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First unofficial visit

LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
My daughter is a rising sophomore lacrosse player who played varsity this spring for a top 20 ranked team (nationally.) She plans to play in college and has already gotten some D3 coaches reaching out to her from tournaments this summer (I think they can contact players at any time right?).

She will be playing in a one-day clinic next week being run by six NESCAC coaches and she wrote each of them a note saying she was excited to meet them and that she has a 4.0 at a top private etc. Well several wrote back saying they were looking forward to seeing her and one said they could meet her and do a tour beforehand because it's close by the event the next day.

To be honest I didn't expect to have her hear back from anyone because she just finished freshman year but now we're going to meet this NESCAC coach. Should I just tell my daughter to be casual and check out the facilities or should she really be thinking of this as a time to ask a lot of questions?

Any help would be appreciated.
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Replies to: First unofficial visit

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23385 replies17 threads Senior Member
    She can ask questions. Most D3 coaches don't do a lot of recruiting before senior year but that is probably as much because of the money available (no money available for recruiting) and because most of the top players are still concentrating on D1.

    She'll probably have another opportunity next year (if she goes to the same camp) so no need to try to get every question asked or make any kind of final list.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @twoinanddone why would you think that most of the top players are concentrating on D1? Just curious because many of the really smart top players I know are split between D1 and top D3.

    I agree that she'll have plenty of opportunities next year and the year following so I'm really just wanting her to see the campus and meet the coach (and we would have just settled for visiting campus really) but didn't want to assume the coach was expecting her to be prepared with lots of questions.

    She's mainly using this event and some others this summer that feature multiple NESCAC coaches to see their style and begin to communicate with them, knowing that a lot will likely change in the next two years.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 711 replies70 threads Member
    I think it is good to have 3-4 questions in mind. Our experience with this type of visit was that the coaches did a pretty good job trying to explain everything, so having more than 1 in mind is good because they may have already answered her question if she only has one. Having said that, S asked pretty much the same question or 2 of every coach that he visited or called him. And they all talked for 10 minutes after he asked the question. They are used to carrying the conversation. Most of these coaches could carry an hour conversation with a lamppost.

    If she really likes this school, you might want to try to get a visit in somewhere else first. S kind of surprised me with a couple things he said his first visit. They weren't awful, but probably didn't give the best or most accurate reflection on his personality and drive. At a minimum I would talk through some of the questions you expect and how best to answer them. Having said that S told one coach he didn't know if he could see himself living in the city where the school is located, and he ended up being the #1 recruit for that coach. So some of the blunders can be overcome. The coaches know they are dealing with kids who have never been through the process before, so they may say some things that aren't really dealbreakers, just a poorly thought through answer by a 15 year old who isn't used to being interviewed.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 711 replies70 threads Member
    Also remember that they are recruiting her not you. It was hard to do, but for the most part I let S do the talking. I added a bit where needed or when I was asked a question. But I let him carry the conversation.

    You are being interviewed too, but in a very different way. They want to see that you and your kid treat each other respectfully, and that you aren't going to be a know it all PITA that they have to deal with.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Great advice @dadof4kids - I have also been surprised in the past by some things she has said to club or varsity coaches so I agree that it's a good idea to practice a few answers. And I completely hear you on being quiet and letting her talk. She's a rather articulate 15 year old so I think she will be ok - but I might need to pack a few lollipops for my husband to keep him quiet!
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 711 replies70 threads Member
    I feel for you H. It's hard not to brag about our kids, it's what we do! And I have someone FINALLY interested in my stories about how great my kid is, and I am supposed to sit there quietly and let S tell the story in a way that downplays the accomplishment?!? My tongue was bleeding by the time those meetings were over!

    In all seriousness, there were a couple times that I did speak up to clarify a few things, especially about his training. The coaches all were indirectly trying to figure out if he could handle the switch to college level intensity, and S was usually oblivious the "real question" behind what the coach was asking. So when that happened, I would say something, or say "tell them about ...." to get him to give the part of the answer that they really cared about. But by and large if it wasn't important I just kept my mouth shut.

