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Play to get noticed

10/14/2011
Courtesy Frankenfield Family

Now that you have you're "team" together, as described in the last blog, it's time for the fun part - the actual playing. Getting to step on the field and forget everything and just playing. Although, it's never really that simple when you're trying to get recruited. I know that personally, in the beginning of the summer, before games a million things were running through my mind. What do the college coaches want to see? What does my club coach want me to do? How do I get noticed? I obsessed over every little aspect, which in all honesty made playing not too fun.

Looking back on the summer, thinking about our first tournament is almost amusing. The first game where everyone is just trying to figure out where they stand on the team and trying relentlessly to stand out. But with 20 some girls on a team, not every single one of them can shine every game; they all can't score a hat trick or have multiple caused turnovers and draw controls - it's impossible. While a goal can be seen on the scoreboard, it's the intangibles that a coach will notice. If you find one little thing you're good at, whether it be ground balls or playing a role in mid-field transition, and then build from there, you will be set.

Then comes the little things - the things that don't have to do with your play, but more so with your character on the field. Do you look like you're having fun? Are you getting along with your teammates? Do you look your coach in the eye when she is talking to you on the sidelines? During warm-ups do you goof off or actually prepare yourself for the game? It's amazing, but now going through the process, it's shocking to hear the coaches talk about the little things like that they pick up on that could make them want to recruit a girl or not.

It's amazing, but now going through the process, it's shocking to hear the coaches talk about the little things like that they pick up on that could make them want to recruit a girl or not.

-- Laura Frankenfield

As attackers, our first thought is to look to goal. If you ever watch one of the early summer tournaments you can tell that's all we as attackers are thinking about - scoring. It turns out to be a mess. It's hard to get noticed among the group of girls trying to score because it's just everyone taking their defender one-on-one all game. That's where I had trouble this summer - how do I as an attacker stand out? As it turns out, it's not just goals that count. Without an assist, there is no goal. Without someone backing up the goal, the ball gets turned over. Without a "quarterback", the offense is completely disoriented. There are plenty of roles to take on that are just as important, if not more important, then the "scorer"; you just have to be patient and find your role. We as attackers need to display discipline as well. While a breakaway may be ideal, sometimes in that situation we need to learn to slow the play to give middies a rest. This also goes for turnovers. If your team turns the ball over, even if you're not close to the play, you need to bust back into the midfield and attempt to slow the play - you'd be surprised how many times you get the ball back from re-defending and coaches love to see that.

This mentality of roles goes for all positions too. As a defender, you're not going to turn the ball over every time you make a check - this also is impossible. So while some defenders go check crazy in attempts to impress coaches by causing turnovers, it's often times better to be the solid defender that displays patience. Nothing too flashy, just someone who can stop their girl from going to goal and cause the occasional turnover. You learn this from day one of being a defender, but just to reiterate it even more, BE LOUD! Effective communication is invaluable. If you've ever watched a college game, those defenders are insanely loud - coaches love to see that in defenders before they even step on a field at the collegiate level.

Essentially, you middies could apply what was said in the defending and attacking paragraphs to your play, but you also have a dimension to your position that is vital to any teams success - transition. Along with that comes the conditioning to be able to run end line to end line every game. It's tough, but it doesn't go un-noticed. You'll get your breaks on attack, if your attackers are disciplined enough to hold the ball, but in the other two thirds of the field, its non-stop hustle. Coaches will say that you can teach stick skills, but you can't teach speed and hustle.

Then comes the little things - the things that don't have to do with your play, but more so with your character on the field. Do you look like you're having fun? Are you getting along with your teammates? Do you look your coach in the eye when she is talking to you on the sidelines? During warm-ups do you goof off or actually prepare yourself for the game? It's amazing, but now going through the process, it's shocking to hear the coaches talk about the little things like that they pick up on that could make them want to recruit a girl or not.

It sounds cliché, but just have fun. It's really difficult, but once you forget about the coaches watching and just play for the fun of it, that's when you'll play your best. Find what you're good at and build from there - you will have success. Over the course of you lacrosse career you will have times when you want nothing more than to be done playing. At times like these, step back and remember why you picked up a stick in the first place and why you've stuck with it since.