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It is this simple, quality game video will be one of the most important resources to get the majority of players recruited.

I know there is the assumption that coaches need to see players in person to evaluate them, but getting the opportunity to be on a coach’s radar is initiated by a coach seeing a combination of highlight video and game video. As everyone knows, coaches are increasingly stretched thin. On average, there will be four or more major recruiting events each weekend from June until the end of July. The coaching staffs will divide and conquer by taking responsibility for tournaments in certain areas of the East Coast or the entire country. At larger programs, a staff of four paid coaches will have much better coverage than a smaller D3 program that consists of two paid coaches.

To help coaches recruit you, especially the coaches from smaller programs or outside your geographic region, you have to give them the opportunity to see you play. Seeing your game video can ultimately lead a coach to plan on attending a specific tournament or make sure they are on Field 12 at 2PM to watch you play in person. The video package that you provide is the first opportunity for a coach to evaluate you. You get to pick the clips and performances that best exemplify the type of player you are. The process is not easy, but the time and effort you put into your video will help yield greater results with coaches.

How do you get game video?

A small percentage of high school programs organize filming of their lacrosse games. As a parent or player, you can see if your school already films, has video equipment available through the Athletic Department or you can hire a professional videographer. As we get closer to the summer tournament schedule, you should see if different tournaments offer filming services. For example, LacrosseRecruits.com will be at 13 boys and girls events over the summer providing filming.

What games should I get?

You should try to get video against the best opponents on your team’s schedule. Coaches like to see how a player performs against quality programs or against specific players who are headed to play college lacrosse. For example, if you are an attackman and have a great game against a UNC commit, that game video will allow coaches to compare you to D1 talent. If you play in developing areas, you may not have many opportunities to play against great competition, so I suggest that you focus on getting film from tournaments or camps over the summer.

What type of video should you include to the coaches?

The type of video that coaches like to see varies from program to program. Typically, you should include a highlight video that is no more than 6-8 minutes and the video from your best full game or two of the best halves from the season. The highlights give you the opportunity to showcase your ability, athleticism and attitude. A coach does not want to see 6 minutes of you scoring goals though. For an offensive player, they want to see the different facets of your game, dodging, shooting, feeding, off ball movement, riding, picking up groundballs and other intangibles. You want to include full game video or your best halves, so a coach can see how you perform within the flow of a game. It is important to help a coach get a better sense of you as a complete player.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Chris Meade at chris@lacrosserecruits.com. I tell a pretty good video mix up story that landed me at Wesleyan University.

Chris Meade is Co-Founder of LacrosseRecruits.com. He grew up playing lacrosse on Long Island and graduated from Wesleyan University in 2005. Chris was a team captain and led the team to their first NCAA tournament appearance.

Lots of players and parents ask LacrosseRecruits.com about the NCAA lacrosse recruiting regulations that prohibit coaches from calling and emailing players.  So here is a quick summary from a Division 1 coach’s point of view.

“If you are a current junior or younger please note that the NCAA prohibits us from calling you back until after July 1 prior to the start of your senior year. However, feel free to keep calling /emailing us (text messaging is prohibited), as there is no limit on your contacts, initiated by you to us via email or phone. We are not allowed to call or email back unfortunately. Keep trying, we look forward to hearing from you. Be relentless!”

Division 1 coaches are not allowed to send recruiting information by mail or email to players before September 1st of their junior year and can not call until July 1st before their senior year.  Typically, if you are on the recruiting radar of a school you will start to receive letters in the first days on the September and telephone calls in the first days of July.  Schools are allowed to send you questionnaires and camp information though before September 1.

As the message from the coach above mentions, you want to be proactive getting your recruiting information in front of coaches by calling them and emailing them.  As a sophomore, you want to make sure that you let a coach know that you are interested in their program and include your camp/tournament schedule for the upcoming summer.  Including your video and profile gives them the “bait” to make sure they take the time to see you play over the summer.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at chris@lacrosserecruits.com.  Also, if anyone can tell me which coach tells you to “Be Relentless,” I will hook them up with Reebok lacrosse gear.

Thanks, Chris

University_of_MichiganLacrosse is the fastest growing sport in America. For the past 10 years or more it has been exploding out of its traditional hotbeds on the East Coast. In states like Utah and Idaho, where there was no lacrosse at all, there are now 20, 30 or maybe even 50 high school teams. In states like Michigan and Ohio, where there were maybe 20 teams a dozen years ago, there are now over 100.

College lacrosse is growing just as quickly. With over 200 varsity teams and more than 300 club teams, there are now opportunities to play lacrosse at every type of college in every corner of the country.

I’m often asked for advice on what it takes to build a good high school program. Great coaching is one obvious answer. A good youth feeder program is another. School, family and community support is also important. Recruiting athletes who are playing other sports like football and soccer in the fall and basketball and wrestling in the winter is a must.