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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23385 replies17 threads Senior Member
    @twoinanddone why would you think that most of the top players are concentrating on D1?

    Because historically that's how it's been.

    Until this year the D1 schools had commits during sophomore year, and some D1 teams were even full before the recruits started their junior year in high school. On the lists of committed players, there were hundreds committed to D1 schools and maybe 100 committed to all the D3 schools (and there are twice as many D3 programs as D1). Now the D 1&2 coaches can't even contact recruits (about recruiting) until junior year. They can't talk recruiting at summer camps and tournaments. The D3 coaches now have the advantage, but the top players are still going to want to talk to Syracuse and Maryland and Duke before they decide on D1 or D3 (or even the lowly D2). Many of the players who are targeting D3 schools will still want to look at Yale and Brown and Penn before they commit and they can't do that until they are juniors. The D3 coaches may want to see where top sophomores Heather and Megan and Taylor end up before making offers to other sophomores.
    Just curious because many of the really smart top players I know are split between D1 and top D3.

    If a player is undecided between D1 and D3, they can't really do anything to help them decide before junior year because they can't have the discussions with the D1 coaches until them. They can rule out D1 and just go with D3, but if they are considering both, they have to wait.

    My daughter got a lot of recruiting calls her senior year from top LACs looking for good players with good grades. By senior year, the D1 schools had moved on to the next recruiting class (and 4 years ago, many had moved on by sophomore year).

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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @twoinanddone yes I hear you and knew about the rule changes. I think many girls are looking for D1 because of the money and maybe the prestige of saying they play D1. At the same time, there are many D3 programs that could beat D1 schools. The good news is there's lots of opportunities for strong players and starting early at least can help clarify that for a student.

    We are just starting this process for my daughter but her older teammates from high school went through a few years ago and several were Ivy commits in 9th grade. I am trying to encourage my daughter to think about Ivy but I'm not sure I can sell it, even if it means she has to wait till senior year to confirm something. The good news about that I suppose is that she will know more about what she wants from school and be in a better position to make an informed choice.

    Thanks for the input!

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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23385 replies17 threads Senior Member
    At the same time, there are many D3 programs that could beat D1 schools.

    Many of the top D3 players could be on top D1 teams but head to head D3 teams are much smaller than D1 and while there are one or two teams that schedule games each year, a full season would show that D3 teams would not hold up to a D1 schedule. Those D1 teams are BIG girls. In the fall most teams have a little bit of cross division play but it's hard to judge based on scrimmages. My D's division 2 team can easily beat a nearby D1, but the D2 is ranked #5 and the and D1 school is ranked below #50. Even then, those girls are HUGE (we're just fast).

    Anyway, some D3 coaches might be handing out early offers, but I think most will wait to see who is available after the first round of D1 commitments (fall junior year), and I think many girls will want to wait to see if they get any D1 offers. They may ultimately go D3, but they want to see if they have a shot at Penn or Maryland or Syracuse.

    Just my guess. This is really the first year of the new recruiting rules (because there were so many exceptions last year) so no one really knows, but that's my guess. Also, there has been a ton (TON) of coaches leaving their schools lately. I think people are getting a little shy of committing as sophomores to have different coaches 3 years later. Harvard's coach is leaving. I think there are 20 or more schools looking for coaches right now.
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  • planitplanit 174 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I definitely appreciate the dilemma--if she asks a bunch of hard-hitting questions, does she look cocky, as if she is assuming this coach is definitely going to want her? If she doesn't ask anything, she doesn't look interested. We never met a coach who was at a loss for how to talk to a recruit or potential recruit, though; they are generally easy to talk to. They seemed to like questions like, "What do you look for in a recruit?" "What does your recruiting timeline look like?" "What does your practice schedule look like?" "Do your recruits generally live together?" (This one came up in every meeting with a coach; if their recruits all live together, they were all happy to tell us.) If your daughter is interested in a notoriously demanding major, she can ask if they have any players in her major and how they manage the workload. I am sure they will have plenty to talk about, so I wouldn't sweat it too much. If your daughter is not a natural conversationalist, of course, it wouldn't hurt to practice a little and have some answers ready to the obvious questions.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks @planit those are some good basic questions. I think the recruiting timeline is a good one because it will help her know what to expect.

