Keeping an open mind is key to finding success in the recruiting process. Coaches move around and doors open and close outside of your control. For high school athletes looking for scholarship opportunities and competitive lacrosse, Division II schools have a lot of teams at a wide range of institutions. College is a 40-year, not a 4-year decision so finding a place that fits you on and off the field is important.
We spoke with Ryan Kuhn of Lincoln Memorial University, who is building a lacrosse program in the expanding South Atlantic Conference. LMU is located in Tennessee, where lacrosse is growing rapidly. College programs help in accelerating this growth and providing a local venue for young laxers to see college lacrosse firsthand.
What advice do you have for players interested in playing D2 lacrosse?
Basically it varies between divisions. Obviously you have division I, which is the highest level and II which is kind of a wedge between both division I and division III. A lot of the schools in this division are midsize schools, not super large but not super small. When it comes to a player trying to make their college choice I would say that, in terms of having a good plan, first think about what they want to do with their academic studies. Do they want to be closer to home or further away from home? And then certainly, I think the last piece of that is athletics. You have a lot of schools at the DII level that are really strong, both academically and athletically. Basically what it all comes down to is what is the best fit for the person. Education is the most important thing, lacrosse is one of those things that can open a lot of doors for student-athletes to improve their college experience.
What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?
I would say that the easiest way, with the way technology has improved over the years, is to definitely email all the schools you’re interested in. Whether it be the head coach or the assistant coach, reach out to them individually. Keep on introducing yourself, show that you are interested in the school and also include a highlight video. I will tell you, that we as coaches, look at every piece of film. The thing about being a student-athlete is we are always trying to improve our roster from top to bottom. Film is definitely a big part of that. Recruit profiles are helpful in that your film and information is in one place and easy to evaluate.
What are your do’s and don’ts, likes and dislikes of recruiting videos? If you have any.
The best thing is to not have them be too long. I would say at least a 3-4 minute highlight video is really good because a lot of times, the coaches can tell what they want to see within the first 30 seconds. Also, I have seen this in the past, don’t only show highlights of you scoring goals and assisting goals. Put some footage of you playing off-ball, some of you riding the ball. What we want is a well-rounded athlete.
What areas of player development would you recommend players to focus on?
I don’t think that anybody is ever a finished product. We are always trying to improve ourselves and improve our players. One area you can always improve on is you, by studying film. Don’t only study film on yourself, study film on other teams. Just so that you can increase your IQ, because that’s one of the big things we look for, players that have a really high lacrosse IQ.
What type of player do you look for–raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?
I think it’s a little bit of both. You can’t really teach athleticism so that always helps, but being a refined lacrosse player also helps a great deal. Concentration on skills and having a high lacrosse IQ, if you can have a little bit of both, those are the guys that we love coaching.
What is special about being a student-athlete at Lincoln Memorial?
We always try to tell them just how important the student-athlete experience is. It helps you prepare for life off the field. It gives you an opportunity to prepare yourself for the work force. We’re very regimented in what we do, in terms of sectioning off time to get your studies done. It really helps you to prepare for life outside of college once you hit the work force.
How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
I think it has helped quite a bit, especially at the Division II and Division III levels. Early recruiting is great in a lot of ways, especially because it helps us out with a lot of players who are late bloomers. They have a great junior and senior year and they are still looking for a great place to play and we are able to give them that opportunity. So it has helped us get some really high quality student-athletes.
Some final thoughts from Coach Ryan Kuhn:
Anyone looking to play lacrosse college lacrosse and play at the next level, there are so many different opportunities across Divisions I, II and III. It really boils down to finding the best fit for you, academically and athletically, and putting yourself in the best situation. For an 18 year old, it’s usually the first big decision that they have to make. They have to do what’s best for them and their future.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Lincoln Memorial University or Ryan Kuhn.