As parents, we are barraged with this issue virtually on a daily basis. Whether it is an invite to create a profile on Captain U to get your kid’s name in front of college coaches or paying big money for college prospect camps, we are confronted with information overload when it comes to college lacrosse recruitment.
Big money club teams that claim to have the reputation and relationships with college coaches to get your child noticed is another increasing reality of youth and high school lacrosse. This has become a big money industry that is lining the pockets of many, whiling costing parents a small fortune just to keep up.
The main questions are:
- Is this all necessary?
- Are prospect camps and high end club teams worth the money and time commitment?
- When is the appropriate time to start all of this?
In a recent interview my friend and co-host Steve Jordan and I recently had with Florida Tech Men’s Lacrosse Assistant Coach Mark Penn on our Lacrosse and Sport Podcast, we learned that the answer is not straight forward. I would encourage anyone interested in the college recruiting process to take a listen in the player above.
Mark was very clear that all college lacrosse programs have access to tournament databases to send personalized e-mails to parents inviting them to camps and clinics billed as “prospect camps.” While they may be addressed seemingly directly from the head coach of that given program, according to Mark, unless you or your child has had direct correspondence with that coach, it is likely that he does not have any idea who your child is.
That begs the next point, knowing that the head coach does not know your child, is it worth paying the money and travel to go to that school to try to get noticed by that coach? The answer Mark gave was not likely. Prior to prospect camps, coaches have already had multiple points of contact (directly or indirectly) with the players attending that they are most interested in and subsequently come into those camps with a heavy bias toward these players. On the other hand, if there has been legitimate outreach from a coach attending a prospect camp toward your child, knowing you are on his radar, it may well be worth attending. The main point here is, some level of correspondence being a big key in the worth of a given prospect camp.
How about club teams? Are they worth it from a college recruiting perspective? Mark’s answer was maybe. Per Mark, your average tournament is not typically crawling with college lacrosse scouts looking for their next recruits. The main benefit in reality in playing club lacrosse in the end is getting better, playing at the highest possible level, and most importantly, having fun.
Mark noted that there are some caveats to this, but generally, especially in emerging lacrosse markets like my home state of Florida, it is realistically only players that play on teams that play out of state from the Mid-Atlantic north that generally get legitimate notice from top tier college teams.
The other caveat would be an in state team whose coach for whatever reasons may be well connected with college coaches and has the chops and reputation to get one of his players noticed. In the end, a player still needs to perform, as club coaches will not risk damaging their reputation and credibility in recommending players that are not legitimate candidates for a given college lacrosse program.
Coach Mark Penn expanded on the podcast about many other nuances about the college lacrosse recruiting process from eye opening realities, to very helpful tips in fostering direct communication with college lacrosse coaches. There is much more information on this topic in the podcast that I am able to list here.
As lacrosse club director, I left my conversation with Coach Mark Penn feeling a lot more capable of advising my players and parents. Still, there is no substitute for hearing it directly from a straight talking gentleman who recruits college players year in and year out for a living.
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.