You have made up your mind. You want to play lacrosse in college. Great! Now what? Where do I begin? Can I even play in college? Is it too late for me? All excellent questions I hope to answer for you. First, lets begin with a little history.
My son at an early age fell in love with the sport of lacrosse. He started playing in 3rd grade and never looked back. As soon as it was warm enough to play (we are in Massachusetts) he was out there playing. He did play other sports, basketball and soccer, but lacrosse was definitely his favorite. When High School started the dream of playing in college was born. The journey of getting recruited to play started for real in his sophomore year and ended with in the Fall of his senior year with an offer to play at four different Division 3 schools where he chose to play at Hendrix College.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”-Lao Tzu
O.K you want to play in lacrosse in college, but you are not sure you are good enough to play at the next level. If you read all the blogs and stats about playing sport in college you would think you stand little or no chance. That feeling is enforced when you hear about 8th graders being recruited at the best D1 schools. My advice to you is to tune that stuff out. Don’t worry about it and focus on you and your goals. If you are not sure what level you can play there is an unscientific way of telling where you may fit in.
Figure Out What Division You Can Play In
To see what the Division (1,2,3) you may fit in at simply go to the roster page of a high level D1 program and search the biography of the players that are on the current team. Start with the Freshman first as they were the most recent players to be recruited for that program. Now look at the players on the team that play your position. Do they all have All-American or All-Star or All-Everything next to their name? Did they break State or High School records? Where they the captain of their High School team? Did they play multiple sports? All this info is on their bio on the roster page. Dig a little deeper and Google the kids and you will find their Highlight film. Now, be honest with yourself here, do you match up? Do you have the “All” in front of your name? If you were to write your bio would it match the players on this team? If no, then maybe (just maybe) D1 is not the best fit.
Another test of where you may fit is to ask yourself (again be honest) did I make my High School Varsity team as a Sophomore? Do you start every game? (Leave the “coach hates me that is why I don’t start” excuse at the door) Are you the captain of the team? Is my High School team any good? Are you the best player on the worst team or are you the best player on a championship team? If the answer is no to 3 out of 5 of these questions, then maybe (just maybe) D1 is not the place for you.
The tough reality is if you have not heard anything from any D1 coach during or after your sophomore year (yes, I know the NCAA rules on recruiting, but coaches reaching out through 3rd party channels happens) then the D1 dream may be slipping away.
It is important to understand where you fit in the lacrosse universe, so you don’t end up barking up the wrong tree and get frustrated. College coaches try not to be dream killers so they will not flat out tell you that you cannot play they simply don’t say anything which can be worse. Mom and Dad love you so their judgement cannot be trusted.
Choose the College First
Now that you understand what Division you can probably play in it is time to choose the school. This step is the MOST IMPORTANT step in the entire process. It is critical that you go to the college that fits you. At the end of the day you are going to college to get an education not to just play lacrosse. Find the school that, if lacrosse did not work out, you would be more than OK with that. Make sure your grades are awesome. Every coach you talk to will ask you the same questions in this exact order.”What are your grades?” then “What do you want to Major in?” If you have crappy grades they are not going to bother with you. Grades count! If your GPA is strong, great, keep going. If your GPA is not so hot, pull them up now. Colleges and coaches love to see progress. It shows that you are committed to school and are trying to do better. Whatever you do, do not lie to the coach about your grades, they will eventually find out. Coaches if they are interested in you, will ask for your transcripts.