One thing that is often overlooked when building a high school program is the culture of the team. The best teams have everything I listed already, but they also have built-in expectations of playing at the next level. Most, if not all, of the players on those teams expect to play lacrosse (or one of their other sports) in college. They take their athletic participation very seriously because it’s fun, yes, but also because they understand what playing team sports can mean to their futures.

I’m not going to get into all of the possible benefits of playing a sport in college. There are too many to list here. Instead, I’m going to give you a few ideas on how to build that culture I mentioned on your high school team. If you are a coach, captain or booster, here are some things you can do:

1. Research summer and fall camp opportunities for your players. What camps should they attend based on their needs and skill level?
2. Get to know the recruiting process. Talk to high school lacrosse coaches at established programs for their advice (good high school coaches should be helpful through the process, but not controlling).
3. Talk to college coaches about the recruiting process to get their perspective. What are they looking for in a player? How should players contact them?
4. Get to know as many college coaches, at all levels, as you can. Invite some of them to come to events to speak to your team’s players and parents about recruiting and college lacrosse opportunities.
5. Film every game! Not only is the single most useful tool for improving your team, but it’s also very valuable for putting together recruiting videos for your players.
6. Watch college games as often as possible. Whether it’s the latest Virginia vs. Syracuse game or the local college club team game, expose yourself and your players to college lacrosse as much as possible. Record games on TV and show them to the team weekly.
7. Invite college players to speak to the team about their experience.

These are just a few things you can do to start building a culture on your team that leads to more players aspiring to play at the next level. It will help your players individually, and it will make a huge difference for your team.

Good Luck!

John Paul
Michigan Lacrosse

Read more from Coach Gafner at www.coachgafner.com

First of all a goalie has to have a passion for the position if you want them to be good.  They have to want it for themselves.  Because, some teams put the bigger and slow kid in the net, hat is not what you want to do.  I like to tell the kids that goalie is the most important position, because it is.  The goalie controls so much of the game.  I want someone in net that has good vision, is loud, can communicate well, can pass well, and is not afraid of getting hit by the ball.

Last year we didn’t have a goalie for JV so, I had to convince one of the kids to play.  I talked to the team asking the kids who wanted to have the biggest impact on the team should give it a try.  We had one kid step up and he has been getting better ever since.

I had someone ask me how to approach warm-up.  It all depends on the amount of time you have.  But, planning this out is the coach’s job.  The first step is to start passing and making the passes longer.  This way you can work on clears.  Having one you’re your players jogging around so the goalie can pass to different areas of the field.  Then you go into the cage to take shots.  Take shot high, middle, low, on both sites.  When goalie is taking shots, you have to remember to take shots in all areas of field where a shot can come from.  This way they are warmed up for all the different shots that happen in a game.  Another key note is that who ever is doing the shooting needs to not rip them as hard as they can.  This way you build up your goalies confidence.

Talk to a couple older goalies to see what they like.  Every goalie is different. 

Here are a couple of videos that I want my goalies to watch to get better.

YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image  YouTube Preview Image

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

Let’s think about it.  The game starts with a face-off, so who ever win it get the ball to start with it and set the tone of the game early.  And if you don’t play the face-off right you can get brunt early for a goal in under 10 seconds.  And let’s face it no team wants to be down 0-1 after 10 seconds into a game.  What is why practicing face-offs as a team is so important.

I don’t have a rule but the way I’m approaching face-off this year is to have a face-off guy for each middie line.  I think I will have four or five middie lines so; I will have four or five face-off specialist.  Now, with my team we had two returning players that did the job from last year and I help two guys on the JV team get better at face-offs.  So, they will remain my four guys.  If you are starting a team or don’t know who your guys are, have a competition for the spots after practice or during practice.  Tell them how important it is to the team and if they win how they will be on the field more.  Kids will want to do it.  I have seen some long stick that can take a face-off because they are quick and if they lose what better way to stop a fast break than to have a long stick on ball right a way.

After you get your guys picked for the season, it is a good idea for them to practice face-off four to five times a week.  Maybe one or two times with the whole team.  That why they are always getting better.  The thing about face-off is that if you win you control the ball more. Than leads to more scoring chances and more less time on defense, two things that will give you team a better chance to win.  Of these guys each of them should have their own move, if you can.  They are many different face-off moves.  I attached two video I found that work.  The reason that you have each kid have their own move is then you can adjust to the other teams top face-off guy.  Now my number one guy is good at all the moves, so he adjusts on his own.  And if he can’t beat that guy, he knows which one of the other guys on our team is the best shot to win the face-off, because they have been practicing against the same moves in practices.  I let this senior be in charge off the face-off department because his passion for winning them is second to none.  He is team players so, if he can’t win the face-off he lets someone else try.

Last, if you are having a hard time of winning the face-offs in a game.  Try two things.  First, get a guy that is going to be physical out there.  Some face-off guys like to be so quick that getting hit isn’t fun all the time.  Plus it wears that guy out while the physical guy doing the hitting likes it and wants to keep doing it.  Second, try putting a long stick on the guy and play defense right way.  Yes, you lose the face-off but, you don’t give up easy goals or fast breaks.  You team defense is in better position this way.

