5 Tips for Making a Strong Impression on a Coach

Athletes need to impress college coaches on and off the field. Unofficial visits are a key part of the recruiting process, especially given the accelerated recruiting timeline in lacrosse. Athletes need to get on campus and proactively arrange to meet coaches at the schools they are interested in. During these meetings, coaches will pitch the merits of their program and school. However, athletes should be aware that just because a coach is promoting the team and school to you, that does not mean the coach is not interviewing you at the same time. Athletes should be not become overly confident and put their guard down, but remain focused and promote their individual strengths to the coach as well.

Here are a few tips to make the most out of your meetings with college coaches.

1. Be Prepared

—   The best way to be articulate is to be prepared. You should be your best cheerleader and most honest critic of your game, as coaches will want you to discuss your strengths and weaknesses. Be thoughtful, demonstrate excitement to be there and vocalize any questions or concerns you may have

—   Have a prepared list of questions for the coach that will help you decide if the school is the right fit for you; ask questions about academics and don’t be afraid to ask what happens when classes conflict with team practices

2. Be Articulate

—   Every time you speak with a coach, consider it an interview. Coaches want to know you’re a good listener and comprehend what they are saying; communication is key on the field and coaches want to assess your verbal skills

3. Be Engaged

—   Ask questions about the information the coach is telling you; provide the coach with new information about your athletic and academic success and convey the level of your interest in the program when closing the meeting

—   Maintain eye contact and sit upright through the entire meeting, this expresses your interest in the program and leaves a positive impression

4. Be Confident

—   A firm handshake is an easy first step in making a strong impression; coaches want confident players so look the coach in the eye while shaking their hand

5. Be Presentable

In short, dress in business casual and look sharp for any on-campus meetings with a coach. You can expect the coaching staff to be in business casual to demonstrate that they consider this is a business and take it very seriously. Most team functions are business casual and coaches want to be confident you would be able to represent the school well

Scholarship Myths and Reality in Lacrosse

Every high school athlete wants the proverbial “full-ride”, the all-inclusive package that makes you a BMOC or big man on campus the first day of classes. Athletes naturally want to feel rewarded for their hard work. Possibly, they want their parents to feel the money and time spent traveling to tournaments was worth it. It is important to remember that lacrosse is a powerful tool in gaining admission to a great school, the rewards of which will be felt through an athlete’s career and life.

Let’s demystify scholarship and examine a few misconceptions below.

  • There are many scholarships available, including “full rides”

—   Fully funded Division I men’s and women’s programs typically spread 12.6 and 12 full scholarships, respectively, across their entire roster; as a result, incoming recruiting classes have to share 3 full scholarships amongst themselves

—   Division II men’s and women’s programs have 10.8 and 10 full scholarships, respectively

—   Most Division I and II programs are not fully funded and therefore offer less than the maximum amount of scholarships allowed by the NCAA

—   College coaches generally focus on making sure all players receive a partial scholarship, making the “full ride” a rarity in college lacrosse

  • Athletes will pay the full price of tuition and expenses without a scholarship

—   Student-athletes are eligible for need-based financial aid, grants and loans; refer to the net price of a school to see what incoming freshman actually pay on average after grants and scholarship aid

—   Scholarships are renewed annually and prospects who do not receive a scholarship their freshman year are eligible to receive them in later years; these one-year renewable grants are guaranteed for one year, not four but it is common practice for them to be renewed at the same level year-to-year

  • Coaches only consider my athletic skills and grades in offering a scholarship

—   Coaches perform an extensive background check into an athletes’ character before offering a scholarship because it is a financial risk for the coach and school

—   Coaches may call your high school and club team coaches, guidance counselors, teachers and possibly even your friends

—   Make sure you are a leader and setting a positive example on the team and in the classroom; be aware of your class attendance and how you get along with teammates, demonstrate a strong work ethic and integrity in your activities

How To Study Smarter, Part 2

They say you learn time management in college.  Well you don’t want to wait until then, so I’ve provided a couple more life-hacks for you all.  In my previous post I mentioned a few ways to increase your effectiveness while studying.

  1. Work standing up.

This one might be a bit extreme, but set up your computer so you can work while standing. This helps me not get too comfortable while I work. I’ve found if I’m too comfortable I’ll be more inclined to get distracted by the vast world that lies just a few clicks inside my internet browser. The slight discomfort of standing serves as my motivation to get my work done. Which leads me to my next point..

