The Lacrosse Goalie's Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Recruited | Lax Goalie Rat

The Lacrosse Goalie’s Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Recruited

Guide-To-Getting-Recruited

Many youngsters have dreams of playing goalie for a division I lacrosse program.

As you know I wasn’t recruited to play lacrosse, but in my years of coaching I’ve studied what it takes to be recruited and I’ve helped dozens of goalies get into the lacrosse programs in top universities.

I’ve had in-depth interview with current NCAA D1 lacrosse goalies discussing their experience in the recruiting process.

I’ve also spoken to several coaches at lacrosse goalie camps for an insider perspective on what they’re looking for when it comes to goalie recruiting videos.

Based on what I’ve learned I put together a step-by-step guide on what it takes to get recruited to play goalie on a college team.

Work Hard in the Classroom

The first question every NCAA D1 coach asks is: “How are your grades?” and “What’s your SAT (or ACT) score?”

If you have to respond with “not good” or some series of excuses, you’re in trouble.

To be recruited to a top lacrosse school you need to ensure you’re academically eligible and many top lacrosse programs are academically challenging schools (Brown, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins).

The difference between a 4.0 GPA and a 3.0 GPA is that you’re eligible to be recruited by about twice as many schools!

Coaches will not spend their time recruiting a goalie who is not academically eligible to get into the school.

At some schools coaches have the ability to aid in the admission process if they really want the player. But still there can’t be a huge discrepancy.

So make sure you’re working as hard in the classroom as you are on the lacrosse field.

Be A Good Person

For many coaches the recruiting of a goalie (or any other lacrosse player) is very simple.

It boils down to these questions:

  • Are they a good kid?
  • Do they treat their family, teammates, and coaches with respect?
  • Do they truly love the sport of lacrosse?
  • Are they willing to commit themselves to being a college athlete?

Notice there is nothing on that list about save technique or save percentage. Before you even consider entering the recruiting process take a look at yourself in the mirror and make sure you can answer “yes” to every bullet point listed above.

Only after coaches have weeded out goalies who don’t meet the grades and don’t meet the bullet points above do they start to evaluate based on talent.

Which leads to my next point…

Be A Great Goalie

The easiest way to get recruited as a lacrosse goalie is to BE a great lacrosse goalie. It’s that simple.

Work on your shot saving technique, get into great shape, and be the leader of your team. There’s plenty of articles here on LaxGoalieRat that focus on improving your technique and your goalie game. So absorb all the material and then get out there on the field and work on your game.

Everything else I’m going to cover in this post is valuable, but not nearly as important as this.

Be a great goalie and the majority of your recruiting will take care of itself.

Getting Recruited to Play Lacrosse Goalie

Make a Great Recruiting Video to Show Coaches

Once you’ve put significant effort into becoming a great goalie, you’ll want to put together a video that shows off your skills.

This is a highlight tape 3-5 minutes in length that shows your goalie skills and is meant to initiate the conversation between you and the coach.

Here are 15 tips for creating a lacrosse goalie recruiting video that shows off your talents in the best way to university coaches –

1. Include a brief spoken intro during 1st 10 seconds

Coaches want to know that you are a good kid.

Coaches don’t want players who are a$$wholes and will ruin the vibe of the team.

Including a quick spoken intro prior to showing your lacrosse footage will help communicate your personality and attitude. And hopefully its a good one.

This part doesn’t have to be too long –

“Hi coach, I’m Damon Wilson, a goalie from Santa Rosa, CA. My dream has always been to play goalie for a DI program and I’ve worked hard to get there. I’ve got a 4.0 GPA. I’m a 3 year varsity goalie and I’ve been captain of the team both my junior and senior year. I’m also on the wrestling team. Here’s my highlight reel and I hope to hear from you.”

Film that before practice one day and add it to the beginning of your video to show a little of your personality and let the coach know you’re a good kid.

2. Include some practice footage in addition to game footage 

Coaches are looking for athletes.

With all things being equal, the high school player who is a physically better athlete will get recruited 1st every single time.

In addition to showing game footage, I also recommend that you include about 15-25% (18 to 30 seconds of a 2 min video) footage of you doing drills during practice. Demonstrate your athleticism on video.

Splice in some video you jumping rope, doing the shuttle drill, doing the magic square drill, getting your warmup, etc.

If you don’t know which drills to show, try these advanced drills for goalies or these lax goalie drills.

