Recruiting Insight with Calvin College Head Coach Kyle Hofstaedter

With the increased competition and growth of the sport of lacrosse, every player is looking for a way to gain a leg up on the rest of the field.  We sat down with Coach Hofstaedter of Calvin College to learn more about what makes a player stand out, and what he finds the most important in a college experience for a lacrosse player.

Coach Hofstaedter enters his 2nd season as Head Coach at Calvin College. Calvin College recently finished their 3rd season as a program and are on the rise as a Midwest program.

Hofstaedter possesses his own fair share of experience in Men’s lacrosse as he most recently was the defensive coordinator at Eastern University, with stints with Rollins College, and Desales University before that.  Prior to his coaching days, Hofstaedter was a close defender at Saint Joseph’s University as well as a member of the Dutch National Lacrosse team.

It’s no secret that Hofstaedter’s life has been filled with lacrosse.  This is evident in his approach to the game as he is a sharp-minded coach that clearly has a passion and skill for getting the best out of players.  However, it doesn’t stop there, as Coach Hofstaedter is motivated to help his players grow outside of the world of lacrosse in many different facets.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

The most important thing is being proactive, especially at the Division III level.  Make sure you’re emailing a coach or calling a coach in order to put your name out there and get on their board.  Kids can call coaches anytime they want, coaches can’t always call them anytime they want.  Once you reach a coach, then you can try and get them to see a game.  Whether you’re sending an email with a highlight film or telling them you’ll be at game or showcase that they might be at, it all is helpful in keeping coaches in the loop.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

It’s obviously different for each school and for different levels.  However, I often look for kids who have raw talent, athleticism, size, speed or maybe they have the stick skills but are lacking one of the other attributes. We have to develop the skills with all types of kids, so if you possess one of the attributes I mentioned, we look to tune that and work hard on the rest of their skills.

We’re also always looking at kids that have the ability, but might have developed late.  Maybe they just need to work on one thing, and could succeed immensely once a few areas are sharpened.

What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

Kids should focus on strength, speed, and footwork if they want to make that next step.  Nowadays, kids always think it’s all about stick skills, behind the back passes, being flashy and all that.  At the end of the day, I would rather take a kid who’s super athletic, has great footwork but maybe doesn’t have a great stick.  That will help me out more as I can always develop the stick.  It’s easier to fix a stick then to fix the athletic abilities of a player.

IQ of the game can always improve as well.  Best way to do that in my opinion is to watch MLL or quality college lacrosse as a lot can be learned from that.

What is special about playing at Calvin college?

Playing at Calvin College is more than playing lacrosse as you will get a great education here.  It’s a Christian school so you will be able to attain a faith-based background as well.  People at this community make the Calvin experience really special going from the staff members to the professors.  They want you to succeed in life and grow to be successful and respectful young men.  At the end of the day not everyone’s going to play professional lacrosse, and if they do, they’re not going to be bringing in millions of dollars.  So we’re really focused on developing the whole person from academically to athletically and everything in-between.  Lacrosse is just an added bonus at our program.  We have a lot to offer being in Grand Rapids and we pride ourselves in offering a unique, balanced, fun experience.

Lacrosse is a big part and like any sport, is time consuming, but you can have it all.  I would never limit a kid in majoring in some field because ultimately they are here for the education.  The balance that players can attain is something I love about the Division III model.

Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

Go through the whole process before you make a decision.  Be honest and truthful with coaches while going through the process, stay in touch and when you write emails, write grammatically correct emails as it goes a long way with any coach or staff member throughout the entire process.  When you do make the big decision of deciding on a school and verbally commit make sure it’s the school you really do plan on going to as coaches take your word and may stop recruiting based on that position so understand the weight that your word holds with a lot of coaches.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Kyle Hofstaedter or Calvin College.

Recruiting Insight with Arcadia University Head Coach Nick Taylor

With the summer heating up, the lacrosse world is busy with tournaments, showcases and much more.  Coach Nick Taylor of Arcadia University took time to weigh in on the process that is recruiting and the players that he feels fit best in his up and coming program.

Coach Taylor just finished his first season as Head Coach at Arcadia where he and the Knights went 5-10 with a 4-5 record in their own stadium.

Taylor’s life has been filled with lacrosse, especially since his tremendous career as a defenseman at FDU-Florham until graduation in 2008.  Taylor has served as a coach at the club level and college ranks as he has experience with MadLax high school club program, Catholic University and as the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Cabrini College.  Taylor’s passion for Arcadia as a whole is very evident as he strives to build a championship level program.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

First and foremost, start looking at schools that fit your academic profile.  So much we talk about best fit for Division III, but taking that first step in doing your research, what majors are offered, how hard is it to get into school, what scholarships are out there is very important.  My advice is look at a school’s academic profile, find something that fits you well and then begin to reach out to these coaches as soon as your sophomore year.

What is the best way for a recruit to reach you?

