Upon returning home from a lacrosse tournament in the late fall of my sophomore year, my club lacrosse coach gave me a phone number with instructions. The note instructed me to call a certain college coach because he was very interested in me. I scheduled an unofficial visit for the first week in December. Thrilled that my recruiting journey was about to begin, I went through my whole wardrobe to pick out the perfect outfit so that I could make a great first impression.
On Thursday morning, my parents and I loaded up the car and made the four-hour journey. We were excited but didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived, we were greeted by the coaches and then we began our tour around the athletic facilities. I was awestruck at the grandeur of the locker rooms, field, the unfathomable amounts of gear, and overall treatment of the athletes. The coach spent time explaining how many sets of helmets and gloves that were given to each player, noting that some recruits are “gear guys,” who got hooked on the school because of the gear they receive. After we had entered the locker room, I noticed some players were smashing their sticks on the ground as if to break them. To say the least, I was a bit intimidated and astonished at their actions. The players noted that they get a free head when they break theirs, even if they purposely break them. This type of behavior was the first red flag of my recruiting visit. I wondered if every team across the country acted like this and if all coaches accepted this type of practice. It didn’t feel right.
After our tour, we met in the coach’s office. I’m going to preface this with some background on myself… Ever since I was born, my older brothers led me to believe that getting a haircut would be extremely painful. As a result, I ended up with a ponytail until I was sixteen years old which I had during this visit. Given the history that coincides with lacrosse, the coach believed that I was a Native American because of my hair. However, I am not and was taken aback when the coach made a comment that I was Native American. While it was easy to see the mistake, I felt a bit awkward and embarrassed having to explain the course of events that led to me having a ponytail for the vast majority of my life. While the encounter was awkward, my awkward visit did not stop there.
After our meeting with the coaches, my family was led out to the field to watch a practice. The drills began, and the ball was flying around the field. Each player seemed to know what they were doing and executed every movement with high precision, and I was most definitely impressed. During the cool-down stretches, two players on the corner of the field decided to settle some dispute by fighting each other. The fight was broken up immediately and the players put on opposite ends of the field. I could not comprehend what just transpired and patiently waited for the coaches to see what their take on the incident would be. The coaches seemed happy that his players dropped their gloves and that they physically went at each other. We were at odds at how we thought the situation should have been handled but I held my breath because I didn’t believe it was my place to say anything.
Following practice, I was introduced to the guys who I would be staying with for the night. Once my parents were out of earshot the players referred to me for the rest of the visit simply as “recruit.” They never said my name. I felt completely uncomfortable and did not know how to react, so I just smiled.
Our night consisted of video games and small talk as our futile attempts to minimize the awkwardness that permeated the room. The next day, I was scheduled to go to class with my hosts. I was told the players were required to sit in the first three rows of the class and that the coaches periodically came by to ensure the players were following their rules. However, when we got to the classroom, the three players I was with led me to the back of the class where one of the players ended up napping for the entire period. Needless to say, the experience was once in a lifetime, but for all the wrong reasons.
You May Also Like:
Image courtesy of: NCAA.com
Posted on August 13, 2017 in Recruiting 101
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.