The coronavirus pandemic has created many obstacles for college coaches when it comes to getting a look at high school players they are looking to add to their program. For the class of 2021, their is a high level of urgency to find other ways to view players due to the fact this would normally be the time that they are being recruited by college coaches. The traditional way of going to high school games and summer league tournaments won’t be happening this year which means that coaches will have to heavily rely on video from previous seasons to evaluate players.
Tanya Kotowicz, who is the head women’s lacrosse coach at Quinnipiac said that “The safety and health of everyone is priority right now which has challenged our staff to be adjustable and creative with our recruiting and maintaining relationships. What we can’t control right now does not take up our time but our personal growth, program growth, and growth as a staff has been our focus. We want players to do the same – be adjustable, get creative, and commit to getting better as a player and teammate. These times are different right now but it’s all about mindset.”
Stony Brook head women’s lacrosse coach, Joe Spallina advises aspiring college lacrosse players not to get discouraged. Spallina said that “While there is this NCAA mandated dead period, it will not stop coaches evaluating recruits through film. My advice to athletes is that the biggest thing with film is that more isn’t always better. Film will allow coaches to be more critical and thorough. Also think– high school and club coaches will rely more on character references.”
Coach John Odierna who is the associate head coach at Manhattan College is going to make the best of the situation.
“I’d say the restrictions are challenging but everyone is in the same boat so we need to make the best of it. We just need to lean on our network to help with learn about recruits and stay in the know.”
It is going to be important for players to send coaches film from games and tournaments so that they have some footage to evaluate them.
“The best thing that players can do right now is send any updates they have academically and if they have any film, they should send that stuff along so we can at least evaluate them through that” said Odierna.
Recruiting a player isn’t just about the skills that they show on the field, it is also important to get to know a players character and their competitiveness. While the relationship between college coaches and high school coaches are always important when it comes to getting information on a player, this year college coaches will have to really rely on high school coaches to get information on players since they are unable to meet with them face to face.
Jordan Stevens, the associate head coach of Cornell’s Men’s Lacrosse team, says that the relationship with anyone who influences a recruit is always important and they will continue to do their best to learn from them about the players they are looking to bring into their program.
“Relationships with anyone that influences a recruit are always vital. All coaches are important to speak to and get to know, and often times a high school coach is able to speak to a recruits competitiveness, resilience, and character more so than others. We do our best to find out who the recruit looks to as a role model, mentor and teacher, and learn from them what we need to in order to see if this person would be a good fit and success when immersed in our culture.”
Stevens also says that the use of video calls to connect with the players has increased, but they will still continue to stay consistent with what they prioritize when evaluating players.
“While the use of video calls and conferencing is increasing due to the COVID pandemic and NCAA Dead period, we plan to keep our priorities in the recruiting process consistent. We evaluate a recruits potential based on their competitiveness, resilience and character.”
One thing that will be more difficult is trying to develop a relationship and a connection with the players due to the lack of face to face interactions.
“Building a strong relationship takes time, and even though that will likely be more challenging, we will do our best to be adaptive and progressive in order to find the most effective way to get this done.”