Field Hockey Scholarship: The Complete Guide
Want to get recruited to play field hockey in college?
Or maybe even land an athletic scholarship?
Then you are in the right place.
If you are new to the recruiting process, you will learn what steps you need to take to put you on track to accomplishing your goals.
If you have experience with the process, then you’ll learn advanced strategies that could push you ahead of your competition.
In this guide you will find:
How to beat your competitors
The benefit of camps and clinics
How to show coaches who you are
Using social media to your advantage
How to become discoverable with RecruitRef
How to narrow down a list of schools
The three governing organizations
Making good grades & why it’s important
How to develop relationships with coaches
HOW TO BEAT YOUR COMPETITORS
Thousands of high school athletes are in the same position as you -
- aspiring to play field hockey in college.
But you may wonder:
How do I beat the odds and accomplish my goal?
Control your controllables: start by ensuring that you have what it takes to play in college.
Field hockey at the collegiate level takes a strong skill set.
But what skills should you focus on practicing?
The fundamentals are the key to success.
You want to have a strong mastery of basic stick work, ball control, dribbling with your head up, passing, trapping, and hitting.
In addition, work towards strong push passes, drives, and slaps.
Coaches want to see that you have the ability to pass and receive.
As well as exhibit strong control.
Lastly, strength and speed could make you stand out amongst your competitors.
Never become complacent with your abilities as they are right now.
There is always room for improvement.
Practice in game-like situations to adapt to the fast-paced situation of games.
Then, work with players who are just as skilled or even better than you are.
You and your opponent will both benefit from the challenge.
Practicing 1v1 or 2v2 will help you develop tactics that will be useful during games.
THE BENEFIT OF CAMPS AND CLINICS
Struggling to improve your abilities?
Camps and clinics are great for improving your skills and techniques.
And the best part?
They are held all over the US by many colleges and universities.
Why is this so great?
Because you have the opportunity to work with collegiate coaching staff and current athletes.
This can put you in touch with coaches,
Help you get discovered,
And start forming a relationship that could be very beneficial.
Plus, camps and clinics allow coaches to assess your skills first-hand.
HOW TO SHOW COACHES WHO YOU ARE
Ready to put yourself out there?
And start getting discovered?
A highlight video is the next stop on the agenda.
Start by filming yourself during games.
Use a tripod to eliminate unnecessary shaking.
Gather clips of your greatest plays and then compile them into a single video.
Try to make the video as short and precise as possible.
And be sure to clearly identify yourself.
Coaches should be able to assess your abilities within a few short minutes.
A highlight video should do just that -
- highlight your abilities.
Don’t know what footage to include in the video?
Start by gathering clips that prove you have good grasp on the fundamentals we discussed earlier.
Next, ask yourself ‘what skills make me stand out as a great player?’
For example, include clips that show you have great ball control,
Or show you can be creative when getting around a defender.
Find plays that make you unique and memorable.
Want to know a secret that could really impress coaches?
If you know which colleges you are interested in,
Research their playing style.
Then include clips in your highlight video that mimic similar plays.
This will make an impression on coaches and make them think that you will fit in well with their program.
A little extra time and effort dedicated towards your highlight video could greatly pay off,
Because a highlight video is an extremely important part of your athletic resume.
Coaches do not have the ability to travel and watch every potential recruit in-person.
Highlight videos help coaches determine which athletes have the talent or potential to play for their program and who they should make an effort to travel to see.
Once you have all of your clips compiled and your highlight video is ready,
Don’t forget to share it to YouTube.
Then, link it to your RecruitRef profile.
That will allow coaches to access your video with a simple search whenever they want.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Believe it or not, social media is an important part of the recruiting process.
Coaches will likely search for potential student-athletes on social media platforms.
They use social media to gain insight to athletes’ character.
If a profile is filled with negative images, explicit behavior, and reckless posts,
That is a red flag to coaches.
Coaches want to recruit student-athletes who will be good representations of their programs.
So how do you make your social media platforms appeal to coaches?
Post content that is a positive representation of who you are.
For example, make your profile picture appropriate and illustrative of who you are.
And share posts of yourself giving back to the community.
If you know which programs you are most interested in playing for,
Share articles to your profile about those schools.
Doing so lets coaches know that you have a genuine interest in their program.
HOW TO BECOME DISCOVERABLE WITH RECRUITREF
RecruitRef is the perfect tool to help you get ahead of your competition.
With a RecruitRef profile, you will be discoverable by college coaches across the nation.
They will be able to access your athletic resume on a single, streamlined page.
More specifically, they will have access to your:
- Highlight Video
- Eligibility Status
- GPA, and
- SAT/ACT scores
This takes all the work out of the search process for coaches.
And, did you know?
RecruitRef allows you to contact coaches right from the website.
As well as track email delivery and responses.
HOW TO NARROW DOWN A LIST OF SCHOOLS
Now that you have all the tools to connect with coaches,
Your next plan of action is research.
Yep, google search.
Researching will help you discover and learn more about the schools and field hockey programs available to you.
Have your goals in mind when researching.
This will help you narrow down the options more easily.
If you have no idea what you would like to get out of a college experience,
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
- How much time do I want to dedicate to the sport?
- Do I want more time to dedicate to the academic experience?
- Do I want to be a big fish in a small pond or the opposite?
- Would I prefer to go to college in a city or the suburbs?
- How far do I want to be away from home?
These questions will help guide you in your search.
Spending time defining your goals and researching will ensure your happiness in the long run.
In order to learn more about all the programs available to you, you can start by learning a little bit about the three governing athletic organizations.
That leads us to our next step:
THE THREE GOVERNING ORGANIZATIONS
Deciding which level of collegiate athletics you would like to compete at is just as important as choosing which school you would like to play for.
