Playing College Lacrosse Requires Goals, Accountability

In Part I of MaxLax’s series on “self recruiting,” Chase Williams — pictured above in the 2013 CIF Southern Section championship game against Harvard Westlake — explains the two most important first steps for players who dream of playing college lacrosse.

For more about this series, check out the prelude:

Self-Motivation and Accountability

If you intend to get yourself recruited, there is one all-mighty and immensely important adage you need to follow: YOU ARE IN CHARGE, AND IT IS ALL ON YOU. This means you need to take full accountability for achieving your “dream” of playing college lacrosse. Everything you do — every email you get from a coach, every goal you score in a showcase — is all on you. Failure in any element of this process is on you, and this is how you motivate yourself to do anything and everything to be successful. You need to commit to yourself and your desired success.

Yes, there are players who can just step on the field and let their natural talent carry them to an NCAA roster; it seems they just randomly get recruited. This so-called luck stems from a combination of hard-work and natural ability, and it will come to you at times, but the important thing to remember is YOU CANNOT RELY ON SUCCESS TO JUST MAGICALLY HAPPEN. Don’t look at another player’s success story and sit back waiting for it to happen to you; take control.

What you can rely on is yourself. You can rely on yourself to work at your game every day, to ask your coaches for help (instead of waiting for them to come ask you if you need it), and to follow up relentlessly on emails and calls from college coaches. You can rely on yourself to do everything needed to stay on the right path.

So how do you define this path? How do you make sure you are doing anything and everything to reach your dream of playing college lacrosse? Simple: Set goals.

Goals

Goals are the second most-important element of self recruiting; and I assure you they are a very close second to accountability and self-motivation. Goals show you what needs to be done and how to make decisions to get you where you want to go.

Everyone’s goals will be different, and I’m not going to tell you there is one ideal goal. But you need to think long and hard about what you want to achieve, and you need to be specific. Try and verbalize a goal that encompasses everything you desire. Think about the ideal situation you dream about. Does it involve hoisting a championship trophy on Memorial Day? Or does it intertwine with a desire to attend medical school?

Your goal should be what you want to achieve objectively. For some, that’s just to get into a school and play MCLA. Others care about nothing but playing Division I. Some want a mix of academic excellence and athletic prestige. Whatever you really, deeply desire should be reflected in your verbalized goal.

Goal-setting defines a path and aids in decision-making. It helps you to be accountable and self-responsible in a systematic way: If I make decisions while being totally mindful of my goal, I am doing everything I can to achieve it. Throughout your day, you can use your goal to show you the path you need to walk.

Should I shoot today after school? Ask how that relates to achieving your goal. If your goal is to play at the highest level your ability allows, for example, then practicing your game as much as possible would help. But if your goal is Top 10 or bust, it might mean hours and hours working your craft, sacrificing things you might not want to sacrifice.

Should I study for my biology test? If your goal involves playing for an elite academic school, it makes sense to try as hard as you can in the classroom to get the grades that will help you qualify for this type of school. You get the idea.

Your over-arching goal will then lead to a lot of smaller goals. The above two scenarios would lead you to create sub-goals like: I will play wall-ball and shoot around every day after school; and I am going to strive for the best possible GPA so I can earn acceptance to an elite school. Those sub-goals lead to more sub-goals, and pretty soon your life becomes a series of routines and patterns that lead you down the path toward achieving your goal.

All of this might seem abstract, but the bottom line is this: Set a goal that will help you achieve what you desire the most, and then make yourself accountable for doing anything and everything you can to achieve that goal.

The next installment will begin the more detailed aspects of self-recruiting but will hinge deeply on these first two concepts — set goals and be accountable to yourself.

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to comment!

Chase Williams, a graduate of St. Margaret’s Episcopal, plays lacrosse at NCAA D3 Haverford outside Philadelphia. He navigated the recruiting process with the help of his closest coaches and his parents, and he speaks from experience.