Including practice footage will not only demonstrate your athleticism but also show you have the strong work ethic that is required to succeed in college lacrosse.

3. Put the best stuff 1st

I’ve spoken with lacrosse goalie coaches at top programs and you wouldn’t believe the number of video submisions they get from high school kids. Lots!

While some coaches swear they watch every submission, I doubt that’s true.

So after your brief 10 second intro, your video needs to lead with your top highlights while you have the coach’s attention.

We don’t save the best for last here. We want 2-3 minutes in length and in event that coaches don’t reach the end of the video we want to ensure they see the top stuff we as goalies have to offer.

So your video should lead with your very best saves.

4. For games, put the camera as high as possible and on a tripod

There’s nothing worse than watching shaky and nauseating video where you can’t see anything.

To film game footage, find the highest spot you can. Climb a hill if you can.

Put your camera (as HD as possible) on a tripod. The cameras on the latest iPhone are more than sufficient to film great footage. Simply get a tripod to connect the iPhone and you’re all set.

The idea is to get the shooter and the goalie in the same frame. There’s nothing worse than watching a video zoomed in on the shooter releasing and missing the goalie’s save off camera.

5. Show the entire play, not just you

Coaches want to see what’s happening in the context of game flow.

Therefore, the video should not just be focused on the goalie. Make sure they can see the entire offense/defense.

That being said, this is a video that’s highlighting your goalie skills. If the video is so far away that you can’t clearly see the goalie, move the camera closer.

Err on the side of showing the goalie clearly, since this video is about demonstrating our goalie ability, but also try to get the play.

6. This is not a music video

This isn’t MTV. Or at least MTV back when they actually played music videos.

Coaches could care less about whether or not your video contains background tunes so don’t worry about adding music.

If you want to add a song, by all means go for it but just ensure its playing at reasonable volume and not blasting.

7. Include Game Sound 

Coaches want to see that you’re a leader of the defense.

If possible, include sound in the highlights that demonstrates the goalie making loud, clear, and crisp calls to communicate to the defense.

Part of being a great goalie is begin a solid communicator and leader of the defense. So make sure that comes through in the video.

8. Show your full diversity of lacrosse goalie skills

Of course, we’re going to show saves. That’s a no brainer.

But I’d also recommend showing different aspects of your game. Include some plays where you:

Saves will be our primary focus of the highlight reel but it’s smart to show off other aspects of your game as well.

9. Include Basic Facts and Contact Information

Anyone who comes across the video should be able to get ahold of you.

Here’s the details I’ll have my goalies list at the beginning AND at end of the video.

  • Recent photo (head shot only)
  • Name: Damon Wilson
  • Email: [email protected]
  • School: Montgomery High School, Class of ’99
  • Year: Sophomore
  • Position: Goalie
  • Club Team: Santa Rosa Lacrosse Club
  • Height: 5’8″
  • Weight: 165 lbs
  • GPA: 4.0 / SAT: 1350
  • Other Sports: Varsity Wresting, Varsity Soccer
  • Awards: 2-time All-American, 4-time All USA West Team
  • Camps Attended: Coach Bill Pilat Goalie School
  • Upcoming Events: Lake Tahoe Tournament June 23rd

If you know a little about video editing you can superimpose this text on the screen when you’re doing your spoken intro. This can be done easily in iMovie on the Mac or Camtasia on a PC. You can also do it within YouTube after you’ve uploaded the video.

Including your test scores and GPA is important because most coaches don’t want to waste their time recruiting a lacrosse goalie who doesn’t have the grades to attend their school.

It’s also important to list any upcoming tournaments or summer camps that you will attend. That way the coach knows if he wants to see you in action he (or a staff member) can attend that event.

10. Highlight Yourself, if necessary

As a goalie, most of the time it’s clear where we are on the video. But given how fast the game of lacrosse moves, it’s not always apparent.

Identify where you are in the action with an arrow, or a circle, or a shadow. Only do so if it’s not clear where you are in the footage.

This also requires some light video editing that can be done in iMovie or Camtasia.

11. Get footage from several different games

Showing clips from only one game gets a little suspicious.

We want to show coaches that the techniques we’re demonstrating are ingrained in who are. And that we’re able to repeat great lacrosse goalie save form shot after shot.

Even average goalies can have great games however great goalies are going to consistently dominate in the crease game after game.

