The intangible qualities coaches seek in college lacrosse players

“I feel like I can tell in the first couple of minutes of watching a kid play if he is a good lacrosse player or not—they pass the eye test, you see athletic ability, you see skill. The toughest piece is figuring out the most important piece.”
– Jason Archbell, Bowdoin College Head Lacrosse Coach

Hyde School Lacrosse coach Chris Kidger recently sat down with Bowdoin College Head Lacrosse Coach Jason Archbell. Coach Archbell shared some incredible insight into what he and his staff seek to identify when recruiting future Polar Bears. To the delight of Mr. Kidger, the intangible traits they seek in players align quite seamlessly with the character aspects of a Hyde School education. Read on as Mr. Kidger shares the mysterious traits that will get you recruited at the college level.

Keep up with your Academics

For those of you who think athletic ability alone is going to get you into a top-tier academic institution, think again. While Coach Archbell expressed he does have some impact in the admissions process, he was quite adamant that the student-athletes they are able to support have an academic profile quite similar to a student who gets in on their own.

The three intangibles you need in addition to skill & academic grades

When talking about evaluating players for the Bowdoin Lacrosse program, Coach Archbell had significantly more to say about the time and effort he and his staff put forth into determining the quality of a young man’s character than he ever mentioned about a player’s ability on the field.

“I feel like I can tell in the first couple of minutes of watching a kid play if he is a good lacrosse player or not—they pass the eye test, you see athletic ability, you see skill. The toughest piece is figuring out the most important piece.” This “most important piece” he is referencing is the three intangibles that are non-negotiable in all potential Bowdoin Lacrosse players.

  1. Selflessness
    Being selfless is a pillar of Bowdoin Lacrosse. That goes not only for the way in which you play the game, but also for who you are as a teammate. To play at Bowdoin, you must be a good teammate. Players must be concerned about the outcome of the game from a team perspective, not in terms of individual accomplishment. Coach Archbell went on to say, when he is scouting a player, “I can tell if a kid is a good player in a half of lacrosse, and I spend more time watching a kid on the sidelines with how he is interacting with his coaches and teammates.”
  2. Toughness
    Coach Archbell and his staff work to ensure they are going to be enabling success in the young men they bring to Brunswick. For a student-athlete to be successful at Bowdoin, both mental and physical toughness on the field and off are a must. Success in this program comes to those who are resilient, relentless, and self-motivated—in life and in athletics. To be successful at Bowdoin one must not be afraid of a challenge. You must be willing to constantly challenge yourself on the field, in your academics, in the weight room, and as a leader. “These are the guys we know will be successful here!” he says.
  3. Enthusiasm
    To play for Bowdoin, you must love to play the sport of lacrosse! It has to be fun for you, you have to have passion. Coach Archbell wants players who celebrate after goals, guys who get excited after big plays, and guys who can cheer on their teammates. If you don’t love lacrosse, Bowdoin is not the right place for you.

“If I hear from a high school coach that a kid does not have these things, he could be the best player in the world, but he’s not going to be a good fit for us,” Coach Archbell warns.

Luckily for students at Hyde School, these qualities are qualities that students learn to develop on a daily basis. The school was founded around five words – character, integrity, leadership, curiosity, and concern, and students find ways every day to practice and develop these aspects in themselves.

Each student becomes a member of a Discovery Group, a group that operates a bit like your family away from home. Students check in with each other and support each other through struggles, as well as celebrating each other’s accomplishments. Students find that when they are looking out for fellow students and not just themselves, their own lives improve.

One Hyde student remarked of this phenomenon, “Well, after I got done telling my classmate what he needed to work on, I felt this strange desire to set an example. I definitely did not want to be a hypocrite. And you know, come to think of it, I just had the best week I have ever had in school.”

Not only do Hyde students practice selflessness on a daily basis, they also strengthen their mental and physical toughness. Instead of extracurricular activities, Hyde has “co-curricular” activities. Everyone, faculty included, does everything. In this way, if you are being challenged doing an activity that you would never have opted into on your own, it helps you to know others are challenged right along with you. You are able to build up your mental and physical toughness through familiar and new challenges.

One aspect of having everyone do everything at Hyde, is that the Hyde Lacrosse Program is a mix of future college players to players who are new to the sport all together. Hyde Lacrosse provides students the opportunity to challenge themselves to a new sport in an environment in which they can be successful. That environment is built through the older and more experienced players who have the responsibility to mentor and develop newer players and share their love of lacrosse. Through this leadership model, the Hyde Lacrosse Program instills confidence in our athletes, showing them the support to become highly skilled lacrosse players, and gives great lacrosse players the opportunity to become great leaders and young men.

To help you get recruited by college lacrosse coaches, keep in mind that they are looking for skilled players who are good students and caring individuals. If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Hyde Lacrosse team to help work on the qualities that coaches look for, apply to be recruited by Hyde today!

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