Email is the best route as I appreciate a well-researched email, one that might have 2-3 tidbits as to why you’re interested in Arcadia.  As we read so many emails, someone that’s done their research and shows that they will have a connection to Arcadia outside of lacrosse stands out. This stands a lot stronger with coaches as you display active interest in the academics and university.  This balance between lacrosse and academics is a great way to make a first impression on us.

How much importance do you place on recruit’s highlight videos?

If you have a highlight video under 3-5 minutes it is really beneficial.  It’s something for us as in our office we file with every recruit in our database. That way, we may have not spoken in a couple weeks, then we see an email and are reminded of specific skill set that stands out through a certain player’s highlight video.  I find highlight to be really beneficial as it serves as a quick first look but rarely do we make a decision based on a highlight video.  It gives us insight into athletic upside a player may have, but then ultimately our coaches would like to see a player in person.  There’s a lot of benefit though, as we utilize them and try to get as much information as possible.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

An introduction email with a highlight and a display of interest in our school is a great way to get your name out there to us.  We also host prospect days twice a year, which have become much more prevalent in Division III schools (August 7 on campus, and one at the end of fall recruiting period in December). Those prospect days are open to any high school student athlete.  These prospect days serve as a great first look at campus, allows you to be on campus, see the facilities and witness an Arcadia lacrosse practice. You also get to compete against some of the Arcadia commits, get a feel for what your future teammates may be like, and what type of players that are being recruited.  Prospect days have evolved into a very strong recruiting tool and teaching tool.

When is an appropriate time for a player to realize that you are interested or not interested? 

It’s a two way street, as we talk talk about this during the first visit.  If at any point we fall off your radar we want to know as soon as possible so that we can move on.  Having an open line of communication is very important and usually indicates a strong interest from us.  If you’re getting sporadic emails here and there, you might be a different level recruit.  We try to be as clear as possible as to where you fall on our list.  So if we can touch base every other week that’s a fair line of communication, whether it through email or whatever, as long as I’m reaching out to you, you’re reaching back.

What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

Being a young program, there’s a nice opportunity for athletes to come in and make an impact right away.  I’m a firm believer that if you’re a good athlete you can really make a difference in this game.  Athleticism and making plays based on athletic ability really stands out to us.  Something for us is we want to be athletic across the board in many positions.  In Division III there’s lots of high quality student athletes as we’re seeing more and more Division I talent at Division III schools for a lot of different reasons.  We’re fortunate enough that there are a lot of guys out there that are playing at a high-level and are interested in our University for the right reasons.

Do you place an importance on playing more than just lacrosse in high school?

Not only do a lot of skills in other sports translate to lacrosse but it also usually gives you a more well-rounded, better locker-room guy who understands what it means to be on a team and also what it means to be a good teammate.  Multi-sports athletes are often pretty hard workers managing two sports in a high-school curriculum, which aligns well with the commitment you can expect at Division III schools.  It is a very big time commitment, so being involved with multiple things in high school helps one become more prepared to handle the rigor of Division III lacrosse.

What is best route for a recruit in terms of a timeline?

I think starting to look sophomore year for Division III, that’s a point and time, you should start making your list, emailing coaches.  For us we have sophomores at prospects day, and we see sophomores in passing during the summer.  However, it starts to heat up junior year, were we take a hopefully second look and we may invite them to campus for a visit day.  Then there’s hope that fall of their senior year they’ve applied, are accepted and are able to obtain an early financial aid read, then take an overnight visit and are ready to make a decision.  That’s the brief timeline they and we work at.  For whatever reason, there’s always other guys that are later in the process and we will recruit seniors as much as we can.  As a growing program, bringing in talented classes is very important so we are always looking for talent in all grades.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Nick Taylor or Arcadia University


Recipe for Recruitment

Going through the recruiting process can be stressful especially when you do not even know where to begin.  There are many steps that should be taken in order to have the potential opportunity to play at the next level.  Having all the information about the basics of getting recruited can make those vital summers of your high school career a lot easier.

It is especially important to understand that you should never assume that your time has passed to get noticed by a coach.  The acceleration of the recruiting process has been a large topic of conversation amongst the prospects in the lacrosse world, but that still does not mean that all hope is lost for rising juniors and seniors.  There is a large percentage of coaches that have said they still evaluate their senior players, as well other coaches who have said although a large part of their senior class has been filled, they still look for independent players at camps or tournaments.  So never assume and always be open to opportunities and chances to get yourself noticed by coaches.

Take note of these tips and statistics for typical questions that parents and players have about recruitment. Keep them in the back of your mind during your own process, but do not over think! Just play your game.

1) Where do I go to get noticed by coaches?

A lot of times players are concerned that they are not getting enough face time with coaches and will not even get the chance to be seen by them. Finding yourself a solid club team with a trustworthy coach is VERY important.  This way you have a team to compete with at tournaments, which 40% of college coaches say is their main hunting grounds for spotting their recruits.  When attending tournaments you should absolutely send emails out to coaches for schools that you are interested in, letting them know exactly where you are playing, against who, what time and your basic profile and information so they can come watch you play.