  1. Reward Yourself!

If I have been working for a while and am starting to drag along, then I’ll do something different. Dare I say, do something fun. For example, check out our Book Break series for a short drill you can do between study sessions. If that doesn’t work for you, experiment and find out what does.

Remember that these are just some things that have worked for me.  For best results, find what works best for you!  Check out part 1 of this series.

Let us know what you come up with. Do you have any tips for other student-athletes?

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How To Study Smarter, Part 1

We’ve all been there…You have a paper due the next day, and you’re not even close to being done. You’ve tried to work on this past week, but no progress has been made. Well, read ahead to learn why you might be working longer than you should.

Whatever happens on game-day is usually a result of how practice went the week prior. Getting school work done is very similar to lacrosse practice in this sense. In lacrosse, if you don’t rehearse your new offensive strategy enough, then the play will not flow. The hidden ball trick will fail, the other team will grab the GB and fast break all the way down the field and score. So, if you don’t put in the school work during the week, you’re going to be flustered when test time comes. I used to rely heavily on my short term memory before tests, and sometimes it worked, but most times it didn’t. The knowledge should be second nature. Here are some tips that have helped me:

  1. Plan ahead

Take 10 minutes on Monday to think of what you have going on this week. Block out a time, typically before or after dinner, where you can crank out some work.

  1. Focus your environment

Clean your room! When my surroundings are neat, I’m going to feel cleaner, more organized, and ready to business. If your room is a pig stye and this pointer is hopeless. At the very least clean off your workspace. Hang up the remotes for TV and Xbox.

  1. Face your phone towards you

A lot of times I find myself checking my phone as if I have not felt the vibration from a text only to be let down when I have no notifications :(. So for now on, I actually keep my phone facing me, so I know I wont ever miss anything coming my way. As sad as it is, our phones are part of us. I need my phone to hit up my classmates if I forgot something my professor said in class. I believe kids are the same way. But make sure your phone is only being used as a tool not as a piece of entertainment.

These are simple suggestions that I have found work for me due to trial and error. You have to find out what works for you. It might be hard to convince parents that you need to have the TV on while you work, but I’ve seen it prove successful. Since their the law-makers at the end of the day, you’re going to have to compromise with them.

Let us know what you come up with. Do you have any tips for other student-athletes?

Tweet Tweet @ConnectLAX

Potential is Overrated

I revisited an article from a while back on the Forbes website. The title reads, “Grit, Grades, and Lacrosse: How To Cradle Your Way Into Elite Colleges”. We all know what opportunities being a successful student-athlete can generate, especially if you’re a laxer. But let’s think about the word ‘grit’ for a second. According to dictionary.com, a definition of grit is “indomitable spirit”.

Now, I’ve watched youth lacrosse from all over the country. While the rising hotbeds have potential to foster great players, the traditional hotbeds continue to develop powerhouse college players. I can’t speak for the kids in states such as New York and Pennsylvania being a Connecticut native and all, but I always felt from playing against them that they fell lacrosse isn’t just a fun sport. It’s an extension of themselves. It’s a piece of them. I would say those kids have grit if it wasn’t for our friends just north of us. Canadians play lacrosse with such a chip on their shoulder that you would have thought you insulted their family prior to the game. I’m guessing that comes from playing years of box lacrosse, but unless your ready to move north of the border for a couple years you’re going to have to find a way to match their indomitable spirit.

For the most part, everyone who plays this sport has equal potential to be the player they want. So what makes potential so great? When someone says that you have real potential to play in college, what they’re saying is you’re just like everyone else. You’re average. But you’re only average if you accept potential as your end result. Learn to replace potential with trophies, what-if’s with remember-when’s. The success that you want is earned every single day, because you can’t have grit just for game-day, or a couple hours out at practice.

If being a star on the field is your goal, it’s time to evaluate your daily routine. For starters, replace something you feel guilty doing with something you feel productive doing. For example, you could check out one of our Book Break articles to see how you can squeeze in a drill between homework assignments.

‘Indomitable Spirit’. What does this mean to you? What have you taken on or given up to make yourself a better person? Hit it up… @ConnectLAX

Parents, Be Sponges!

As a division one lacrosse player, there is no better summer job than coaching lacrosse camps. I have worked with over 1,000 athletes in my 4 years. One concept that is consistent from Long Island, NY to Denver, CO is the idea of being a sponge. I teach my players to ask me anything about lacrosse. Not only can they learn from my answers, but it bridges the communication gap, which helps me coach them more effectively.

