Kelly Blackhurst had numerous accolades in the field hockey world, perhaps most notably being named the D3 Player of the Year in 2013 and breaking a few school records. After graduating from Skidmore, Kelly has begun a career in coaching college field hockey thus making her a very interesting and well-rounded person to interview about recruiting.
How did you go about reaching out to coaches? It must have been difficult being from a small town/school, etc. How did that situation affect you?
I began looking at schools in 9th grade. That may seem early to some people, but I wanted to tour a variety of campuses so I could narrow down my search. At the end of my 10th grade year, I began contacting college coaches. As I grew up in an isolated town in the northern part of New York State, I needed to put myself out there. Some athletes have the luxury of playing for well-known high schools. My high school team was the furthest north field hockey team in New York. We never made it past the second round of sectionals. Coaches were not going to see me. I had to make myself visible. In order to be noticed, I attended numerous camps at institutions I was interested in throughout high school, participated in Futures which was almost three hours away, and joined a club team that was 1.5 hours away. In addition, I attend numerous recruiting events such as College Connection and the National Field Hockey Festival.
What was the most difficult part of your recruiting process?
As I was from a very small town and mediocre field hockey team, I felt resistance from college coaches. I was an unknown entity. Why would a D1 big name school want to look at a small town athlete? Some coaches ignored me completely while others took time to get to know me, understand my situation, and create a relationship with me.
Why did you decide to go D3 instead of D1 or D2?
I wanted to play for a highly competitive team and make an impact. I did not want to play for a middle of the road D1 team. Additionally, I wanted to have a full college experience. D3 allowed me to do this. Plus, I was able to play in numerous championship games and compete against other nationally ranked teams. Looking back, I always wonder what life would have been like if I had attended a D1 school. At the end of the day, though, I am glad I made the decision that I did. I received a high quality education and played for a nationally ranked team.
What do you wish you knew while recruiting?
A couple of questions come to mind that I wish I had asked during my recruiting process.
What advice would you give to current high school students looking to play in college?
Here are some thoughts for the athlete.
Posted on July 9, 2015 in Half Time Talk
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.