Attending camps is another very important place to get on a coaches radar. Camps are unique from tournaments because a lot of the time coaches are the ones running stations and drills, so you can have a hands on experience with them.  38% of coaches find camps to be very telling and informative when coming to a decision about who will be on their team.  While camps are a great way for players to meet coaches and look to see what coaching style they like, camps are also a great place for coaches to look to see what players are coachable, as well as what players can perform well in any setting, with anyone.

When sending out an email to a coach letting them know you are interested in their team and school, a lot of the time, coaches say that including a highlight reel will boost their inclination to respond.  Having film on your original email gives coaches a visual of your skills and abilities right away so they can see if you are the type of player they would be interested in pursuing.

2) What are coaches really looking for in a player?

Technical and refined skills are a very important part of the game and obviously something that coaches look for in a player when watching or coaching them. So never abandon WALL BALL! However, at the same time raw, athletic ability, hustle and attitude are just as important, if not more.

Coaches really look for players who naturally have the things they cannot teach. Hustle is one of the most highlighted things when coaches explain what they look for in their recruits.

Attitude is also something that should never be overlooked or under appreciated.  Coaches notice if a player can work well with any one and/or any team, and if they share the ball. While at the same time, also players who are not afraid to get the ball.  Drexel Head Coach Hannah Rudloff says, “we as coaches definitely look for signs that you are mentally tough and focused as we watch you play.”

3) How do I get about making a decision when committing?

Although committing early is exciting and something every player (and parent) would love to have happen, committing to schools is not something that should be rushed.

>Take your time committing.  Find a school that is right for you not just based off of lacrosse alone, (even though that is extremely important), but financially, educational and locationally.

> Find a team and coach that you see yourself doing well with.  Having a relationship with teammates is one of the most important parts of playing a college sport.  That being said, keep an open mind when it comes to meeting new people.

>As corny as it sounds, follow your heart and your instincts. A lot of times when players are committing they go on visits to campuses, meet players and take tours. Many times girls have said that when they find their school they know right away.  Sometimes you can just tell you will love a school by the feel of it and the people around you.  At the same time, do not get frustrated if you do not seem to be falling in love with a school right away. Good things take time and there is a school (and team) out there for everyone!11089659-large

Be confident in who you are as a player and person and do everything you can to stand out and be unique from others.  But remember it’s not a race so do not ever give up! @ConnectLAX


Top Recruiting Camps for Girls

Playing lacrosse in high school is just one part in the steps that need to be taken in order to get recruited to the next level.  Finding yourself a strong club team is the next move in the recruiting process, while signing up for summer camp is just another way to ensure you get on college coaches radar as a stand out player. Finding the right camp can be a difficult process and it is definitely important to go somewhere that will make sure you get the right attention to mold your skills, as well as the potential to be taught and/or watched first hand by college coaches.

Throughout the summer of 2015 and previous summers before that, there have been camps that have proven themselves as standouts, causing players to not only improve lacrosse skills physically, technically and mentally, but also have gotten players recruited to the next level.

Here is a list of noteworthy camps for high school girls looking to make it to the next level:

1) Elite 180 (Keen State, Keen, NH)

Elite 180 is known for having very close individual attention to each player in order to give them a full picture of what the recruiting process is like and what is necessary for a player to do in order to get on a coaches recruiting map.

“Elite 180 provides a wonderful perception of DIII lacrosse, as well as the ability to play competitively. This camp was beneficial for me during my recruiting process and I would definitely recommend it to other high school student athletes.”

2) Maximum Exposure (University of Maryland and Loyola University, Baltimore area)

Every single current college coach attends Maximum Exposure, which is an advanced camp to develop the skills of players, as well as expose them in front of coaches to prepare them for the next level.  This camp is available for rising juniors and seniors.

“Maximum Exposure has become a more important stop for Freshman and Sophomore players with DI aspirations. There are a few ‘diamond in the rough,’ players who will get noticed in the older age groups. But for the most part, the older players are either committed or going DIII.”

3) Northeast 215 (Kimball Union Academy, Meridan, NH)

Northeast 215 is made up of some of the brightest minds in lacrosse, all of whom guide and instruct players through the 3-day camp that include various drills, games, coaching talks, and scrimmages. Campers will work directly with the staff and be instructed in high-level technical and tactical components of the game.

“I found this camp to be extremely beneficial during my recruiting process. NT215 pulled coaches from the Northeast and beyond. It gave me the exposure I needed with some top schools. I’d recommend it to any high school player looking to play competitively at the next level.”

4) Super Sophs (Greenwhich HS, CT)

This one day show case is primarily for rising juniors to exemplify their skills in front of a vast group of college coaches.  The show case is comprised of about 200 players to ensure that each camper will be able perform and be noticed in front of the coaches.  Players and parents also take part in a recruiting seminar so they have all the available knowledge about the recruiting process.

“Super Sophs was a great one-day format that supplied us with both information and exposure we did not find at many other events.”

