERY important that you showcase yourself in a way that doesn't have a negative impact. There have been athletes that have lost scholarship opportunities based on their social media.
Colleges don't just recruit the kids, but the entire family. College coaches know that it's not just the athletes decision on where they decide to go to college. There are other factors that contribute - location, other siblings, financial aid. The coaches at the Roundtable encouraged families to also do their homework and to be transparent about the decision making process. Even though good coaches should always invite the entire family to campus visits, parents should make sure their daughter is able to showcase herself and to let her shine.
Coaches can't see everyone - so go to the prospect days and college-sponsored clinics. Especially if they have them on campus. The prospect days and clinics are almost priceless interactions with the teams in which you are interested.
This blog is primarily focused on the Sept 1st date that applies to DI student-athletes but is applicable to all DII, DIII and club athletes. Putting your best foot forward and setting expectations is a key step into college athletic preparation.
If you would like more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to https://www.iwlca.org/ to get more information.
Triad Athletes is a San Diego youth lacrosse training program focused on growing womens lacrosse on the west coast.