There are three collegiate athletic organizations: NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA.
Each one fosters a unique type of academic and athletic experience.
This section will help you determine which organization is the most appealing to you.
Let’s start by talking about the NCAA.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, is the largest organization for college athletics.
It is made up of over 1,200 schools, but just 278 field hockey programs.
The schools are divided into three divisions based on how many resources schools devote to their athletic programs.
NCAA Field Hockey Programs
Division I dedicates the most amount of resources to their programs, while Division III dedicates the least.
Division I is also the most competitive of the three divisions.
How do the divisions differ in terms of scholarship opportunities?
Division I offers the greatest number of full-ride and partial scholarships.
Some schools in Division I choose not to offer athletic scholarships at all.
Ivy League schools are a prime example of this.
Division II is composed of schools with smaller athletic budgets.
So, what does mean for your scholarship opportunities?
Division II gives away scholarships predominantly in the form of partial scholarships.
Alternatively, schools in Division III are not able to give away athletic scholarships.
But many student-athletes receive other forms of aid such as grants or academic scholarships.
In terms of competitiveness, the divisions vary.
Because the fan base is smaller, Division II and Division III programs do not have the added pressure of thousands of fans watching,
As is the case for programs in Division I.
But this is great.
The competition is a little less intense, which allows you to focus more energy towards your academic experience.
This capability is even more enhanced in Division III.
This means more time towards connecting with professors, joining extracurriculars, studying, and even studying abroad.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, NAIA, is the second governing organization of collegiate athletics.
There are over 250 colleges and universities in the NAIA, but only 3 of those schools have field hockey programs.
This association resembles NCAA Division II in terms of competitiveness.
It is composed of smaller colleges that are divided into two divisions.
As for your scholarship opportunities, schools in the NAIA give away scholarships predominantly in the form of partial scholarships.
Just like NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III, schools in the NAIA have a more relaxed practice schedule.
Which means that you will have more time to dedicate to other areas of the collegiate experience.
The National Junior College Athletic Association, NJCAA, is the third and final governing organization in collegiate athletics.
The NJCAA is composed of smaller two-year colleges and community colleges.
There are no field hockey programs in the NJCAA.
MAKING GOOD GRADES & WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
You’ve done the research,
And narrowed down a list of colleges that you are interested in.
If you want to play in college,
You are most likely going to have to meet some requirements first.
But how do you know what these requirements are?
If you are looking to play for NCAA Division I or Division II,
You must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center.
The NCAA Eligibility Center expects student-athletes to uphold a certain GPA and test score requirement.
How do they determine this requirement?
They base the minimum requirement off of a sliding scale.
What does this mean?
Your GPA after passing 16 core courses correlates to a minimum SAT or ACT requirement.
The higher your GPA, the lower your SAT and ACT minimum requirement. And vice versa.
For example, if your core GPA is 3.2,
Then you are expected to score at least 600 with a combined SAT reading and math score.
You can find more information about the NCAA requirements here.
But what if you want to play for NCAA Division III?
Division III does not require that you register with the Eligibility Center.
Instead, each institution sets their own eligibility standards.
What about the NAIA and NCJAA?
The NAIA requires that you register with the NAIA Eligibility Center.
They expect student-athletes to uphold two out of three of following requirements:
- Minimum ACT score of 18 or a minimum SAT score of 860
- Minimum overall high school GPA of 2.0
- Top 50% of your graduating class
On the other hand, the NJCAA does not have an eligibility center,
But rather, requires that you uphold the standards set by the institution you are planning to attend.
It is beneficial to perform well academically beginning with your freshman year,
Because it is harder to raise your GPA later in your high school career.
And it opens up more opportunities in the long-run.
Your athletic ability is extremely important in the recruiting process,
But school always comes first.
HOW TO DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS WITH COACHES
This last step is going to make you stand out,
As well as grab coaches attention.
And good for you, it’s fairly simple:
Shoot a quick email to the coaches of programs that you are interested in.
You want your email to sound personalized,
So that coaches do not think they are a part of a mass email list.
Sending a generic-looking email loses coaches’ attention and makes them think that you are not actually interested in their program.
What do you say?
This template is a good place to start:
Coach [insert coach’s last name],
My name is [insert your name]. I am a field hockey [insert your position] for [insert high school name] in [insert city and state of your high school]. I will be graduating in [insert year of graduation] and I aspire to play for [insert college name].
During my field hockey career, I was recognized as [insert accomplishment] for my outstanding performance and contribution to the team. In addition, I have lead my team to [insert accomplishment (i.e. one state title)].
It is because of my love for the game that I would love to represent the [insert mascot name] after graduation. Your program has always been a dream of mine to play for because of its emphasis on team-building as well as individual improvement.
Attached is a link to my highlight video and athletic resume.
I look forward to hearing back,
[insert your name]
As you can see, this template sounds personalized, but gets the job done.
If you would like to write your own email, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Introduce yourself and include your position and graduating year.
- This lets coaches know who they are talking to as well as if they are able to contact you further, due to strict recruiting contact rules.
- This shows coaches how interested you are in their program. Be honest. Every program cannot be your top choice.
- Make sure you have uploaded your highlight video, statistics, or other achievements to your profile so that coaches will have access to all the information they need on a single page.
If you do not hear back, feel free to email the coach again.
Coaches may not respond to you if they are not allowed to due to the recruiting ruled we mentioned above.
So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back.
If you do get a response, always respond.
You want to make a good first impression
And also respect the time that the coach took to reach out to you.
Establishing relationships with coaches is an important aspect of the recruiting process.
And it could help you in the future,
By opening up opportunities that you didn’t know existed.