Covid-19 changes student athlete’s recruiting

Game+at+Apple+Valley%2C+May+11%2C+2019.++Stillwater+Alumni%2C+Lainey+Charlsen%2C+playing+her+last+year+of+highschool+lacrosse+before+being+recruited+to+Colorado+Mesa+for+lacrosse.

Photo submitted by Tracy McGuire

Game at Apple Valley, May 11, 2019. Stillwater Alumni, Lainey Charlsen, playing her last year of highschool lacrosse before being recruited to Colorado Mesa for lacrosse.

High School student athlete’s recruiting experience has changed immensely over the last six months.  These changes have followed the growth and development of COVID-19.  Many student athletes have experienced first-hand how this ever changing time has changed the way of recruiting.

The Dead Period for D1 Schools put rules in place that say recruiters cannot go to games or reach out to student athletes at this time.  Students have become creative with the way they put themselves out there and reach out to schools.

Stillwater Alumni and Goalie for Colorado Mesa’s Lacrosse team, Lainey Charlsen, explained, “We’re already seeing a big change with instagram and social media.” She added that they are, “seeing girls using that to kind of not only share different drills that they know with people, and kind of learn through social media, but also using it as a way to get to coaches.”

A concern for future teams is that there will be people who might not fit in on the team as well as others due to the changes in the scouting processes that are occurring.  Student athletes are not able to go meet the team they would be playing with or the recruiters won’t really be able to see how they play in person.

Scouts especially will realize in the future how important it actually is to see a player play in a game situation and how much there is to see about their character on the field besides just how good they are.”

— Josh Wallace

Junior Josh Wallace explained, I personally think that there will be some misfits for the good and the bad because a kid can make any video of their self look good if they take enough video and nothing will capture how a kid actually plays when they are on the field, so in that regard some players could be misplaced because coaches now have to rely on video.”

Camps and tournaments are a really important part of the scouting process.  Recruiters use camps and tournaments as a way to watch how athletes interact with other players and assess their skill and potential.

Senior Anne McGuire said, I joined the MN Elite club lacrosse team my sophomore year and started going out east to play in tournaments with them.  It was at those I had been scouted by different colleges.”

Charlsen added, “The President’s cup in the Midwest cup and stuff like that, I know those tournaments are big recruiting spots for coaches. When I went to the Presidents cup, I think it was said that there was like, over like 500 coaches there or something.”

Student athletes have had to work extra hard to keep in contact over the D1 dead period and have had to spend time contacting and reaching out to teams.  This puts the pressure on students to really work hard to get recognized by teams and coaches.  

Wallace explained his experience, “I think keeping in contact with a scout weekly whether that is a phone call, text, or an email is just as important as it is for them to reach out.”

The Scouting and recruiting process as a whole may change in the future.  There may be an emphasis on social media and online format, but nothing can truly replace the in person experience.

McGuire believed, “Virtual tours and zoom calls with college coaches will be more popular too.  Lots of live streams will have to happen and I think athletes as well as scouts will have to be creative” in the future. Wallace added that he thinks scouts, “will realize in the future how important it actually is to see a player play in a game situation and how much there is to see about their character on the field besides just how good they are.”

Charlsen said, “Having coaches watch you and seeing just how you play in like a raw like, not at all trained kind of style is something that’s so important to the recruiting process and so important to coaches…I also think the addition of like social media and more film online and things like that, and stuff like that is definitely going to stick around still, because it is so like innovative and just accessible.”