This is what I want to do for every 2021 and their families today. A lot of kids are creating so much anxiety around tomorrow and what it means about their future. Tomorrow is simply the beginning of the journey, and there’s no telling where it will lead.
Although my September 1st was a long time ago, I can tell you that I had 8 Division I schools reach out to me. I went to visit 4 of those, and only 2 ended up in my final five of consideration. After September 1st, through my play at camps and tournaments, this number of DI schools increased by 10-15.
I’ve seen and heard coaches tell kids they want them continuously throughout the process, only to drop them at the end, simply dragging them through the process. I’ve also seen schools come out of nowhere later on, as was the case for me. September 1st is not a make or break in your process. Keeping a level head about it is the best thing you can do.
Here are some tips and points to address that might help as you navigate the calls…
If you’re nervous, break the ice with some easy questions for the coach to answer. How was their summer, did they go on any vacations, how is fall ball going, what playdays will they be attending, etc.
Express gratitude for interest and reaching out.
Lacrosse Logistics - roster spots for grad year and positions, and at what position they see you falling into (for field players). What qualities they are looking for when they watch someone at this position.
Academic Logistics - SAT/ACT/GPA norms. Common majors of the players (this will allow you to figure out if coach is flexible with academic requirements, for ex if interested in medical), and what athletic academic support looks like (good thing to know if they’re invested in support staff because it’s amazing to have someone that understands both aspects to help you - really helpful for me throughout my college years).
Next steps in process - opportunities for future visits/camps/clinics, tournaments they’ll be attending this fall, and if they’ve seen you play, areas you could work on heading into the fall tournaments (this will let you know how closely they’ve been paying attention and also good to know).
Generally, keep it short, as I mentioned, this is an INTRO to the process, and they will be making a lot of calls. You don’t have to address all of these points, but they will give you a solid overview of what they’re looking for. Another good way to leave a good impression might be to bring this up at the end and ask if they had a run test and if they could tell you what it is so you could implement it in your training to further prepare yourself for the season and beyond. Also, remember they want to get to know YOU, not the person you think they want to know - just be yourself!
The best piece of advice I can tell you on this journey is to be guarded, but also to be open to possibilities and opportunities. I remember receiving emails and shutting down the idea of attending schools because of what my preconceived notions were about my ability to fit there, the geographic area, their sports teams, etc. Even with Stanford, when I received their email I was hesitant. It wasn’t until the process continued and I got on the campus that I fell in love and made it my mission to make it there. Two visits to campus, endless tournament play, 3 SAT re-takes and plenty of time in tutoring, studying, playing, and I did it. Schools dropped me along the way, not being able to wait, and I followed my vision. Things could have very well not worked out for me, and I had friends that put their eggs in one basket only for it not to work out for them. You know what happened? They found a new home and loved their experience. If you are determined to play at the next level, are open to possibilities, and keep a positive mindset you’ll find your home too. It can be very overwhelming if you let it, but it is so very exciting and will provide so much growth and opportunity for all involved. Drop your shoulders, take a deep breath or two, and enjoy the journey!