    She’s playing on a 2020 team this summer even though she’s a 2021 (long story) and has already gotten a D3 coach emailing her about starting the recruiting process. They think she’s a rising junior and we will need to clarify but still it surprised me to a D3 school would be going after a rising junior anyway.

    We really just wanted to get her feet wet, so to speak, and see a campus so I’m hopeful the bonus of meeting a coach will be mostly for fun.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23385 replies17 threads Senior Member
    They think she’s a rising junior

    You need to make sure it is really clear what class she's in. The D3 coaches may not care, but this information will be available to coaches (tournaments and the iwlca put out binders with the players' info) and many will refer to it in the fall when the D1 coaches can contact a junior but not a sophomore.
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  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase 538 replies3 threads Member
    @LMC9902,

    Good work on the coach communications and the opportunity to meet one coach and school visit. We did several unofficial meetings with coaches during sophomore year, and it was helpful on a number of fronts. It was much easier for them to meet with coaches when it counted with that sophomore year experience under their belts. It also was great experience for job interviews down the road. You should plan to stay with your daughter for the meeting (go light on the talking, however), and then you can gently give her a critique afterwards.

    This starts the kids thinking about college. You have to put yourself in their heads. Your daughter may think she is just a "little old freshman," still getting used to being in high school. Depending on the kid, it is hard to think about the next step when you have so much more of high school ahead of you.

    Because we started early for D3, there were a number of instances when coaches misunderstood the year of graduation. If in fact the coach has the grad year for your daughter wrong, chances are that the coach has done the same thing previously for others. My guess is that the coach will make it seem like she knew all the while, and you won't even be aware when she realizes the right grad year.

    One way to finesse things (and really you should do it anyway) is to have several copies of your college resume or CV at the ready for the NESCAC camp. The very first entry on the CV is going to be your daughter's school and expected year of graduation (along with GPA and class rank if applicable). As soon as you sit down to talk with the coach, hand over a copy of the CV and say, "here, this is for you." The coach will immediately know when your daughter expects to graduate.

    @planit gives some great questions that your daughter should have prepared. One thing I would prepare for is the short elevator speech. Have your daughter practice out loud the answer to the question "tell me about yourself." If recruiting progresses, you will want to ask more specific questions about being a recruit.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thank you @gointhruaphase for your thoughtful reply! I hadn’t thought about a CV but it makes total sense and we can put one together tomorrow before heading to her event.

    I will be curious to see how she handles herself but I suspect she’ll do ok because she has a sister four years her senior so she has been visiting and talking about colleges for years now - she’s just been in the background before.

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  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase 538 replies3 threads Member
    @LMC9902, I am sure there are many folks who would like to know how the camp and visit went. Let us know if and when you have something to report.
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  • LMC9902LMC9902 255 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thanks @gointhruaphase I am happy to report back. Both the visit and prospect camp went great! We spent about 45 minutes with the assistant coach because the head coach was with a 2019 but that was fine.

    The assistant coach was amazing and she gave us tons of information. My daughter had sent a CV with links to film as well as stats and upcoming tournaments ahead of time. I think she had watched the film and also told my daughter to text or email games from a recent tournament where she “showed well”. She said don’t buy film, just tell her the game and something like “I had two goals and a great redefend in the second half of X game”. So from now on we will do that.

    The camp was great too and my daughter really liked all coaches but came away with two she thought were best for her style of play and preferred offensive philosophy. She was also excited to see that she was one of a small number of 2021’s but she was a strong player against 2020’s and 2019’s.

    All in all a good investment and we will keep doing these smaller camps over the next two years.
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