A couple things to remember for the next round of tryouts.
The club wins tournaments.
Tournament victories are relatively meaningless. It would be easy for any club to enter lower divisions in bottom of the barrel tournaments and then have success. There are so many poorly coached club teams across the country each loaded with entitled and very average players. To string together five wins to claim a tournament title is not asking a lot.
College coaches typically watch half of a game then race to the next field. They rarely have any idea what the score of the game is nor do they care. They are looking at one or two players at most per game. They aren’t trying to recruit the whole team.
Your high school coach is the club director or coaches for the club team and you think it will get you into his good graces.
High school coaches, especially if they aren’t teachers in the school district, don’t stick around very long. A 2004 graduating class at a Pittsburgh high school team had four different varsity coaches. Turnover among high school coaches is very high due to helicopter parents, hours required, low stipends, and increasing health and child safety certifications.
If you feel pressured by your high school coach to play for his club team, you need to remember that the decision is up to you. Should you play for your coaches club team and you have a bad experience in the off season and then don’t get the varsity time you were hoping, remember you made the choice to play for his club.
The club practices near your home.
There are hidden costs associated with club ball. Those hidden costs include hotels at tournaments, travel to tournaments and travel to practice. If you’re automatically crossing clubs off your list because they practice thirty minutes away, you may also be crossing off clubs with better coaching, better tournaments, and better recruiting support. If you’re counting on a club to help you get better as a player and help navigate the recruiting process, you will have to be willing to make sacrifices that may include longer travel time for practice.
The club is inexpensive.
What are they offering and what are your hopes and dreams for your lacrosse career? A club that practices 100 hours over the course of the year is going to cost more than a club that practices six times. A club that enters certain recruiting tournaments that charge per player is going to cost more than a club that enters massive U18-U9 tournaments held at public parks. Make sure your intentions are aligned with what the club is offering. That might mean spending more than you thought. It may mean spending less than you thought. Someone is always going to be willing to offer a product for less. Now, of course, if your intention to play summer club is strictly to hang out with the bros, then the least expensive club is your best bet.
You want to get recruited.
Clubs offer the opportunity to be seen. They cannot guarantee who will see you, when they will see you, and whether or not that coach will like you. If you expect your club association will automatically open doors without you doing any work on your own, you’re kidding yourself and flushing potentially thousands of dollars down the drain.
Still want to join a club team? Pick one that will challenge you during training, hold you accountable during games, and offer consistent college recruiting guidance regardless of talent level. Not good enough to make that club team in your area? Nothing wrong with using club team dues on several camps.