5) FLG Premier Girl’s Showcase (Long Island University, Brookville, NY)

FLG is a one-day showcase event for coaches to monitor players’ games throughout the day.  Throughout the day and once the day is finished, coaches can request players profiles and information in order to find out more about the players they have put on their radar.

“FLG is a first-class program, and this event promises to be in-line with the organizations reputation.”

6) Nike Top of the Class (Governor’s Academy, Byfield, MA)

This camp is unique because college coaches run each of the stations that are provided during the camp’s sessions giving players individual guidance and professional advice from coaches across the country.  This ensures that each camper will be personally attended to and will allow them to receive valuable insight on how to improve their game.

“This camp is really fun and challenging. You are provided many chances to learn skills as well as display your own. The coaches and counselors are helpful and very approachable for any questions you have. I would recommend this camp to anybody who is interested in competitive lacrosse.”

7) Northstar Invitational (Northwood School, Lake Placid, NY)

The Northstar Invitational was developed as an invite-only camp for the nation’s very best high school girls lacrosse players to compete and perform within a format which best showcases their abilities to top college coaches.  This invitational will secure the chance to be seen first hand in front of coaches all across the country.

“Northstar allows coaches to evaluate the hand-selected talent from across the country, all in one prime location. The structure and format of Northstar allows coaches to watch and evaluate athletes across all different aspects of the game. I look forward to seeing the highest level of talent in what promises to be one of the most competitive environments within the women’s recruiting landscape. Northstar provides the perfect opportunity for young girls who are invited to showcase their abilities, and ultimately bring their game to the highest level.”

8) Triple Threat (Episcopal HS, Alexandria, VA)

Triple Threat is an extensive 4 day camp that works players to improve on their skills technically and physically.  Each camper is put into a group based off of their age (10th-12th grade) as well as their skills in order for each player to get the right attention they need to advance their game.

“I have sent a number of my players to this camp. It is a high octane camp where girls get better over four days. It is also nice that the coaches on staff are so hands on.”



Enroll in any of these camps and you will have the chance to improve your lacrosse skills AND make sure to be exposed in front of some of the best colleges coaches across the country!

Recruiting Insight from Drexel Head Coach Hannah Rudolff

Hannah Rudloff begins her third year at the head of the Drexel women’s lacrosse team (@DrexelWLax) in 2015-16 season. She was named the head women’s lacrosse coach in July of 2013 after putting in three admirable seasons as assistant coach from 2010-2013, in which she worked very closely to fine tune the Drexel attacking unit.  Rudloff proved to be a strong head coach from the very start as she led the team to victory over Philadelphia’s rivals. Her teams have gone 4-1 against local rivals in her two years, including a perfect 2-0 mark against Villanova and La Salle in 2015.

Rudloff won her first game as a collegiate head coach in the Dragons’ opener in 2014, swiftly taking down George Washington 12-7. She would add victories over local rivals La Salle and Saint Joseph’s making a name for herself right from the beginning.  Rudloff’s 9-8 win over Towson was just another highlight in her career to prove that she was the right choice for the head coach at Drexel.  That victory handed the Tigers just their third regular season CAA loss in the past four seasons.

Rudloff has been responsible for coaching three All-CAA performers and an IWLCA All-Region honoree during her time as the Dragons’ head coach, and also played a huge part in mentoring 2014 Mary Semanik Award winner Amanda Norcini. Under Rudloff’s strong leadership during her time as an assistant, the women’s lacrosse team made notable strides in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Dragons made the 2011 CAA Championship tournament for the first-time in program history, while in the next two years the Dragons continued to play in the post-season, after achieving the program’s most CAA wins with four.

In her previous years before becoming a huge impact at Drexel, Rudloff served as the assistant coach at Marist for the 2010 season for both the offensive and defensive units. She provided the team with strong insight about the game as well as her affective leadership. Rudloff helped the Red Foxes defeat Fairfield in the MAAC Championship Final to earn an NCAA Tournament entry.

Rudloff’s skills do not stop short at coaching as she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, where she fueled the Quakers to three undefeated Ivy League seasons. Rudloff and the Quakers moved on to the NCAA Final Four in each of her final three seasons at UPenn. This included reaching the NCAA championship game in her junior season. She attended nearby West Chester East High School where she earned First Team All-America selection in 2005.

nmfRE8hB1) What advice do you have for players interested in Division I schools?

My best advice is to think about why you’re really interested in playing Division I.  It’s a big commitment, it’s fiercely competitive, and at the end of the day it will be the bulk of your college experience.  Have a good answer for why you want to play DI as opposed to DII or DIII.  If your focus is becoming the best individual lacrosse player you can be, and you are excited by the prospect of working extremely hard to help your team win championships, then you’re on the right track.  I love it when a recruit comes into my office and isn’t afraid to say that they are willing to do what it takes to win a championship.

