So you have been playing field hockey in your entire youth career, whether it was at club or high school level, and now you want to play in college? This recruiting guide will help you move in the right direction to get recruited to play college field hockey.
Where Do I Start To Get Recruited To Play College Field Hockey?
I have had the privilege of helping over 150 field hockey players secure scholarships to play at American colleges in the past six years.
I'm excited to share some invaluable insights with you on how to get recruited for college field hockey.
For some athletes, it’s a dream to just play for any team in college. For others, it’s a goal to receive a field hockey scholarship at the best school possible.
How To Start?
If you're wondering where to begin, this link offers a comprehensive overview of the recruiting process.
However, it's worth noting that this is a general outline and not a step-by-step guide tailored to your specific needs.
That’s why I have outlined five essential steps that will bring you closer to realizing your dream of playing field hockey at a college level.
Step1: Evaluate Your Chances Of Getting Recruited
The first step in your journey to playing college field hockey is to evaluate your chances of getting recruited.
It's crucial to understand that not everyone makes it to the collegiate level. In the United States, only about 10% of high school field hockey players are recruited to play in college. Knowing where you stand in this competitive landscape is important.
Be Honest With Yourself
The first rule of thumb is to be brutally honest with yourself. Overestimating your skills can lead to disappointment, while underestimating them can result in missed opportunities.
Take a hard look at your abilities, your stats, and your level of commitment to the sport.
Your coaches have seen you play and know your strengths and weaknesses.
They can provide invaluable feedback on where you might fit in a college program. Don't hesitate to ask them for their honest input; their experience can guide you in setting achievable goals.
Seek Expert Advice
If you're serious about getting recruited, consider seeking advice from recruiting experts like ourselves at Plus31 Sports.
We can offer an unbiased, professional evaluation of your chances of playing at the collegiate level. This can include an assessment of your skills, a review of your game footage, and recommendations for colleges that might be a good fit for you.
Why It's Important
Understanding your realistic chances of getting recruited helps you focus your efforts more effectively.
It allows you to target schools and programs that match your skill level, increasing the likelihood of not just getting recruited, but also succeeding once you're there.
It's about finding the right fit—academically, athletically, and socially—for a fulfilling college experience.
Step 2: Doing Research
By now, you should know if you have what it takes to get recruited to play field hockey. This is only a start. Now it’s time for research.
You must understand the differences and what to expect at each level. With over 300 field hockey programs, this is more like an elimination process.
Ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your list of schools that are a good fit:
Level of Hockey Program: Can I play at the NCAA D1, D2, or D3 level?
Academic Standards: Do I have the right GPA or SAT scores to play at this level or go to this university?
Study Program: Does the school offer the academic program I’m interested in?
Location: Is the school in a location where you would like to go?
Costs: What are the tuition and other associated costs? What kind of scholarship would I need to make it financially possible?
Playing Style: Does the team's playing style suit how I would like to play?
Based on these factors, you can create a list of target schools.
Research The Recruiting Process
Now you have a target list of universities, it’s important to understand how the recruiting process works, and when to start.
Recruitment Timeline: Know when coaches can start recruiting you and what you can do beforehand. You can learn everything about it here.
NCAA Rules and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with NCAA guidelines, so you’re well-prepared to be recruited.
Administration: Prepare yourself with all the administrative work, such as collecting transcripts and signing up with the Eligibility Center.
Having done your research, you're now well-equipped to move on to the next crucial phase: building your athletic profile and creating a highlight video that showcases your skills.
Step 3: Creating A Highlight Reel And Recruiting Profile
Creating your highlight reel and recruiting profile is like building your personal brand in the recruiting process. This step is crucial to receive coaches’ interest.
A prime example of an exceptional highlight reel is Lauren Storey’s. An international field hockey recruit from New Zealand, Lauren is set to play in the NCAA D1 in 2024.
Her highlight reel showcases a range of skills, from dribbling and passing to goals, all captured in a professionally edited video.
Your recruiting profile serves as a comprehensive resume, offering coaches a snapshot of who you are as an athlete and a student.
It should include your personal information, academic achievements, athletic stats, and references.