I’m sure you know after every goal there is a face-off, so start practicing them to give your team a better advantage in the game.  And to think it only takes about 10-15 minutes a day, and the rest of the team can do something else.

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

Every year tames have tryouts for the team the first week of the season. This is an important step in make your schools team better. Some teams that don’t do so well don’t have tryout because they have a hard time getting kids to play and investing a large amount of money into the sport. If there are 60 spots on the team and you have 40 come to tryouts then you have no choice you take everyone that came. But, if 85 kids come out you then take the top 60 kids. Or whoever each coach handles cuts. I might have to make a couple cuts this year but, won’t know until March 9th.

The more success one team has the more kids want to play. So, how do you get more kids to tryout before the season starts? I think the best thing to do if your school isn’t into lacrosse is getting the kids informed. You can do this many different ways. Hold a meeting about the game and shoe a tape of the game. Bring equipment to the meeting and have players on the team show them tricks. The average kid that shows up will be interested in playing. Lacrosse is a cool sport to play and looks like a lot of fun. But, the problem is after you get them hooked.

That problem is money. If you can make it easier on the patents pocket book then, you will be able to get more kids to play on your team. You have to have a lot of patent support and are willing to do a lot of fundraising. To make it cheaper for new players to play lacrosse. Buying used pads isn’t always the key.

Then after you hold this meeting do a lot of following up to make sure the kids are still interested and are going to play. Then when tryouts happen you will have more kids than expected. Yeah, it would not be fun to make cuts as a coach, but your team will be better because you have better players. Why do you think the larger schools are better at sports? Because they have more kids to choose from to make their team.

I spend a lot of time in the off season on trying to promote lacrosse in my area. My passion for the game doesn’t just take place during the season. I want people to at least try to play lacrosse, because I feel they will like it. And the more people that like it and know about lacrosse the more people tryout for the team. And I hope that number goes up for every team this year.

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

Coaching is not a one man job.  I don’t care if your name is Dave Pietramala (Johns Hopkins’ Coach) or Jim Berkman (Salisbury’s Coach) you can’t do it alone.  That goes for any level of coaching.  If you want to win or be more productive the more qualified coaches the better.  Think of every good team in college or pro sports they have coaches for offenses and defense, some even more.  The big college programs and professional teams have different helpers doing extra tasks to bring players water.  As a result the best way to get better at something is to watch the best and apply that to your team.

Last year when I knew I was going to coach for the first time, the first mission was to see if my friends that I understood and played sports could help me out.  One wanted to help out right away, his name was Randall Palmer.  He played football in high school and had free time after work.  He was excited to say the least.  Then my next goal was to get my other friend to Cory Spence, who will post on here now and then, to coach with me too.  He has played football and basketball in high school.  When Randall and Cory said they were going to help when they could I knew it was a good thing for the team.  For many different reasons, first they understood sports and knew that the boys had to be productive if they wanted to get better.  Second, they were willing to learn the game of lacrosse from scratch.  Third, I trusted them with the boys if I wasn’t there.  That is important, when looking for helpers/coaches you want to make sure you can trust them.  Since they are going to be around the boys and parents hear everything from kids and every choice you make get analyzed.

I didn’t have time before the season to teach them much about the game.  So, if you can get to your new coaches or helper before the season that will make things a lot easier.  One thing I think this past summer was take the US Lacrosse Level 1 Coaching Clinic.  I would suggest, no matter what level if you are a coach you should take that.  It was great to be around a bunch of coaches and level from some of the best was a neat experience and will help your program a lot.

When our practices started last year I set up drills and had Randall and Cory run them.  I would give them things to watch for so that they were still helping the player progress.  An example would be, on ground ball drills I wanted the guys to get after players to have two hands on their stick at all times and for good body position.  That way I could do more coaching during the drills and they could make sure the guys are being productive.  Plus they were learning on the job.  Then towards the end of drills I would go setup the next drill and when I was ready I would call them over and do the same process again. 

Something else to think about is what your new coach’s backgrounds was in or even yours, because that can play a factor.  As the season went on we needed to get away from the basics so since I played attack I would work with the offense and Randal and Cory would work with the defense.  I would explain what needed to happen at first.  With both Randal and Cory have sports background they knew how the basics of defense to JV players, and did a great job. 

As the season went on I asked my high school goalie and good friend to come help out a couple of times.  He did and that made a huge difference.  Then I got a another friend to help out and be just a helper, that was nice because that just saved me a lot of time from doing things that wasted time during practice.  And as the season went on the things fell into place and the team started to improve their skills just like my little coaching staff.      

I tell you my story to verify that fact that anyone can coach if they have passion for the game.  I hope this helps you get more people or friends to help coach lacrosse with you. 

Coaching is hard enough, get help.  It will make a difference, trust me.  If you put in the same passion to coach your coaches as you do you players.  It will make your life easier and your players will develop faster.

Check out more at www.coachgafner.com

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