2) What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

All college coaches get emails all the time, but the best way to get on my radar is to include two things in the body of the email – 1) A specific reason why they are interested in my school and program.  It could be that we offer a certain major, it could be location, it could be that you are excited by the schedule we play.  This piece shows effort on your part and shows us that we’re not just getting a blast email.  But more importantly it tells me that I wouldn’t be wasting my time if I choose to recruit you, because you genuinely already have thought about why you’d want to attend my school.  2) Include a short highlight video.  Stats can only tell so much.  If I can watch a couple minutes on you, that will at least give me a baseline of your athletic ability – speed, agility, awareness, etc.

3) What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

We like to recruit a mix of players that are raw athletes and players that are refined in their skills.  There are a lot of roles to be filled on the field, and there are a huge variety of types of players that can fill those roles.

4) What areas of player development would you recommend players focus on to elevate their game?

I’d focus on the mental side of the game as early as you can.  Can you push through the last rep of a tough workout?  Can you make a great play to get the ball back after you turn it over?  Can you understand the flow of a game and make decisions appropriately on the field?  These are skills that are vital at the highest level of the game, and ones that take the longest to develop, so we as coaches definitely look for signs that you are mentally tough and focused as we watch you play.

 5) How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

I think the accelerated recruiting timelines have lead us to do a lot more homework before we become invested in a player.  A player might look flashy early on, but we want to know if she’s playing other sports, if she has the work ethic to keep improving over her high school career, if she’s applying herself in school. We talk to their club coaches, their high school coaches, anyone who knows the player.  The kids that have had the most success coming through our program are ones that their coaches can’t stop talking about, and so we really take that into consideration early in the process.

 6) Are there any last pieces of advice for players and families you’d like to share?

As much as coaches like to think we’re in control of the process, we aren’t. You hold the keys to the car.  Take as much time as YOU want to make a college decision.  It’s human nature to want to keep up with teammates who may be making commitments, but if you (or your daughter) hasn’t found a fantastic fit for her yet, don’t stop looking.  If you can’t picture yourself at the school if lacrosse wasn’t in the picture, or if there was a different coach, you should really think hard about whether that school is the right place for you.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by the Drexel University or Hannah Rudloff. 

Recruiting Insight with SUNY Purchase College Head Coach Mike Bocklet

A team average of 8.3 goals per game, an 18-2 record, first ever undefeated regular season national champions and a proud member of the Denver Outlaws, all of these accomplishments come compliments of Coach Mike Bocklet, head coach of the SUNY Purchase Men’s DIII lacrosse program.

We were fortunate enough to get the inside scoop on DIII recruiting from Coach Bocklet who comes with a laundry list of successful coaching careers. He began his success with his time abroad as local development officer for lacrosse in Manchester, England, continuing onto his alma mater John Jay High School to Dartmouth, SUNY Cortland and now SUNY Purchase.

Coach Bocklet brings over five years of coaching experience with him to SUNY Purchase. At John Jay-Cross River High School, Coach Bocklet led his team to an 18-2 record and Section I title. Following that success, Bocklet held the assistant coaching position at SUNY Cortland, playing a key role in the success of the men’s lacrosse program. While there, the team amassed a 37-4 record, advanced to the Division III National Championship, and in 2012 achieved the first undefeated regular season in SUNY Cortland history. Bocklet was responsible for the design and execution of Cortland’s offense, which in 2012, earned them the No. 1 offense in the league. In the same year, Coach Bocklet helped cultivate the SUNYAC Player of the Year along with Offensive 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Team All-Americans. Continuing his collegiate coaching experience, he was able to pilot Dartmouth to an impressive average of 8.3 goals and 37.5 shots per game both improvements from the year before.

As if his coaching career wasn’t impressive enough, Coach Bocklet’s college career was spent as a four-year starter on the Fairfield Stags’ lacrosse team, earning All-League honors twice, leaving Fairfield as fourth on the school’s all-time career points list. In addition to being the SUNY Purchase head coach, Bocklet now also plays with his two brothers, Chris and Matt on the Denver Outlaws MLL team.

What advice do you have for players interested in Division III schools?

Not get lost in the hype of early recruiting because we are focusing on juniors and rising seniors. Even at Cortland, which is a more tenured program, we were still getting seniors during the winter. There is a ton of opportunity in DIII and you shouldn’t be asking yourself as a junior, “Did I miss out because I haven’t been recruited yet?” Verbal agreements can change from time to time, so regardless where you stand in the process, be sure to continue playing at your very best because you never know which coach might be watching.

What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Prospect days are huge and are a guaranteed way to be seen by the entire staff. Furthermore, attending prospect days offer added benefits such as Q&A with coaches, a personalized tour of campus and also lets us know that you’re interested in the school. It is also important to build a strong connection with your club and high school coaches because the player pool grows bigger and bigger each year and it is difficult to see every player at tournaments and showcases because the sheer number of fields and players present. We consider club / high school coach opinions very valuable because they know the intangibles of a player such as their work ethic, study habits and what type of person their player is. Generic emails always fall short compared to personalized, well thought out emails. We expect an email from a player to contain why they want to attend SUNY Purchase and what is it about the program that grips them. Are you attracted to the fact you can study journalism, or is it exciting for you to be a part of a new program or maybe it’s the location, size or campus life that interests you. Whatever it might be, we want to hear about it, that kind of email is much more genuine, shows a vested interest and makes it easier for both player and coach.

