101 :: Panchito's Blog

“Play Hard. Play Smart. Play Together. Have Fun!”

Decision Making On & Off the Field

The majority of high school club lacrosse players join their respective team(s) with the end goal of increasing their skills and being recruited to play lacrosse beyond their high school career. It is no secret that college coaches covet both talented lacrosse players as well as raw athletes that are new to the game. However, the first question a coach typically asks a potential recruit is, “What’s your GPA?”. Being a talented player and athlete can open a lot of doors; having poor grades and making subpar decisions off the field can quickly shut these doors.

With lacrosse’s explosion in popularity over the past decade more and more players are picking up sticks. The math is simple, with a bigger pool of youth and high schoolers becoming developed players, college coaches have a greater sample size to recruit from. As a result, the many established NCAA and MCLA programs often take little risk on players with low GPA’s and/or other off the field issues. Coaches want their players to succeed in all aspects, academically, athletically, and personally. Further, each team’s chemistry can be delicate — programs want to recruit players that exemplify high character and great decision-making skills. It is important for all prospectus college athletes to understand that their decisions can improve AND hinder their future, specifically playing at a school of their choice.

The most important, and easiest, aspect to control is your GPA. Having a good GPA (>3.0) allows most colleges and coaches to be confident that you will likely gain acceptance and thus have the opportunity to make their team. To take control of your GPA, you must make the right decisions — asking yourself simple questions, “Have I completed all my homework?”, “I am prepared for next Monday’s quiz?”, “Do I know what I want to talk about for this class’ final presentation in two weeks?” are just a few examples of how strong students stay organized. Taking extra time to study and prepare for each class, whether it is an “easy” or “difficult” class should never be overlooked. Prioritize your time now and take control while you can. It is much easier to organize yourself to stay ahead than it is when you’re playing catch-up and already behind!

Next let’s examine and discuss off the field decision making. How many times have you opened up Laxpower or InsideLacrosse and seen an article about a player getting in trouble off the field? For me, the answer is way too many times. It is easy to label a student-athlete based on one infraction or mistake. In addition to this being negative for a student-athlete’s self-growth, these types of incidents can be red-flags to colleges. College coaches and admissions departments due diligent research for each applicant.

Student-athletes have to be great prioritizers. Time is precious commodity, and must be balanced between family, academics, athletics/extracurriculars, and social life. All of one’s goals are achievable with the proper balance. When a college coach congratulates you on a great game or highlight film, and then asks, “What’s your GPA?” there will be no need to grimace, but rather confidently share the information and walk through the door!