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Coach Interaction: 10 Tips for Making a Strong Impression
1. Be Organized — Write down your goals for the recruiting process and what you are looking for in a school and lacrosse program. Then create a concrete plan to execute on and start contacting college coaches — Do not feel hesitant or uncomfortable initiating contact with coaches, whose staff has limited time and resources to find you; if you believe you can contribute to their team, by all means reach out and get the dialog started
2. Be Yourself — Be direct about your academic record and financial situation as admissibility and affordability are key factors in the recruiting process; discuss this with your family and have an honest appraisal for the coaches you speak with
3. Be Proactive — The combination of the early recruiting schedule and NCAA rules preventing coaches from contacting you as an underclassman make it paramount that you initiate contact with coaches at the schools you are interested in — The first step is reaching out to coaches with your online recruiting profile, featuring your edited, highlight video, which most coaches favor over receiving DVD’s in the mail § Most videos are screened by assistant coaches before reaching the head coach, who will then review your tournament schedule to find an event to evaluate you in-person; be sure your highlight video has clear and well-edited footage so the assistant coach can pass it up the ladder
4. Be Articulate — Every time you speak with a coach, consider it an interview. Coaches want to know you’re a good listener and comprehend what they are saying; communication is key on the field and thus coaches want to assess your verbal skills
5. Be Prepared — The best way to be articulate is to be prepared. You should be your best cheerleader and the most honest critic of your game, as coaches will want to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Have an answer ConnectLAX Recruiting Handbook 29 for how you are improving on your weaknesses. Be confident but not conceited — Be thoughtful, demonstrate excitement to be there and vocalize any questions or concerns you may have — Have a prepared list of questions for the coach that will help you decide if the school is the right fit for you; ask questions about academics and don’t be afraid to ask what happens when classes conflict with team practices — Know why you are interested in the program and why you are good fit
6. Be Thorough — Put time and thought into creating your list of target schools. Get input from various sources including your current coaches, older or former teammates and your family. Keep an open mind, stay informed and be straightforward about what you are looking for in a school and program, this will give you more confidence and control through the recruiting process § Don’t just reach out to coaches indiscriminately to get your name out there, do your homework and contact schools that match your criteria § Ensure you have enough schools on your list to compensate for coaching changes at target schools that can result in a suspension or end of their recruitment of you
7. Be Presentable — In short, dress in business casual and look sharp for any on-campus meetings with a coach. You can expect the coaching staff to be in business casual, which demonstrates their seriousness about the program. Most team functions are business casual and coaches want to be confident that you would be able to represent the school well
8. Be Personable — Make an effort to get to know the coaches you are speaking with and let the coaches know who you are; be prepared to talk about your family, hobbies, music, etc. and try not to be robotic or stiff in your meetings
9. Be Engaged — Ask questions about the information the coach is telling you; provide the coach with any updates about your athletic and academic progress 30 and convey your level of interest in the program when closing the meeting — Maintain eye contact and sit upright through the entire meeting, this expresses your interest in the program and leaves a positive impression — Feel free to take notes during the meeting on the pros and cons of your conversation
10. Be Confident — A firm handshake is an easy first step in making a strong impression; coaches want confident players so look the coach in the eye while shaking their hand
Additional questions to prepare for (not mentioned above):
— What other schools are recruiting you? Be honest but end by conveying your strong interest in that program
— How are your grades and test scores? What type of classes are you taking? Be direct as coaches will need to find out anyway, try to get guidance on specific numbers you need to hit to gain admission
— Do you view yourself as a leader? Hopefully the answer is “Yes”; have examples and if this is an area for improvement, tell the coaches what you are actively doing to improve
— How important is playing time to you? Convey you are both hungry and also a team player, it’s an obvious question so focus on presenting yourself in the right way
— Do you have a workout routine? Discuss your work in and out of season. Coaches are looking for speed and athletic ability and want to hear that you are lifting, running and training on your own, such as working with a speed ladder.
Mention any private coaching you receive and clinics, camps and leagues you participate in
Expect every conversation to end with “What questions to you have for me?” Have a non-generic list prepared and ask questions on any of the notes you’ve written down, this conveys to the coach that you are serious about your interest in the program.