If it works with kids, why can’t it work with adults? Parents, You should be sponges!  For every camp or clinic your player attends feel free to pick the coaches’ brains a bit. Ask them about their personal recruiting process, coaching philosophy, or even their favorite type of food. I know there is lot of anxiety being a parent going through the recruiting process. Just engage with your son or daughter’s coach day by day, and you’ll be amazed at how that can help in the development of your relationship with the coach and your student-athlete.

One great outlet for you to take advantage of is us! We at ConnectLAX have been through it all, and for the things we haven’t done, our friends sure have done them. We are hear to elevate the games of players everywhere, so give us a shout! We’d be happy in answering any questions you have about the ever changing life of a laxer.

Tweet @ConnectLAX or however you would like to get a hold of us.

Healthy Pre-Training Snack Part 1

Ever in a rush on your way to workout? Do you end up grabbing that leftover buffalo chicken wrap in the fridge and snack on it on your way to the gym?  Stop.  Don’t do it.  Put that sandwich down.  Unless you want to cramp during your workout or turn your fast break into a slow break, stop and listen up. I am here to tell you that there are quicker, and healthier ways to snack in transit to your workout.

First of all, did you know that it takes the human body six hours to digest meat, so that chicken, steak, turkey sandwich you’ve been having?  Yeah, that’s still hanging out in your stomach chilling for six hours.  Instead, substitute that sandwich with naturally energizing snacks that you can eat just a half hour before working out, hell, you can even eat it 15 minutes before.

My favorite go-to, before-the-gym snack is a peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sandwich.  This snack is easy to eat on the go in the morning or afternoon.  The sandwich is incredibly tasting, and better yet, provides your body with healthy protein, naturalized sugar, and quick energy.  I recommend multi-grain bread to provide the body with healthy carbs, and also natural peanut butter, to ensure that your body is not ingesting unhealthy preservatives.  You can probably find honey and cinnamon in your cabinets at home.  This is a perfect snack to help you get a quick boost of energy and provide your body with the proper nutrients necessary to maximize your workouts.

*Allergy issues- you can substitute the cinnamon with nutmeg or ginger

*You can also substitute honey with Agave nectar

Ingredients

  • Multi-Grain Bread
  • Natural Peanut Butter (any brand)
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon

Meat digestion article:  http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20551987_12,00.html

Have other pre-training snacks you want to share?  Let us know via Twitter @ConnectLAX or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConnectLAX

 

ConnectLAX Launches Free College Matching Service

 

ConnectLAX.com has a new, completely free service for players and parents to create a personalized list of target colleges that match their academic, athletic, social and financial preferences. The ConnectLAX directory has over 1,350 collegiate lacrosse teams from club to top Division I programs.

Each college profile details the school’s student body, admissions criteria, financial costs and LinkedIn information about their graduates. Team Twitter feeds and Youtube videos help recruits learn about the program and team chemistry. Coaches can add a description about their program. Current and former players can write endorsements about their experience.

Find your college matches here: Connectlax.com/colleges.

With their target list of colleges, players can create a free recruiting profile and start reaching out to college coaches. ConnectLAX recruiting profiles are the most dynamic, social and robust recruiting profiles available, period. Profiles feature the recruits’ lacrosse network as well as endorsements from instructors, other players and coaches.

ConnectLAX believes successful recruitment = skill x exposure + knowledge. ConnectLAX recruiting plans include a personal recruiting coach and a recruiting package mailed to recruits. Recruiting packages include the ConnectLAX recruiting handbook, which guides recruits through today’s accelerated, recruiting landscape with step-by-step, practical advice. ConnectLAX provides all the tools to the recruiting equation.

Jumpstart your recruiting here: Connectlax.com/recruiting.

ConnectLAX has the largest network of private instructors and the biggest camp directory in the US. From private lessons to camps and club teams and on to recruiting, ConnectLAX helps players track and grow their lacrosse network along the way. College coaches can then find common relationships within a player’s network and reach out to learn more about a player and their game. This can help players get on a coach’s recruiting radar. ConnectLAX believes life and lacrosse are about relationships.

Learn more and start building yours at ConnectLAX.com.

http://toplaxrecruits.com/connectlax-com-launches-free-college-matching-service-recruiting-profiles/

ConnectLAX acquires LaxTrainers.com

ConnectLAX.com, the leader in private lacrosse instruction, has acquired LAXTrainers.com. LAXTrainers was founded by Connecticut-natives Harley Brown and Jack Vaughan, and operates as a lacrosse-targeted search engine to help players find private instructors.

