There are 281 college field hockey programs scattered across the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Midwest regions, and four programs in California. To get recruited by college field hockey programs, student-athletes need to follow the various steps in the college recruiting process.
Student-athletes must first ensure they meet NCAA eligibility requirements and follow all the NCAA recruiting rules and guidelines. They should also work with their club and/or high school coach to determine what collegiate level they are best suited to play and research prospective schools within that division. Once the student-athlete has a list of prospective schools, they can begin to build their profile, create highlight videos, compete in tournaments and attend prospect camps. Starting June 15 after their sophomore year, college coaches may begin contacting them and building a relationship.
This section is meant to serve as a guide to the recruiting process and help student-athletes and their families understand how to get recruited for college field hockey.
The recruiting process involves many steps, so we’ve made a list of seven recruiting tips to help guide student-athletes.
To fully understand the recruiting process, we also have to look at it from a college coach’s perspective. While student athletes are busy preparing for the recruiting process, so are college coaches. To begin the process, college coaches will create a list of prospective recruits based on certain criteria. Coaches will then send letters to these athletes to gauge their interest in the field hockey program. Remember, college coaches can send camp brochures, questionnaires, and NCAA materials and non-athletic recruiting publications at any time, but they must wait until June 15 after an athlete’s sophomore year to contact athletes and send printed recruiting materials.
After June 15 of a recruit’s sophomore year, college coaches will begin to call and email recruits, as well as invite them to campus for an official visit. Once the coach has completed an evaluation of all their recruits, they will rank their top picks to determine which athletes will receive an offer. The recruiting process will wrap up with the athlete signing the official offer.
While recruiting profiles are a great recruiting resource, college coaches also like to watch athletes participate at field hockey camps, tournaments and showcases. These events allow college coaches to connect with athletes and evaluate their talent in high-pressure situations.
Student-athletes must be proactive to show college coaches that they’re serious about the recruiting process. Student-athletes should build a list of prospective schools and express their interest in the field hockey program by calling and emailing coaches to introduce themselves. Student-athletes can also turn to their high school and/or club coach to see if they have an existing relationship with any of the programs on their list and can help connect the athlete and college coach.
Of the more than 64,000 U.S. high school field hockey players, less than nine percent compete at the collegiate level. College coaches are looking for student-athletes that are dedicated to training, demonstrate strong on-field ability and thrive off the field academically and socially. Student-athletes need to remain in good academic standing and participate in extracurricular activities. Each NCAA division level has its own expectations for student-athletes at each position.
The simple answer is yes; all student-athletes need to play for a club team if they want to play college field hockey. The biggest benefit of playing club field hockey is getting visibility and access to college coaches that student-athletes don’t get from playing high school field hockey. Unlike high school field hockey teams, club teams compete in local and travel tournaments that draw in college coaches from across the country to evaluate talent and recruit. These events give athletes a stage to showcase their skills and compete against top field hockey talent. For student-athletes living outside the regions where most college field hockey teams are situated, these tournaments might be the only time they have the chance to play in front of college coaches. Club coaches can also provide a great deal of support during the recruiting process, as many have connections to college coaches.
Club, elite and travel field hockey teams open many opportunities for student-athletes. For underclassmen, these teams provide opportunities for growth. Athletes master the fundamentals, learn to work and communicate as a team and gain experience in competition. Upperclassmen benefit from opportunities to attend local and travel tournaments where college coaches are present. This access to college coaches can aid the athlete’s recruiting process by giving them an opportunity to showcase their skillset and compete against top talent. Coaches can also serve as a resource during the recruiting process by evaluating the athlete’s skills, providing feedback and helping connect athletes to college coaches
High school and club coaches can play a large role in the college recruiting process. Not only do they help develop athletes’ skills, but they can also be a resource when it comes to contacting college coaches. Those who have been in the business for many years have relationships with college coaches and can help connect athletes to field hockey programs. Below is a list of ways that coaches can help student-athletes in the recruiting process:
To find the right college fit, student-athletes should begin their recruiting journey by evaluating what colleges offer academically, athletically, socially and financially. The first step to finding the right college fit is understanding the difference between each NCAA division level. Student-athletes, with the help of their high school and/or club coach, must determine what division level they are best suited to compete in before they can begin their college search. This includes evaluating where they fit in terms of their athletic skills, GPA and ACT/SAT test scores and financial requirements. Next, student-athletes can begin to research field hockey programs within that division that meet their academic, athletic, social and financial needs.
NCSA has developed a Power Ranking system that ranks the best colleges using factors such as cost, academics, graduation rate and more to help student-athletes find the right college fit.
Student-athletes will need to create a three- to four-minute recruiting video that highlights their talents. Before the recruiting process officially begins, college coaches can view an athlete’s video on their recruiting profile to evaluate their skillset. Below are field hockey recruiting video tips to help student-athletes get started:
If a student-athletes wants to capture the attention of college coaches, they need to be proactive and initiate conversation. Student-athletes should start with an introductory email.
For the subject line, student-athletes should write something attention-grabbing that will stick out in the coach’s inbox, such as numbers and stats, ACT score, graduation year, position, etc. This email should begin with the student-athlete explaining why they want to play for that particular program. It’s also a good idea to mention something about the team that interests them. After the student-athlete has declared their interest in the program, they should outline what makes them a good fit for the program and include the following information:
General information: name, graduation year, high school and club team name
Academics: GPA, ACT/SAT scores
Athletics: sport-specific stats and relevant measurables
Contact information: phone number and email, as well as the athlete’s club and high school coach contact info
The email should end with clear next steps. Student-athletes should state a specific time that they will call the coach or invite them to a tournament that the athlete will be competing in.
Showcases, camps and tournaments provide student-athletes opportunities to develop as athletes and showcase their skillset while competing against top talent and connecting with college coaches. College coaches rely on these events to evaluate recruits’ talent, consistency and ability to compete in high-pressure situations. For student-athletes who live outside the regions where field hockey programs are located, these opportunities provide access and exposure to the NCAA field hockey coaches.
Managing the field hockey recruiting process can be complicated. Student-athletes must be proactive with keeping their recruiting profile updated, researching prospective schools, scheduling unofficial and official college visits, staying on top of deadlines and evaluating athletic scholarship opportunities.
Resources like NCSA help student-athletes and their families manage the field hockey recruiting process and keep them on track to find the right athletic, academic, social and financial fit. NCSA’s staff of former athletes and coaches aims to reduce the stress that comes with the college recruiting process by helping student-athletes create a personalized recruiting plan, understand the NCAA recruiting rules and timelines and, ultimately, increase exposure to college coaches.