At the risk of stating the obvious, your athletic ability is the most important factor in determining whether you will suit up in a college uniform. Never assume that you are finished learning as an athlete or that you know everything about your sport. You must constantly absorb information and strive to improve your ability.
Even professional athletes spend hundreds of hours in the off-season working on the physical and mental aspects of their game. There is no such thing as too much practice for a high school or college athlete.
A player should understand what is in your control to improve. Some physical characteristics like height and body structure may not change, but there are areas within your control that you can improve. These areas include:
· Mental Toughness
You’ll have to work extremely hard and demonstrate unyielding motivation in order to separate yourself from the thousands of other athletes who are looking to play lacrosse at the college level. If you know you are weak in a particular aspect, do something about it…now!
Seek Constructive Criticism
In order to improve, first identify which areas of your athletic performance needs work. It’s always nice to hear praise from your parents and receive backslaps from your teammates, but a little constructive criticism from the experts is even better. Instead of relying on your parent’s opinion of your skills, consult an experienced high school coach, college coach, or professional athlete who has seen you compete. He or she can tell you the exact areas to improve and recommend specific drills to help you.
Seek as many opinions as you can. For example, ask your coach to be completely honest and forthcoming about your strengths and weaknesses. You may not agree with his evaluation, but you can use it as a starting point for your development. It is also important to respect his opinion and let him know that you are going to consider his advice. In addition to learning where your game could use some improving, make sure you set aside the time for drills to help turn your weaknesses into strengths.
If you have mechanical flaws, fix them immediately to avoid making them a permanent part of your technique. Taping yourself in a practice setting is an excellent way for you to recognize exactly what you are doing wrong and it’s a great way to solicit feedback from others who haven’t seen you compete much or at all.
Take Your Game To The Coaches
Exposure is key to the recruiting process. The more coaches who see you perform, the better chance you have to generate interest. Don’t wait for coaches to come to you. Be pro-active and take your game to them.
Your goal should be to generate as much interest as you can. If you live in New York and want to play at a southern school, you better make sure the coaches from the schools you are interested in down south see you compete in person.
Find out where the coaches you are interested in will be during recruiting season. On LacrosseRecruits.com, coaches post what camps and tournaments they will be at during the summer and all members can view this information. You can also call each school and ask the coach what camps and tournaments his coaching staff will be attending. Also, be sure to ask them to put you on their mailing list to be notified of upcoming summer camps or other pertinent information. If you have a LacrosseRecruits.com profile, you can tell the coach the link and ask him to view your profile and video. This is a great way to get on the coach’s radar.
Using a LacrosseRecruits.com membership, you can literally “take your game” to any college coach in the country. Pick the school and send them a message using LacrosseRecruits.com’s integrated messaging feature. One click and the coach is watching you play and viewing your profile. The more coaches that see you, the better off you are.
How Many of These Leadership Qualities Do You Possess?
· Have a strong desire to win and always do your best.
· Seek tough competition.
· Welcome a difficult task.
· Set high, but achievable goals.
· Be willing to admit mistakes and accept constructive criticism.
· Practice on your own – go beyond what your coach asks of you.
· Be willing to work harder than anyone else, especially when the coach is not watching.
· Possess confidence in your ability.
· Focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
· Learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
· Maintain composure.
· Don’t get easily discouraged or frustrated by errors, mistakes, or poor officiating.
· Understand the importance of continuous coaching.
· Respect your parents, coaches, officials, teammates, and opponents.
· Put the team’s needs before your personal needs.
· Get along with your teammates—offer support when they have a problem.
· Understand that championships are won in the pre-season.
· Watch your language and avoid profanity.
· Encourage your teammates and do not belittle your opponents.
· Maintain a positive appearance and good body language
WHAT MOTIVATES A WINNER…
Coach John Raba, Wesleyan University
· A winner displays characteristics that set him apart from all others.
· A winner always wants to be the best that he can be.
· A winner is never satisfied with his performance. He is committed to preparing and open to change, and always wants to succeed, whether it’s a high GPA or a better athletic performance.
· A winner learns from his failures and he never makes excuses.
· A winner always looks for ways to improve his performance and to add value to the team.
· A winner always expects to be victorious.
· A winner is not afraid of risk.
Stay in Shape
It is extremely important to stay in shape year-round. Again, take your cue from the pros who work hard in the off-season to stay fit. Whether you decide to concentrate on one sport, or participate in other sports, is your decision. However, do not become inactive at any time and don’t stay away from your training for more than a few weeks at a time.
Staying in top physical form demonstrates to college coaches that you are serious about your commitment to your sport and your future. Also, it’s good for your health and will improve your academic effectiveness.
Become A Leader
Coaches admire athletes who demonstrate a winning attitude, mental toughness, take charge of workouts, and composure under pressure. These traits will not only make you a better athlete, but they will help you elevate the ability of your teammates as well. So, be a leader, not a follower.
If you’re not one of those “verbal types,” lead by example with your work ethic in practice and your desire to improve. If you are one of those athletes who likes to talk to your teammates, keep it positive and enthusiastic.
Whatever your personality, strive to be someone who is described by his / her coach and teammates as a “student of the game” and a “great team player,” and a “winner.”
One coach reveals that he discovers who the “leaders” are at tryouts by asking who wants to lead the drill they are getting ready to do. The players who jump out and lead the warm-ups, for instance, have just shown they are leaders. Also, the players who try to jump to the head of the line for each drill will stand out as not only leaders, but players who are eager about their sport.
Don’t be negative! A player who openly criticizes teammates for errors during scrimmages or games or even drills is not the kind of leader coaches are looking for. On the other hand, the player who openly and sincerely boosts their teammate’s confidence after a miscue is exactly the kind of leader coaches love and want to have on their squad.
Attend Prospect Camps at Your Schools Of Interest
Many college coaches run their own camp for high school lacrosse players. These camps are usually 4-6 days long and packed with instruction, guest speakers, and informal competition.
Attending camp is an ideal opportunity to gain exposure with their recruiting staff, get a feel for what these coaches are looking for, and visit the campus. From the coach’s standpoint, they are getting to know you as a person and an athlete, evaluating not only your talent, but whether you would be a good fit in their system.
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