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.