Inside the Mind of a Field Hockey Recruiter

Ever wish people had thought bubbles above their heads so you could tell what they're really thinking? Like that friend you’re still not quite sure is your friend…the teacher you just can’t get a read on…and of course, college recruiters and coaches. 

Ainslee Lamb, coach and vice president of field hockey for College Connection, one of the nation’s top organizations for field hockey recruiting, gave us an insider’s perspective on the recruiting process. Here's her take on some of the critical elements:

YOUR VIDEO

While You May Be Thinking:

I’m going to make this great video of my field hockey career, starting with pretty good plays and building up to my best moments.

The Recruiter is Probably Thinking:

This athlete should be WOWing me with the best moments from the start! This had better get good in the next couple of seconds, or I’m turning it off.

Instead...Stand out from the pack by treating your highlight reel like it’s a movie trailer. Recruiters are reviewing hundreds of athlete videos each season, so capturing attention and proving your skill in the first 30 seconds is critical.

And keep it short – 5 minutes, tops: a quick intro (name, graduation year, and number), then lead with your best clips, followed by a list of accolades and contact information. PRO TIP: Make it easy for recruiters to find you in the video by adding an arrow that follows your movement on the field.

HANDLING A BAD CALL

While You May Be Thinking: 

Whyyyyy…on the same day a recruiter finally came to see me play?!

The Recruiter is Probably Thinking: 

Hmmm…I wonder how this player reacts when things don’t go her way.

Instead...Remember to always be "on." Recruiters and coaches aren’t just watching for skill – they are observing your character, attitude, and sportsmanship on and off the field, before, during and after the match. How are you arriving at the field? Are you focused and tuned in, or distracted and acting out? How do you react when a bad call is made? Or after a loss? How do you interact with your coach and teammates? You never know when a coach or recruiter is watching.

REACHING OUT

While You May Be Thinking: 

I’m going to write this awesome email, telling the coach all about my love for field hockey and my most impressive achievements.

The Recruiter is Probably Thinking: 

I have a hundred other emails to read. Please be brief or you'll lose me!

Instead...It's important to get to the point. Making it as easy as possible for coaches to link to your athlete profile and view your highlight reel will go a long way. (Also keep in mind that if they have to jump through hoops to watch your video - like entering a password - they may not take the time to watch!) Ainslee also suggests classifing yourself by year of graduation, instead of current class year, since coaches recruit their incoming classes by graduation year and it determines how much interaction they can have with you. This also helps to avoid confusion if videos are used over multiple recruiting periods. 

NAVIGATING FOLLOW-UP

While You May Be Thinking:

The coach never responded to my email! Maybe I should re-send it.

The Recruiter is Probably Thinking:

Why won’t this player stop spamming me with duplicate emails?

Instead...Email is a great way to communicate with coaches! In doing so, remember that each one should be personalized, have a purpose and bring new information to the table.

You should also remember that coaches are contacted by hundreds of athletes and won't be able to respond to each one. If you're not hearing from a specific coach or school, it might be time to shift your focus to those who are responding so you can maximize your recruiting experience.

Also, keep in mind that there are rules regulating contact between coaches and high school freshmen and sophomores. If you want to establish contact with a coach during the first two years of high school, direct that coach to follow up with your high school or club coach, and provide that contact information. 

WHEN SELECTING EVENTS TO ATTEND:

While You May Be Thinking:

I feel like I have to attend every camp, clinic, and networking event in the country to get noticed!

The Recruiter is Probably Thinking:

If I hear of a good player, I'll find them! I understand that it's expensive for players to attend showcases and camps, that's why I try to attend as many as I can. 

Instead...Know that with the cost and time commitment, it can be very challenging to attend every event, and may not be necessary. Be strategic about how you spend your time. As a freshman or sophomore, try to attend events where you know there will be a big turnout of coaches and recruiters. As you head into junior and senior year, begin to narrow your focus, attending events specific to the colleges and universities you're targeting. 

WANT MORE HELP?

For more resources, tips on creating your video, and advice on navigating the recruiting process, head over to College Connection. College Connection experts have 15+ years of experience providing recruiting support to athletes like you, and can provide a full-service experience all in one place! 

Completely stressed out even thinking about the recruiting process? Click here to take a break and peruse the ultimate field hockey holiday gift guide.