What type of player’s do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

Purchase is unique where we do not have upper classmen so we are really looking for players who are leaders and treat their first year as if they have been a part of the program for four years. We want our players to feel as though they are the “founding fathers” of the program and have a work ethic to match that attitude. A player who possesses stick skills and a desire to improve is very important to us. Someone who aspires to improve so much that they can play professionally after college or even just someone who wants to be a force in collegiate lacrosse goes a long way because we feel that drive is only going to strengthen the attitude of the team and the program as a whole.

What areas of player development would you recommend players to focus on?

I encourage players to be multisport athletes. That doesn’t mean they have to play on the varsity team of another sport, it can be as simple as playing in a pickup league. Playing another sport improves overall lacrosse IQ, spatial awareness, sharpens understanding of offensive and defensive concepts and also footwork. Watching more lacrosse is always beneficial. Even better than watching it on television is going to watch collegiate lacrosse live. If you live near a college with a lacrosse program, go watch the games and even the practices; it allows for fantastic exposure to concepts and how college practices are run. Lastly, hard work combined with knowing what type of player you are, your strengths and how to improve on those strengths will help you to excel as a lacrosse player.

How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

I don’t mind it, the thing about Division III is that it filters players out and follows an “old school” recruiting timetable and allows us to recruit at our own speed to find the players that fit our program and our school the best. It is easy to get caught up in the hype, but there are just so many talented players across the country now that it doesn’t make sense for us to push players into committing early.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by the SUNY Purchase College or Mike Bocklet.

Recruiting Insight with Boston College Head Coach Peter Sessa

Being able to build a network of alumni, friendship that lasts a lifetime, being able to play the sport that you love in a competitive arena, all of which are a part of playing lacrosse in college.

We had the chance to speak with head coach of the Boston College Men’s Lacrosse team Peter Sessa about playing lacrosse at a renowned school such as BC.

Coach Sessa just finished his first year with BC and brings a vast coaching experience at the DIII collegiate level as well as having international experience. He was awarded First Team All-Pilgrim and All-Academic twice as well as two-time Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year at his alma mater Springfield College.

Speaking to his experience abroad, Coach Sessa was Local Development Officer for the English Lacrosse Association after he graduated. He coached and played for the Reading Wildcats, where they set a club record of 12 wins. In addition to playing overseas, Sessa led three university teams as the Head Coach: the Royal Holloway University, Southampton University and Reading University.

Once back in the United States, Sessa returned to his alma mater for the 2012 season as the Defensive Coordinator, Face-Off and Goalie Coach. That season the Pride’s defense had the 5th best save percentage and 10th best man-down unit in the country. The Pride’s defense came in at #15 in D-III. He was recognized as a Finalist for the IMCLA D-III Outstanding Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

From there, Sessa headed to Saint Leo University where he led the top face-off specialist in D-II to a 70% win percentage and a defense that averaged 8.2 goals against per game.

Having such a vast involvement in lacrosse and world travel, Coach Sessa brings a unique perspective to MCLA Boston College lacrosse along with insight on college and the lacrosse experience.

1.What advice do you have for players interested in MCLA schools?

Make sure you are training as much as you are playing, don’t just rely on showcases to be the one place you improve your game. Being proactive is very important. Email your highlight film to us that include your top 15-20 plays and keep it around 2 ½ minutes long. Highlight films are a great door opener, but remember, a coach is going to need to see you play live more than once. If you are a multisport athlete, make sure you express that to us because we do find that valuable.

2.What is the best way for players to get on your recruiting radar?

Prospect days are definitely the best way to get noticed because at the prospect camp, you are able to get in front of the entire coaching staff. We send out one or two coaches to other tournaments, but at our prospecting days, every coach is present. You have to remember, every coach is different and to be open-minded. Some schools finish up their recruiting early, and some keep spots open for late commits. You should have a broad selection of schools to ensure that if your top choices don’t work out, you will have another that suits your academic, social and lacrosse needs. Keep in mind that with so many lacrosse programs available at great schools, there is a school that is a fit for you and seeking the best experience should be your main objective, not so much what level of lacrosse you play.

3. What type of players do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

All of the above. We look for players with character. We also look for different types of players to complete the makeup of the team, someone who brings a unique aspect to the team that will innately improve the other players and build a strong team bond. When selecting players, we tend to “go with our gut” and choose whichever player makes the most sense to our organization. Once again, every school is different.