The Importance of Standing Out
Coaches don’t have lots of time. They receive hundreds of emails per week from recruits, so it's crucial that your materials not only meet the standard but exceed it.
By investing time and effort into creating a compelling highlight reel and a detailed recruiting profile, you're doing more than just applying for a spot on a team; you're making a compelling case for why you should be the chosen one.
Step 4: Connect With Coaches
After you've done your research and created your highlight reel and recruiting profile, the next crucial step is to connect with coaches. Building strong relationships with coaches can significantly impact your chances of being recruited.
Here's how to go about it:
Emailing Coaches: Your First Point of Contact
The initial contact with a coach often starts with an email. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself, express your interest in their program, and share your highlight reel and recruiting profile.
Crafting a compelling email is an art in itself, and it's vital to get it right to make a lasting impression.
For a detailed guide on how to email a college coach effectively, refer to this blog post.
Leverage a Recruiting Agency: Plus31 Sports
If you're looking for a more direct route to coaches, consider using a recruiting agency like Plus31 Sports.
With an extensive network and relationships with coaches across various levels, we can introduce you directly to coaches who are looking for athletes with your skill set. This can be a game-changer in your recruitment process.
Attend Camps and Showcases
Camps and showcases offer another excellent opportunity to connect with coaches. These events allow you to demonstrate your skills in a live setting, receive direct feedback, and even get scouted on the spot.
They also provide a chance to experience the coaching style and team dynamics, giving you valuable insights into whether a program is the right fit for you.
Why Connecting with Coaches Matters
Connecting with coaches is more than just a procedural step; it's about building relationships that could define your college field hockey experience.
Coaches are not just looking for great athletes; they're looking for team players, leaders, and individuals who will fit into their program's culture.
By taking the time to connect in a meaningful way, you're not just increasing your chances of recruitment—you're setting the stage for a successful college career.
Step 5: Making Decisions:
Once you've connected with coaches and perhaps even received some scholarship offers, you're entering the final, yet critical, stages of your college field hockey recruitment process.
This is the time to make some significant decisions that will shape your college experience and potentially your future career. Here's what you need to know:
Evaluate the offer carefully, considering not just the financial aspects but also how well the school and program align with your academic and athletic goals.
Don't hesitate to discuss the terms and seek adjustments if necessary. Remember, this is a mutual commitment, and it's crucial that both parties are satisfied with the arrangement.
Verbal Commitment: A Preliminary Pact
A verbal commitment is an agreement between you and the coach that you will attend their school and play for their program.
While not legally binding, it's a significant step that signals your intent to join the team. This commitment is usually followed by the signing of the National Letter of Intent (NLI).
Signing the NLI: Making It Official
The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a legal document that formalizes your commitment to attend a particular school and participate in its athletic program.
Signing the NLI is a momentous occasion, as it officially secures your spot on the team and any scholarship offers that have been extended to you.
Officially Applying to the University
Even after verbal commitments and signing the NLI, you still need to complete the official university application process.
This includes submitting all required academic records, standardized test scores, and any other materials the university requires for admission. Make sure you meet all deadlines and criteria to ensure a smooth transition into your chosen program.
Conclusion and Summary
Congratulations on taking the time to educate yourself about the college field hockey recruitment process.
Whether you're aiming for a scholarship at a top-tier school or simply looking to continue your passion for the sport at the collegiate level, the journey ahead is both exciting and challenging.
Remember, the key to a successful recruitment process lies in preparation, self-assessment, and meaningful engagement with coaches and programs that align with your goals.
With dedication, hard work, and the right guidance, your dream of playing college field hockey is entirely within reach.
Take the Next Step with Plus31 Sports
I've had the privilege of helping over 150 field hockey players secure scholarships and spots on college teams in the past six years.
At Plus31 Sports, we specialize in guiding athletes like you through the maze of college recruitment.
From evaluating your skills and connecting you with the right coaches to helping you navigate scholarship negotiations, we offer a personal service tailored to your unique needs.
Ready to get recruited?
Fill out your details below to find out how Plus31 Sports can help you realize your dream of playing field hockey at the collegiate level.