The recruiting process has changed dramatically over the last ten years. Use the chart below to guide you on the path to your dream school.
1. Everything starts with a highlight tape
There are not enough coaches to see all the athletes playing lacrosse these days. A highlight tape on YouTube gives you a chance to showcase your abilities to a college coach who hasn't seen you play yet or update a school on your progress since the last time they evaluated your skills. Having a current highlight tape convinces a coach to see you play in person at the next event.
2. In person evaluation at a tournament or camp
Coaches don't show up to tournaments or showcases hoping to get lucky. They arrive with a list of players who have already reached out to them expressing interest. A player who has a great in person evaluation from an assistant coach will remain on their list. A player who doesn't stand out by remain on the list or be removed. A player who isn't good enough for the school will be removed from the list. Depending upon the strength of the program, a player may be invited to attend a prospect day to compete against other prospective recruits. Or, a player may simply be invited to campus for a tour and to meet the current players.
3. High tier programs will want you to attend their prospect day
Prospect days give coaches a chance to evaluate your skills against other student athletes who are interested in the school. Unlike a club tournament, all coaches will be present to grade out the athletes. Prospect days give you the rare opportunity to prove yourself to the entire coaching staff.
Keep in mind that even if you perform really well, there may be another prospect day later in the year. This means that you may have to wait for an offer or you may not get one at all.
*Not all schools will require you to attend a prospect day. Some schools don't even have them. But, you can expect all D1s and upper echelon D2/D3 to have at least one prospect day.
What does all this mean?
You need to have a current highlight tape from the most recent season, spring school or summer club.
You need to be proactive about contacting coaches in advance of tournaments and showcase camps.
You may need to set aside extra funds for a prospect day. At the very least, have some travel funds set aside to visit that campus. You're going to want to know if you would like living there.
If you spend more time training than haphazardly going from showcase camp to showcase camp or playing for multiple club teams, you'll be ready to take advantage of the moment when you are evaluated by a coach and school that excites you.