4. What areas of player development would you recommend West Coast players focus on to elevate their game?

Get out and play. Summer league is very good because you compete against talented players. Take note of what other players around you are doing as well and learn from them. My biggest suggestion for elevating a player’s game is box lacrosse. Box lacrosse teaches you how to take checks and be tougher. Being able to be comfortable with the physicality of the sport and use it to your advantage, you will be able to fair much better on the field. I also recommend stepping away from lacrosse and “taking a breather” for a little, then getting back into it. Every player has his own needs and being self-aware of those needs or areas of opportunity is crucial for proper development.

5. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

It hasn’t impacted us too much, people play for us because they want to be at BC and we don’t have to recruit too intensely. I reach out to 95% of people that contact me. We don’t actively “chase down” players because we would rather players that are interested in our school organically than try to convince someone to come play for us because at the end of the day, anything can happen with coaching staff, injuries etc. so we want the player to love the school first and the lacrosse program second.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Peter Sessa or Boston College.

Recruiting Insight From Coach Cantabene of Stevenson

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. Doing so from outside the traditional lacrosse hubs is even harder given there are not as many footsteps to follow. However, with passion and a plan, you can identify and get your game in front of the right coaches.

ConnectLAX helps you create a target list of schools that match you on and off the field and use your mobile recruiting profile to put your game at the fingertips of college coaches who are always on the go.

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.

Recruiting is supply and demand and the number of roster spots is growing much slower than the number of top players. Recruits should maximize the number of available schools by getting the grades and test scores needed for eligibility. Practice with your team, practice alone, race your dog… just keep training. Coaches want to see you have the speed to play at the next level, so work with a training ladder.

Lacrosse should be one of many factors in your college decision. Save time in the process by finding teams you can contribute to and colleges you’d attend exclusive of lacrosse. Keep an open mind. Get on campus as much as possible and try to meet the coaches and players.

No one likes rejection, but guess what, the coaches do not simply come to you so you need to proactively reach out to them. Coaches get a lot of inbound traffic so make sure your information is well organized and in one place so they can make a decision. We recently spoke with Paul Cantabene, head coach of Stevenson University, the 2013 DIII champion, about his recruiting advice for West Coast players.

1. What advice do you have for West Coast players interested in Division III schools, which are primarily located on the East Coast?

Initiate contact with the schools you are interested in. It’s important to include Youtube clips and let them know where you’ll be so they can see you in person. If a coach gets in touch with you, get back to them in a timely manner. College coaches are still surprised that players don’t always understand a response is necessary whether you are interested or not.

2. What is the best way for West Coast players to get on your recruiting radar?

Our graduate assistant makes at least four West Coast trips a year. They hit the major recruiting tournaments. However, do not be discouraged if you are unable to participate in those. If you are heading East and in the Baltimore area, let us know ahead of time, include your video and if we see something we like, we’ll always invite your on campus.

3. What type of player’s do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

We look for speed and athletic ability. If we have a feel for a player, even if it’s based off of a single play we saw in a highlight video. We’ll reach out to that player. Even if they are not from a traditional lacrosse hub, we’ll coach him up. Sometimes we’ll move an attackman to middie. We’re looking for complete athletes.

4. What areas of player development would you recommend West Coast players focus on to help get on par with their East Coast competition?

We feel West Coast players have really caught up a lot. Young players should focus on their stick skills and not bank on just being a good athlete. Players need to watch the game, become a student of the game, and listen to announcers point out what they’re seeing. Rewind the game to watch where the defense slides from and really try to break the game down.

5. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

We are getting better athletes as more late bloomers are looking for a college home. We are recruiting younger as well. The key is for players to know what they want and realize with only 61 or so Division 1 teams, they need to also be looking at Division 2 and 3, where there are hundreds of teams.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Stevenson University or Paul Cantabene.

Recruiting Insight from Coach Alberici of Army

We recently spoke with Coach Joe Alberici at Army to get his advice for recruits and more specifically, recruits out West who are looking to go East for college lacrosse. Coach Alberici has had an impressive career including coaching at Duke where he helped strengthen the Blue Devils as one of the nation’s premier lacrosse programs. In 2006, he became the coach at Army and is now in his ninth season, where he continues to man a very impressive group of student-athletes. Here’s what Coach Alberici had to tell us about recruiting and his advice for player’s eager to get noticed: be a well-rounded athlete with multiple weapons and a strong work-ethic that mirrors those abilities.

1. What advice do you have for West Coast players interested in Division I schools, which are primarily located on the East Coast?

Be assertive, think of recruiting as managing your own franchise. You have to find ways to get in front of coaches eyes. It’s best to be seen live, but also keep an open line of communication with coaches. In your e-mails, be sure to include your video that highlights the skills you have which set you apart from the competition, especially your athleticism. Be specific about why you want to go to that school such as the academic curriculum. Keep in mind that coaches get hundreds of these emails, so personalization goes a long way.

2. What is the best way for West Coast players to get on your recruiting radar?

One of the best ways to get on coaches recruiting radar is to go to their prospecting days. It is best to identify 1-2 schools who have their prospecting days close to each other to cut down on travel expenses. Be sure to ask the right questions about the prospecting days such as how many players are expected to be in attendance and if all the coaches on staff going to be there. These are good questions to ask because you may be playing against 50 or 250 other players and that could make a difference of you getting noticed. Use the first few lines of your email to explain who you are and the remaining 1-2 paragraphs include your contact info and references such as coaches and private instructors.

