This week we spoke with Head Coach Steve Colfer of Cabrini College to get his advice on the recruiting process. We know college recruiting is a challenge for even the best player’s; finding the right fit on campus and on the field is no easy task. It is important for players to do their homework in order to understand which colleges fit their academic, athletic, social, and geographic preferences. And also financial, the Economist just put out an article stating that 15% of college debt borrowers default within three years of repayment.
Every recruiting plan is different, but yours should include the following: invest in your game and in the classroom, create a realistic list of target schools and initiate contact with coaches you are interested in, both online and by attending their camps. You can create your target list here: www.connectlax.com/colleges
Relationship building is also key to the recruitment process. College coaches turn to high school and club coaches for an accurate assessment of potential recruits. Don’t be shy about communicating your desire to play at the next level to your coaches and demonstrate you are hungry for that opportunity.
Steve Colfer is currently the assistant director of athletics for recruitment and retention at Cabrini. He is in his 14th season as the men’s head lacrosse coach. Coach Colfer works closely with the College’s enrollment management division, coaches and student-athletes to enhance the overall experience from recruitment to graduation. He has won over 150 games as a head coach and often plays one of the nation’s toughest schedules in Division III facing numerous USILA Top 20 teams. This week, Cabrini is ranked No. 2 in the USILA poll and is one of four remaining undefeated teams in Division III. Let’s hear what Coach Colfer has to say:
What advice do you have for players interested in DIII schools?
Every boy’s dream is to play for a team that makes the Final Four on Memorial Day weekend, and that is okay. As the recruiting process unfolds young players must look closer at which programs meet their needs. Ask questions such as “Is this a new program emerging into a top 20 team?” “Is the coach recruiting me or am I recruiting him?” Finally, think beyond the idea of being a starting player. It is important to identify schools that fit a player from an environmental standpoint. A young player must consider schools from an academic, athletic, social and geographical standpoint. Ask yourself, “What is the student life like here?”
What is the best way for players to get on your radar?
Be proactive with emails and phone calls. Mention specific features of the lacrosse program or specific features of the school. This way coaches know you are contacting them directly and not just sending generic emails to a bunch of coaches. Relationship building is essential. Often times, college coaches ask for insight from their contacts at the high school and club level because these coaches may know players that fit the college coach’s specific playing style. So, develop a good reputation with your high school or club coaches. They can offer strong recommendations that college coaches will really value.
What type of players do you look for–raw athletes or refined lacrosse players?
Hopefully recruits will be a combination of both. Most importantly, players need to have the ability to get better every day. First, be an athlete. Then be able to compete and work hard at every practice and every drill. If you combine work ethic with a developing skill set, players have a really good chance at being strong college players. It’s something that is hard to do. Some players, not all, have the willingness to play hard at practice every day. These are the players that will be foundational players for a program.
What areas of development would you recommend players focus on to compete at the Division III level?
If you’re an offensive guy, work on shooting and hand placement. At Cabrini we focus a lot on that because we take a lot of shots on offense. Defensively, players need to have quick feet and very solid body positioning. Jump rope, use cones, or use other agility drills in order to improve in those areas.
How has the recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?
It has impacted us in every way possible. We used to be able to scout players in their junior year and add them to our senior watch list. Then, we could have those rising seniors visit over the summer and fall and make their decision in February or March of their senior year. Now, we shifted our recruiting process up about 12 months. We treat the junior recruits like we used to treat our senior recruits.
ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Steve Colfer or Cabrini College.