College Recruiting

DE Sharks FHC Guide to the College Recruiting Process

Do you have what it takes and more importantly are you willing to put in the effort?

There are many steps to the recruiting process:  Play competitive field hockey (typically for a club) Evaluation of Skills, creating a college list, creating a recruiting profile, creating an athletic resume, creating a highlight video, contacting college coaches, participating in tournaments, clinics, showcases and camps.

Skill Evaluation – Talk to your club coach about their recommendation (Div. I, Div. II, Div. III, Intramural/Club). Generally, Div. I recruiting starts very early, while Div. II and III there is more leeway.

To play at the college level you obviously need certain skills.  The chart below has been adapted from NCSA: Next College Student Athlete

Field PlayersGoal Keepers
Technical Skills: Tactical Awareness, Defensive Skills, Decision MakingSave ability, Ground Skills, Recovery & Repositioning, Decision Making, Fitness & Conditioning
Advanced Skills: Knowledge of Set Pieces, Speed/Agility, Fitness & ConditioningHand-eye Coordination, Set Play situations, Clearing and Redirect, Speed/Agility (Footwork)

Create a college list https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search

College is a 4-5 year commitment and you want to find a good fit.  Be specific about what would make you feel proud, productive and safe when it comes to your college choice.  There are over 3,600+ colleges and universities in the USA and 406 colleges/universities offer some level of field hockey.  Now you need to narrow this list of 406 down to what would be a great fit for you!  Once you have your list, it’s time to do some research on those individual schools academically, athletically and socially.

Build a recruiting profile: Before college coaches can begin contacting student-athletes, they spend time reviewing recruiting profiles and evaluating potential recruits from afar. Athletes should create an online profile with their latest stats and highlight video.

  1. Create a highlight video: All student-athletes should have a quality, three- to four-minute video with 20–30 game clips that communicate their athletic talents.
  2. Contact college coaches: Student-athletes need to remain engaged in their communication with college coaches to show that they are interested in the program and serious about the recruiting process. Active and consistent communication is key to nurturing a healthy relationship with college coaches.
  3. Play for a club team: Playing for a competitive club team allows student-athletes to develop their skillset year-round, while also increasing access to college coaches.
  4. Attend tournaments, showcases, ID Clinics and camps: Competing at these events for an audience of college coaches can increase an athlete’s visibility and opportunity to be recruited. If you have specific schools in mind and can attend their own campus clinic or camp, your presence ON their campus shows that you have interest in their school and should be communicated before you attend.
  5. Reach out for support from Sharks recruiting specialists! Loveita, Paul and Laura are here to help you, but YOU need to do the legwork. Contact one of us to discuss where you are in the recruitment process and we can make valuable suggestions and even reach out directly to coaches on your behalf.

Know the recruiting rules!

The rules are different for the different Divisions I, II, III, please see below for details.  In any division athletes can receive camp/clinics invites, request for questionnaires, NCAA information and school recruiting materials (not athletics based) at any time.  Check out Frequently Asked Questions on the NCAA.org website.  You may also want to check out the following graphic sponsored by NCSAsports.org

In a brief synopsis for Division I & II here are the most important items to note:

  • Coaches cannot communicate with athletes until June 15th after sophomore year, however athletes can email, text or direct message coaches, they just cannot respond.
  • Coaches cannot make any offers to athletes until June 15 after sophomore year (rising Junior).
  • No official or unofficial visits until August 1 of a student athlete’s Junior year for Div. I, and June 15th after an athlete in Div. II
  • No off - campus contact until August 1 before junior year or during a dead period for recruiting.

What questions to ask on a Recruiting call or visit?

Please note that it is never appropriate to ask about scholarship information on an initial recruiting call.  The questions below have been adapted from Stack.com

  • What are the admission requirements for an athlete?
  • Can the application fee be waived for athletes?
  • What are some of the most popular majors for athletes on your team?
  • Will my specific major interfere with the athletic schedule?
  • Do your players graduate in four years?
  • Does your team have a full-time academic advisor?
  • What is your recruiting timeline? Have you offered scholarships to others in my class? Have any other athletes in my class accepted the offers?
  • How many players will you be recruiting at my position?
  • Where will you be recruiting this season?
  • What does the training program consist of at your school?
  • Is there a good time for me to visit your school?
  • How many scholarships do you have available for my class?
  • What types of academic scholarships are available? What about other sorts of grants and aid?
  • Would an athlete need to apply before a scholarship is offered?
  • What would happen if an athlete with a scholarship offer got injured?
  • What is the housing situation like? Do teammates typically live together?
    Do student-athletes stay on campus during the summer?
  • Is it possible to work part-time in addition to playing a sport and studying?

How do I know if I’m being recruited?

This part can be tricky at first.   Please note that it is important to attend ID clinics and camps on the campuses of the schools that you are interested in attending.  While colleges run these camps like a business and it is a major revenue driver for them, it is also a great way to get on their radar and for you to express your interest in them.   After attending college showcase tournaments (SS, Festival, Winter Escape, Super Sixty, etc.) college coaches will use that hockey database to mass email players about their camps.  Some of these emails and invites will look personalized, but typically they are more advertisement rather than recruiting you specifically.  Division III coaches have the luxury of emailing players individually to express interest.  It is quite obvious the difference in the two emails.  For example if an email says “I enjoyed watching you play at NIT’s!  Your leadership and field awareness are exactly what we are looking to recruit at our college,” you are being recruited by that school.

How can I show interest in a school?

Again, attend their specific Id Clinic, or camp would be one of the top recommendations.  You should also fill out the student athlete questionnaire on their college field hockey website.  Send them an email inviting them to come watch you participate in a tournament.  This email should be sent at least 1 month prior to the tournament and should include your game schedule, your jersey number and color for each game, your graduation year and the specific reason why you would be interested in attending their college.

Scholarship Reality

Athletic scholarships are always a hot topic with parents and student athletes.  It is important to know that there are 78 Division I, 36 Division II and 170 Division III hockey programs out there.  Within these divisions there are different rules for awarding scholarships.  For example, Division III and Ivy League schools do not offer athletic scholarship, but rather base their scholarships on merit - so doing well in school of course has its benefits.  Division I fully funded programs typically have 12 full scholarships.  Internationally recruited players typically earn full scholarships on competitive teams.  The remaining scholarships can be divided up or offered full, but it is more likely the former.  The scholarship can be a percentage or a certain amount.  Student athletes can also earn scholarships as they progress from their first year to their last year, likewise if they do something not becoming of a hockey player, their scholarship can be reduced (discipline, leaving the team, etc).   Some scholarship money graduates every year from a program or if a player leaves to attend another school.   Pay attention to how the school has ranked in the last few years nationally.  This will help you determine the quality of the program you are looking to play.  The stronger the program the harder it will be to earn scholarship money.  You will want to ask the coach where you stand on their recruiting list to give yourself an idea of what scholarship money would be available without actually outright asking at first.    Also, if you have a specialty that is highly sought out (ie - GK, drag flicker, dominant goal scorer) this can sometimes help your chances of earning scholarship money so go ahead and keep developing your recruitable superpower!

Financial Aid is available to every college bound student, not just athletes.  This way of paying for college is based on your family’s income and is completely separate from athletic scholarship.  You will want to complete the FAFSA in your senior year which allows you to apply for financial aid.  If you are eligible for financial aid, then coaches can use athletic money for other players to help spread money around on a team.