LAXTrainers’ instructors will join ConnectLAX and the largest network of private instructors in the US. Harley will be joining the ConnectLAX team to build on their health and nutrition blogging platform and social media strategies.

Harley and Jack felt that by combining with ConnectLAX, they could help their instructors connect with more players looking for private lessons. They were also attracted to how ConnectLAX, who operates the biggest camp directory in the country in addition to private lessons, is combining these services with their recently launched recruiting service.

Having recently gone through the recruiting experience, they saw the need and benefit of helping high school students find the right college fit.

“We want to help lacrosse players find success, just as we did.” Harley and Jack explain. “The college recruiting process is unfolding before these athletes can even enjoy high school. We believe ConnectLAX can help alleviate the stress that we remember so vividly. It’s a game, and it should always be fun.”

Visit Connectlax.com/colleges to get a personalized list of target colleges that match your preferences.

“We believe college is a 40-year, not a 4-year decision but we understand that can be difficult to understand as a high school underclassman under pressure to commit.”

Explains Gage Mersereau, co-founder of ConnectLAX. “We can’t remove the stress from this accelerated recruiting process, but by organizing over 1,350 collegiate lacrosse programs and allowing players and parents to search them based on athletic, academic, social and financial parameters, we hope they can find programs that are good matches on and off the field.”

In addition to helping find the right college, ConnectLAX provides recruits with a free recruiting profile to engage coaches at their target colleges. Recruits will also have access to the ConnectLAX Recruiting Handbook, which guides lacrosse players through today’s recruiting landscape.

With better information and practical advice, ConnectLAX hopes players and parents can avoid some of the negative byproducts of today’s accelerated recruiting process, including a rise in transfers at the college level.

http://www.lacrosseplayground.com/connectlax-com-acquires-laxtrainers-com-becomes-largest-network-of-private-instructors/

NELAXBlog Write-Up on ConnectLAX: Uniteing the Lacrosse Community

ConnectLax is a company whose goal is to unite the lacrosse community. They achieve this through their website, connectlax.com. There, you are able to browse their camp directory and club team lists, as well as find lacrosse instructors for private lessons. ConnectLax was started by Gage and Nick. Both of these guys come from different lacrosse backgrounds, but both have the goal of connecting the lacrosse community. Gage grew up in Indiana and played club ball in college, where Nick grew up in upstate New York and played Division I lacrosse in college.

The idea of ConnectLax came about because of the growth of lacrosse outside of the Northeast. With so many new high schools and colleges starting lacrosse all over the country, there had to be a place where players can get the private instruction to grow as a lacrosse player and get information about these new programs. ConnectLax helps players and parents through this process. They also help former players either become or stay engaged in the lacrosse community through private lessons. Who better to teach lacrosse than a former lacrosse player? The lacrosse community is tight knit, and most players want to pass on their knowledge of the game; what better way of passing on that knowledge then through private lessons?

The lacrosse community has had a very positive response towards ConnectLax. ConnectLax did a LaxTour this summer, and they were also hosted by Major League Lacrosse teams. On their LaxTour, they talked with parents, players and instructors. A positive that most people liked was that ConnectLax is trying to organize the sport, meaning they have one platform to search for instructors, clinics, camps and club teams. Having to look in one place instead of cross-referencing multiple websites is most efficient. People in the lacrosse community also like that they screen and run background checks on all of their instructors.

ConnectLax is growing. As of today, they have nearly 200 instructors across the country; they would like to have 500 instructors by the end of the year. Their LaxTour has helped them in this effort. They are also launching a recruit match service this month. Through this service, they will help players manage their player “lifecycle.” They are already a source to find instructors and camps and now they want to help players choose the right colleges. The biggest piece that ConnectLax wants players to understand is that college is a 40-year not a 4-year decision. Their service will allow players to compare colleges based on location, education, social and financial parameters and then allow them to connect with the coaches through their free recruiting profile. As of now, ConnectLax has 1,280 schools in their database. Helping the player through their “lifecycle” is a goal of ConnectLax. They want to help players from their youth development (private lessons) into the right competitive camps, then onto club teams and now college recruiting. They want to help players create a separate profile from their social media profile.

Overall, ConnectLax has a great goal and they seem to be heading in the right direction. Make sure to check out their website, www.connectlax.com, and create a player profile. Also make sure to check their recruit match service launching this month.

http://nelaxblog.com/2013/09/03/connectlax/