Tyler is a four-year D3 player who had the opportunity to be coached by a 4X All American and former US World Team coach. Joining the team as a reserve midfielder, Tyler worked his way to becoming a starter. Throughout his hard work, patience, and dedication, Tyler was able to find success through constantly refining his skills and surrounding himself with the best coaches and players he could. He has a strong instructional background coaching at camps for Denison and the University of Virginia. Tyler has also coached his own summer team for his local high school. Check out what he has to say about his own experience and his advice for current athletes going through the process.
Where did you play college lacrosse and why did you choose that program?
I played at Denison, a D3 level-top ranked school. There are three main reasons why I chose this program. First, and the most important reason, was the coach. I had done my research he was a four-time All-American, and I wanted to go somewhere where I would not only get a chance to play, but also where I could continue learning to be a better player and increase my lax IQ. The second was Denison’s reputation; they were a good team and I wanted to be on a team that was a solid competitor. Lastly, I was interested in their roster makeup. I didn’t want to play for a team that was heavily compiled with NY or Maryland kids; Denison pulled up a couple of VA, CA, and Midwest recruits. The dynamic on the field was diverse with different playing styles.
What other colleges did you consider and what was the determining factor in your decision?
The top three other schools I considered were Bowdoin, Hobart, and William & Mary. Bowdoin had a great location, great academics, but I didn’t get as great of an engagement from the coach there as I did at Denison. Hobart was my reach school; it was in a great area with the same great feel I got when I walked onto Denison. But because I was going to be a walk on there, I felt that I could have gotten better playing time at a different university. William & Mary was awesome academically and costly. However, when I was going through the recruiting process, their team was club level. The team was just beginning to grow, and I was really interested in playing for the NCAA at the time. Honestly, it all came down to my interaction with the coaches. My relationship with the Denison coach was great, and he showed a lot of interest in me. I had also gone to a few youth camps that my coach had been the director of, so I had been able to show my face a couple of extra times.
Did you have any positive or negative surprises about the program once you were on campus?
Yeah, of course. A positive surprise was that the people on my team were so welcoming. I instantaneously had 40/50 friends, just through lacrosse. The “negative” surprise was adjusting to the speed of the game. I knew it would be competitive, and I knew there would be many people on the team, but it was so much quicker than I had anticipated. I was a reserve middie and I could have used an extra year to develop. It definitely allowed me to work twice as hard and become a better player.
How did being a collegiate student-athlete shape your college experiences?
I think being on a team is one of the more beneficial things you could do in college. As I had mentioned, I had a ton of friends, and an instant support group. I also had to learn how to balance lifestyles. Everything became geared toward lacrosse. When I was younger, instead of looking into internships, I was always looking into different lacrosse camps or training programs. I think this affected me when I graduated, because my work experience was different than everyone else. I had put effort into tournaments, but I did have internships my junior and senior year. I’ll put it this way: if you’re not playing a sport, you’re probably putting close to 100% into internships, whereas if you’re on a sport team, you’re probably putting close to 50/60% into it. It’s been great though, because anyone who was a lacrosse player was willing to talk to me and help me go through the same experience they went through. I had a refined network of people; as I have been told many times, you don’t just go through the program for 4 years, you go through for 40 years.
Given your recruiting experience, do you have any advice or tips for current recruits?
I think the biggest thing is to be as direct as possible. I’ve gotten this response from coaches I have talked to in the past. But it’s something I wish I had worked on while going through the process. I also should have gone to more team camps. By doing so, I could have shown my face, my interest, and convince those coaches of my work ethic, as well as experience living on that specific campus. Those two things go hand in hand. The more you are able to speak of the school, you can speak more directly towards the coach as to why that school is a perfect fit for you.