3. What type of player’s do you primarily look for, a raw athlete or refined lacrosse player?

Athleticism is the first thing we take into account and some “thing” that stands out from the rest of the players, be it stick skills, hustle or tenacity. In your highlight videos, be sure accentuate those skills. A DI guy has a good mixture of drive, skill, and character along with people to reference all of that.

4. What areas of player development would you recommend West Coast players focus on to compete on the East Coast level?

My best advice is to get the stick in your hands as much as possible and compete with players a level or two above you. Play adult leagues. Playing against older and more experienced players will wear off on you and force you to get better through “osmosis.” Also, don’t just go through the motions while playing, be an active learner, ask questions and learn specifics from experienced players and try to emulate their skills. Seek out the guys who have done it and pick their brain. To play with this kind of competition you may need to travel a little, depending on your area, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to join a travel team, just do your homework.

5. How has the accelerated recruiting landscape impacted your approach to recruiting?

It’s difficult to see everyone when they’re young, it’s just part of the landscape. There are still a lot of great players and late-bloomers who may have been missed, so we keep spots open for that. We are going to recruit nationally regardless, we aren’t locked into any particular areas.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by United States Military Academy or Joe Alberici.

Recruiting Insight with Greg Zecca and Mike Cleary of Ohio Valley

We spoke with Ohio Valley (WV) head coach Greg Zecca and assistant Mike Cleary about their program and what they look for in recruits. Ohio Valley is a great example of a strong academic school where players can play lacrosse at a competitive level but more importantly, develop as men and position themselves for life beyond the field and classroom. Here is what they had to say about their program.

OVU plays in the ECAC-II, one of the top conferences in NCAA Division II, having sent a team to the championship game in two of the last three years. The ECAC-II also comprises ~50% of the DII championship tournament bracket in 2013. OVU plays against the best teams in Division II and have a competitive experience that is of the highest caliber.

Academically, OVU ranks in the top 20% in the south for baccalaureate schools and our graduation rate of 98% is outstanding. Our small class size coupled with a 10-1 student-to-faculty ratio, gives you an opportunity to personally connect with all of your professors and get the most out of your OVU academic experience.

​OVU is a Christian school, whose motto is…. For Learning, For Faith, For Life. Our Christian foundation sets us apart and allows us to view our interpersonal experiences in a clearer and community-centered light. While you do not have to be Christian to attend OVU, we do believe that those who have some spiritual foundation or at minimum are open to and accepting of those who do will experience the most success in our environment. It is our goal, during your four years as part of our family, to guide you through your development academically, athletically and spiritually.

What advice do you have for players interested in playing DII lacrosse?

Find the school that fits you best and start searching as early as possible. Make a good, solid, and well rounded decision not only for your future lacrosse career, but for your education as well. We believe at Ohio Valley University is a fantastic option for those wanting to play competitive college lacrosse while also receiving a top notch education, but we also know wethere are other options out there that could be better matches.

What’s a question you wished players asked you more during the recruiting process?

​We hope that recruits will ask ALL the questions they have. We want our recruits to be informed. They should ask about school size, classes, professors, facilities, coaching staff, food, dorm life, and anything related to Ohio Valley University and our community. At the end of our exchange we want our recruits to feel like they have been well informed about what we habe to offer.

What indications help you determine if a good high school player will be a great college player?

​It is hard to project greatness, as there are so many factors that play into it other than just raw talent. However, a key indicators for us that a guy will be a factor are his lacrosse IQ and confidence on the field. With as much as we are permitted to practice we have ample time to spend on developing physical skills of our players, that the guys that rise above are typically those who are just smarter players.

What’s special about being a student-athlete at OVU?

Like most schools we have a strong academic program with a wide variety of majors, caring professors and a warm community feel, but what truly makes OVU special is our commitment to developing you physically, mentally and spiritually. Our Christian foundation permeates every facet of school life and because of that our student-athletes have less distractions and are able to focus more on the things that will make them successful both in the classroom and on the field. That coupled with our substantially lower tuition rate and full allotment of athletic scholarships set us apart.

How has the accelerated recruiting process impacted your approach to recruiting?

It has forced us to be more educated, informed and knowledgeable about the guys that can help us win. We have to hit the road hard build good lists and reach out to guys meaningfully and frequently. It has also resulted in us developing a clear list of skill traits that we look for in each age group so that we can better project out how a player will be when he gets on our campus.

Final Thoughts on recruiting

​We are searching for players that can make an impact on our program and in our school community. For us it is not just about finding the best player, it is about finding the player that will benefit from the OVU experience and be the best fit for us. Young men that can play the game at a high level, have a solid academic profile and strong moral compass are the type of student-athlete we want at OVU.