12. Don’t Show Your Dramatic Diving Saves

Every goalie wants to include the clip where they get caught out of position on a cross-crease pass, then make a diving save on a poor shot by the attackman.

Don’t do that.

This is just a lucky save. College players will wait that extra 1/2 second, let you fall to floor and bury the ball in the open net. Even worse this play shows that you were caught out of position.

Focus on including plays where your save technique is fundamentally sound.

13. Show Full Plays

Throughout the video try to avoid showing the save and then immediately cutting to the next play.

Show the full play from the save and you leading the clear or throwing a nice outlet pass.

Now granted you’ll have some highlight clips where the clear isn’t shown and that’s fine. In that case, you can simply cut to the next play.

But throughout the video mix in some clears.

14. Show Diversity

Don’t just include 6v6 saves. Mix in some man down saves.

Make sure you don’t only include one type of save – stick side high for example. Coaches know you’re supposed to make those saves so mix in a full range of save types – off-stick hip, bounce shots, worm burners, stick side low, 1×1 stuffs.

Finally, its always good to show yourself giving up a goal. Or better said how you react when you give up a goal. Coaches want to know that you can shrug it off, hand the ball the official, and confidently bring your defensive together displaying your leadership skills.

Don’t get carried away and show too many goals given up. Remember coaches expect you to make saves. One goal given up on the video will suffice.

15. Keep it Short

Coaches get tons of these videos. They don’t have time to watch full games for each potential goalie.

This goalie should be a highlight clip. About 3 to 5 minutes in length.

Nobody is going to get a scholarship offer simple based on one email and video. The idea of this video is to initiate the conversation between the coach and the goalie. We’re getting our foot in the door.

Get Recruited to Play Lacrosse Goalie

Review other goalies’ highlight reels

This is a great tip for lacrosse goalies who want to make a highlight reel.

Find examples that worked!

If you want to see examples of videos that worked, go on YouTube and search for goalies that you know have made it to the level you’re trying to attain.

Great videos demonstrating the 12 tips above are all over YouTube.

For example, here is the recruiting video for Jack Kelly, current goalie for the Brown University lacrosse team.

Here is another example from Austin Kaut who now plays in the MLL.

Review and then Send Email to Coaches

Once you have put together your video, send it to your high school coach, your parents, and/or players who you trust to get their feedback.

You could also post your highlight video to lacrosse goalie forums like Inside Lacrosse’s Goalie Forum or LaxPower’s forums to see if members can provide some feedback.

You could also send your recruiting tape to the guys at the Lacrosse Network. They have an awesome show dedicated to lacrosse and feature highlight tapes at the end of every show.

If you get the same feedback over and over, perhaps consider making an edit or adding something additional to the video to make it perfect. Or working on that aspect of your goalie game.

Once complete, upload the final version to YouTube or other video hosting site like Vimeo.

Send coaches a LINK to your video along with some introductory text expressing interest to play. Never just send a link, it’s looks like a virus and may never get opened.

For example if I was interested in playing lacrosse at Brown University, I would send this email –

Hi Coach Tiffany / Coach Kirwan / Coach Turner – 

I’m Damon Wilson, goalie, class of ’99. I would love to play goalie for the Brown University lacrosse team. Here is my highlight reel – link. 

This summer I will at the following camps:

  • Camp 1
  • Camp 2
  • Tournament 1

I look forward to any feedback you have. 

Thanks, Damon

I got the names and emails of the Brown Lacrosse coaches on their school’s official website. You should be able to find this information for every university.

Never send mass emails! This is a customized experience and if your email starts off with “Dear Coach” you better be the single greatest goalie on this Earth or your chances of getting recruited are very slim.

Sometimes there is a form for recruits to complete who are interested in playing, so you could send your video and intro message via this method instead of the email.

This should go without saying, please make sure your email address is not childish. If your email address starts with sexybabe8312 or absfordays12, it’s time to head over to Gmail and get a new email address. You’re an adult now, so represent yourself like one.

If you’re a parent reading this for child, the email must come from YOUR CHILD. They’re almost adults now and coaches don’t want to hear from you, they want to hear from the lax goalie himself.

Ask Your High School Coach to Help

Many high school coaches have contacts with the NCAA DI lacrosse coaches.

So if you’re interested in being recruited definitely discuss the decision with your coach.

If you’re unable to get in touch with a specific program using the methods I describe above then often a high school coach can use his contacts and/or position to get the college coach’s attention.

Respond to Coaches

If a coach takes the time to write you back, respond to him!

