Inside the Hampshire Dome with IAS' Coach Coulson...
4 LEAF Lacrosse has long known Coach Coulson from attending his indoor 7v7 IAS tournament for a number of years. IAS is involved in running tournaments, leagues, showcases, and travel teams in a number of sports including field hockey, soccer, and yes, Lacrosse! The 7v7 IAS tournament is held annually in NH and is a far cry from the California weather and style. With small fields and less people, the action is fast and intense. Beyond IAS, Coach Coulson has been traveling with teams across the country for years while promoting them to the next level. His knowledge of the game and the path are paralleled by only the best in the game.
We were lucky enough to get a few minutes of Coach Coulson's time where he offered insight on a number of worthwhile topics for all of our developing players to read. Here is what Coach Coulson has to offer you!
“Many players aspire to play at the Division I level, and I often see that they put down DI schools as where they want to go to school. I also often get emails or calls asking about getting recruited at the DI level. This is not a simple task, nor can a short piece answer all the questions around being recruited to a DI program. However, there are some important things to know and understand. Here are some things to think about:”
- “Talk to your club coach (being a part of a club program is going to be important) to get a realistic assessment of your skill level. It is great to aspire to play at the DI level, but the reality is that there are 10’s of thousands of players across the country now, and there are only about 65 DI schools with lacrosse (fewer than field hockey!). There are not many spots on a team, and even fewer starting spots!”
- “Academics, academics, academics! You need good grades! Coaches do not want to recruit a player who they feel will not be able to stay in school. Plus, there is far more money for good academics than there is for lacrosse;”
- “Assuming that your skill level is such that you have a chance to play DI, you have to now make a commitment to play as much as possible – DI lacrosse is a job and will require year round work. Being a part of an off-season club program is even more important;”
- “If you are a Rising Senior (in your junior year), you are on the bubble as to being late for the DI recruiting. It is best to start in your sophomore year. This means establishing contact with the college coaches and asking your club coach to do the same.”
- “Contacting college coaches and letting them know which events you will be going to with your club team is vital. College coaches want to hear from players (not parents!) and it is up to the player to make the first contact, not the club coach. Once contact is made, the club coach can follow up.”
- “Getting a coach to respond and then watch you at a venue are only the first small steps. They may have a long list of players who have contacted them, and not even get to see you. Or, the coach attends the event and you played the first half and the coach showed up for the 2nd half. This is why communication is critical and you need to get.”
- “Film, film, film! I can’t tell you how many times I hear parents or players say “We are going to wait until the summer (or next year) to get film” and the next thing that happens is an injury. Start collecting film as early as freshman year. You MUST have film, and you will need to create a highlight tape and get it out to the college coaches. You will also need a game film (pick a good game, not just a game you win). They want to see film before they decide to come to see you play in person whenever possible. This is also where a club coach can help. Have them look at the film and give you an evaluation before you send it out and then follow up to make sure the college coach received it and watched;”
- “Understand the basics around recruiting. DI & DII coaches are bound by NCAA rules. There are certain things they can and cannot do. While it is okay for a player to introduce themselves at an event, a DI or DII coach is not allowed to do anything more than “exchange pleasantries”. They cannot talk with you. If you call a coach (you can call any time), and leave a message, they cannot call you back. Your club coach can help outline some of these rules – they can be confusing, and at times you might be on a coach’s radar, but they can’t legally communicate with you. Again, your club coach can help with this as they can talk directly with a college coach;”
- “In the end, you may not get recruited by a DI school. Yet, as I tell my players, the most important thing is to pick the school you want to be at and ask the question “Would I want to be here if I wasn’t playing lacrosse?” Most programs will allow walk-ons and the reality is that a coach is going to play the best players regardless of whether they were recruited, transferred in, or walked on.”
“There is a great deal more to DI recruiting, of course. The main thing is to be realistic, understand the commitment, and recognize that playing for a travel team will be essential.”
A huge thanks to Coach Coulson for taking time to give his insight on this important topic and as always, work hard, then work harder and remember to follow NCAA recruiting rules during your process!
Thanks for reading and remember to pass this information along,
The 4 LEAF Monthly News Team