College field hockey can be found across multiple U.S. regions, including the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest, with a handful of programs in California. Field hockey programs offer student-athletes a chance to continue competing at the collegiate level while pursuing a degree, as well as potentially gain financial assistance to pay for the cost of college.
There is more to the recruiting process than being a top athlete. College coaches want to fill their rosters with talented, well-rounded athletes who show promise on the field and in the classroom. Before student-athletes can truly begin the recruiting process, they need to understand what division level is best for them, and they’ll need to research programs where they have the potential to play. Field hockey student-athletes who want to be recruited will need to build a strong recruiting profile, commit to consistent and clear communication with college coaches, create a highlight video and attend tournaments and prospect camps.
The recruiting process can be both an exciting and stressful time for student-athletes and their families. To help ease this stress, we’ve created a guide to field hockey recruiting that walks athletes through all areas of the process.
In May 2019, the NCAA announced a change to the field hockey recruiting rules and a calendar to create a more equal recruiting experience and protect the well-being of student-athletes. College coaches must now wait until June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year before they can begin communicating. Until this date, college coaches must rely on recruiting profiles, video, camps and tournaments to evaluate potential recruits.
Due to the complicated nature of the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar, we’ve created a section dedicated to helping student-athletes and their families better understand the specifics of these rules and guidelines.
How good do you need to be and what are coaches looking for? If a student-athlete wants to play college field hockey, they’ll need to meet coaches’ expectations and manage their recruiting process efficiently. While college coaches look for a handful of characteristics in all athletes, they also have different expectations across the five field hockey positions. The better student-athletes understand what coaches are looking for in each position at the various NCAA levels, the more effectively they’ll be able to promote themselves on their recruiting profile and in their highlight video. We’ve created an entire section dedicated to the recruiting guidelines across all NCAA divisions for each field hockey position.
The NCAA sets a maximum scholarship limit per team. As an NCAA equivalency sport, each field hockey program is granted a pool of money that can be divided up and awarded as athletic scholarships.
The average Division 1 field hockey team has 23 players and is allowed a maximum scholarship limit of 12 per team. At the Division 2 level, college field hockey programs typically have 24 athletes and a maximum scholarship limit of 6 per team. Teams that aren’t fully funded have an even smaller pool of money and fewer scholarships to award. With so few scholarships to award, college coaches try to make the most of their scholarship budget by awarding partial scholarships, rather than full rides. Student-athletes in good academic standing and with high standardized test scores may qualify for some form of financial aid through academic scholarships, grants and other forms of aid.
Properly managing the field hockey recruiting process is crucial to getting recruited. Student-athletes need to understand how and when to update their recruiting profile, research prospective schools, schedule unofficial and official college visits, determine eligibility and meet all application deadlines. Student-athletes can benefit from the help of their parents, guidance counselors, high school and club coaches and experts (like those on NCSA’s staff) as they navigate the recruiting process.
Thanks to the new NCAA rules, a highlight video is often the first way a college coach gets to see an athlete perform. Student-athletes have just three to four minutes to demonstrate their talent and grab the attention of busy coaches. To do this successfully, student-athletes need to know what college coaches look for in highlight videos. For example, if the athlete plays defense, college coaches want footage that shows the athlete take control on the field, consistently prevent scoring opportunities and regain possession of the ball against top competition.
We’ve created a guide that outlines what footage to shoot, how to shoot and organize the footage, how to edit and upload recruiting videos to YouTube and the athlete’s NCSA Recruiting Profile, as well as how to directly share the recruiting video with college coaches.
Field hockey camps help student-athletes increase their exposure to college coaches, especially those who reside outside recruiting hotspots for college field hockey programs. Many college programs run camps for youth and high school athletes to help them develop as competitors and allow college coaches to evaluate upcoming field hockey talent.
Student-athletes have the option of four different types of camps: prospect camps, clinics, college camps and showcases. Field hockey camps generally require student-athletes to travel some distance to attend and give them the opportunity to play with and against new competition. These camps typically focus on skill development, drills and team play.
While attending field hockey camps, student-athletes can also take time to explore campus and learn more about the athletics, academics and community that the institution offers.
There are more than 280 collegiate field hockey programs sponsored by the NCAA at the Division 1, 2 and 3 levels. These programs span across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest regions, with four programs in California. Student-athletes and their families should explore all their options, keeping in mind their athletic, academic, social and financial needs. While many college sports are offered at NAIA and NJCAA institutions, neither of these associations currently sponsor field hockey. However, field hockey is offered as a club sport at many NAIA and NJCAA institutions. We’ve created a section dedicated to field hockey colleges at each division level to help student-athletes in their search for the right college fit.
NCSA aims to provide student-athletes with everything they need to know during the recruiting process, but there are additional resources that student-athletes and their families can turn to as they navigate field hockey recruiting. These resources include sites like maxfieldhockey.com
, which provide advice, tips and camp opportunities. You can also view field hockey rankings on the NCAA field hockey site.
Student-athletes can reference NCSA’s Power Rankings and the NCAA’s website to see where each field hockey program ranks. NCSA’s Power Rankings help student-athletes find the right college fit by looking at a variety of factors that are important to consider when selecting a school. These factors include location, size, cost, athletics and academics. Using resources, such as U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, 2017 IPEDS graduation rates and 2017 IPEDS institutional net cost, we’ve ranked the top field hockey programs in the U.S. at every division level.