LaxCon Recap: Steps Athletes Can Take Now to Help in Recruiting Process

PHOTO BY SAM BRETTSCHNEIDER


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered everything in our lives, including the college recruitment process. Jesse Churchward, a senior recruiting coach and team captain with Next College Student Athlete (NCSA), the official responsible recruiting partner of US Lacrosse, gave an update for prospective student-athletes during the recent US Lacrosse Convention.

The dead period, which primarily affects NCAA Division I coaches, currently runs through April 15, but that doesn’t mean potential student-athletes shouldn’t be proactive. Here are some tips from Churchward on what players can do now:

Underclassmen

Skill development. Skill development. Skill development.

“Skill development is the biggest thing for underclassmen, so don’t feel like you need to go anywhere and everywhere across the country (this summer) just to work on your game,” Churchward said.



Set academic goals.

“What is your GPA now and what are you trying to achieve by the end of this spring,” Churchward said. “Make it visible. Write it down. Put that somewhere where you can see it every single day. If we write down goals, then we can have an actionable plan to achieve those goals. If we don’t write it down, then those are just dreams.”







Juniors (Class of 2022)

“I think [this class] will be most impacted by this dead period being extended,” Churchward said. “I think a lot of the 2022 recruiting classes at the Division I level will be smaller. They’re dealing with guys coming back. They’re not quite sure about the scholarship or roster limit and what that might look like.”

That makes being proactive especially important for this class.

“You need to continue to build up the list of schools that you have interest in,” Churchward said. “Research those schools and reach out to those coaches vial email. You have more downtime now than ever. I understand there’s a lot going on in the world with the virus, but you have the time to research those schools.

“As you reach out to these coaches via email, the most progress will be made over the phone. In terms of getting to know that coach and that coach getting to know you. You should always be pushing to get on the phone with coaches. See when you can get on campus. Maybe you can get to the campus before your season starts. Maybe you can check out one of the early season games. You can get a lot accomplished if you’re in communication with the coach even if you can’t connect with them while you’re there.”

The coming summer will also be especially important.

“Get out in front of your top options and the schools you have the most interest in in a live format,” Churchward said. “Whether it’s a tournament, a showcase, a prospect camp — whatever that might be, that’s our top objective.”

Seniors (Class of 2021)

High school may be coming to a close, but it’s not too late for this class to consider playing at the next level.

“For the seniors there are some lower tier Division II’s still recruiting,” Churchward said. “Most of the Division III’s are still trying to finalize their class. The top highest-academic Division III schools have taken a lot of their applicants that they’re supporting through admissions. The NAIA and junior college programs are still in the thick of it. They’re still recruiting the senior class. There are still plenty of opportunities for seniors.”

The key is narrowing down your choices.

“When are looking to make a final decision? Do you have a timeline in order? If you have not got on campus to make your final visits to make a final decision, that needs to be done as soon as possible,” Churchward said.

Learn more about recruiting advice from NCSA and special offers for US Lacrosse members.

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