It seems like common sense and yet I’ve heard many stories of potential recruits not having the common courtesy to respond back once a coach contacts them.

The coach is taking time out of his busy schedule because he thinks you could be a fit for his program. So email him back or return that phone call.

Even if you think that the coach’s school is not a fit for you, respond back to that coach. They’ll understand and move on. But never ignore a coach’s email or call.

Conclusion

Getting recruited to play goalie starts with being a good goalie.

You might be able to put together a good highlight film but once you’re invited for a tryout you’ll need to show the real thing.

Following the 12 tips in this article we can put together a highlight reel that shows all aspects of our lacrosse goalie game. It shows our character, it shows our athleticism, it shows the shot saving technique that we’ve crafted with hours and hours of hard work.

After the video is complete, send it to the head and assistant coaches of the lacrosse programs you’re interested in playing for.

Then get back to work on improving your game!

Until next time! Coach Damon

Any questions? Leave a comment for Coach Damon down below. 

10 thoughts on “The Lacrosse Goalie’s Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Recruited

  1. Hey Long Time blog reader because its always nice to hear another goalie talk about Lacrosse. My question here is I don’t play on a good team but my Coaching staff and multiple outsiders perspective consider my Games, Technique and Save percentage as Good but I feel it is hard for any college coach to think a good goalie can be found on a 2-22 team in two years where i average 40-50 shots on net a game and scores of 3-16 2-22 and 1-21 for our team don’t pad the stat books what can be done to gain traction other than playing club teams or is that my only option currently heading into my Junior year Season.

    1. Hey Brett – Thanks for the comment. Where you are from? I assume its not a lacrosse hotbed. Other than club ball you have prospect camps than perhaps you could attend at colleges you’re interested in attending. I’d recommend emailing coaches of schools you want to attend and find out which events they’ll be at this summer – then attend those events. If those coaches see you play with level competition hopefully your talent will shine through. A lot of this is faith – do well in school, dominate in lacrosse and things will work out. Recruiting is definitely not a perfect science. Hope that helps.

  2. Sorry it’s me again thanks for the response but I have another question l, do college coaches care about what type of hoghschool league your in like if your playing in a really competitive league or just like a meh one.

    1. They’ll want to see you play against good competition but if you’re a good goalie I think you’ll at least get a chance. Edit together your highlight tape (even if its against poorer teams) but ideally show your strong play against good competition. If the coach likes what he sees you’ll get an invite to their summer camp or prospect day or at least they may come see if you play if you’re playing in close proximity. Hope that helps.

  3. Hi I’m a big reader of this blog and it’s really helped me come far in my lacrosse career as a goalie. I’ll give some background before I ask my question though, I’m a junior who just finished his second lacrosse season ever, (both years on varsity) and I have only played goalie ever, which I’ve somehow picked up very well. Now sadly, I wasn’t able to get any film this year although I had some really great game (~20 saves a few games) So my question is, is it still acceptable to send game film of like non highschool games? I’m not sure if I am doing a travel team this year or not, but would that be acceptable or like a rec league? The only high school film I would have would be next year, my senior year, which would be pass the admission deadline for most colleges. Any advice on what I should do?

    Once again this blog has helped me alot as a goalie!

    Thanks,
    Mickey

    1. Hi Mickey – Thanks for reading the blog! Any video tape you can get would be fine, if you’re playing well on the tape. Even practice footage is fine if that’s all you have. I’d edit to include your best but realistic stuff. Good luck!

  4. Hi, I’m a huge fan of your blog and it has been very useful. I’m a sophomore in high school and just now started playing club hoping it’ll put me out there. I was wondering when can female goalies get recruited/ commit and based on that when would be a good time for me to make a highlight video to send to colleges?
    Thank you!
    Leslie G

    1. Hi Leslie – I’m not a total recruiting expert but I’d start compiling your highlight video now. Record your games and pick the highlights so when its time to apply that part is already covered. Good luck!

  5. Hi I am a freshman in a Midwest high school do have any tips to get attention of east coast coaches? And when should I send a highlight tape? Thanks and keep up the great work on the blog

    1. Thanks Zach. I wrote a post about getting college coaches attention. Check that one out. Regarding when to send highlight tape. Send link with initial email. I believe coaches cannot call or email you until July 1st after your junior year of high school. So you can try to get on their radar before that but it’s gonna be tough. Recommend to reach out end of junior year.

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