College Recruiting: What Do Coaches Look For?


How can I get a scholarship to play? How do I know which program is for me? How do I learn more about college sports in the USA? When it comes to being recruited for a college program, there are thousands of questions and details to look into. The problem is, not every resource has the correct information, updated information on the latest NCAA regulations, or connections to what it’s really like at each university. At Uru Sports, we’ve made it our mission to provide you the realities of what it’s really like and get insight from those on the inside: coaches and athletes who have lived it.


Division I field hockey programs have full-time employees on their staff designated for recruiting and finding the best talent for their program. What do they look for? For example, for defenders, they want to see trapping skills, sweeps, push passes, how you receive the ball, how your hands are with various movements, intercepting balls, footwork, how you defend 3D skills, 1v1 situations, and more. That’s it eh? Sound intimidating yet?


They also want to see full game footage so they can watch your decision-making skills, what your game IQ, and how you react during a turnover or failed play. Now, before you get too overwhelmed or discouraged, it’s important that you remember that at the collegiate level, you are dedicating sometimes 20+ hours a week for practice, weightlifting & fitness, travel, games, rehab and strength building, on top of your full education requirements. Thus, it is important that they find the perfect-fit athlete. On the flip side, you want to make sure that the team you are looking for can provide the culture you want, and the education you’re looking for as well.


At the end of the day, coaches want to see your personality. They want to know how you react when you lose a point, turnover the ball, etc. It’s in these moments that the coach sees what type of a teammate you will be, and what role you will play on their team as a whole. On The Global Game Podcast, we had a unique opportunity to interview the legendary Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw on her stance on recruiting. Apart from building a great coaching staff to recruit talent, she went into what her process looked like:

“When you bring players in, [we would have them] spend time with the team. After, I would ask our team: Do you like her? Does she fit? We want to have that chemistry, because you can only be successful if you like each other. I think team chemistry is more important than talent to me. Everybody has to have a role, and you have to fit all of the pieces together. So, trying to find the right pieces, there are a lot of talented women out there, but they’re not all the right fit for Notre Dame or for us…you know, we weren’t all the same, there were way different personalities and we had different things, but when we got together, it was just magical.”


Beyond the fit on the court, it’s important to understand that recruiting exceeds athleticism and ability, but goes into academic profile, and what you value as a person. For McGraw:Field hockey team fun

“Personality wise, we would also look at things like: how many days of school did they miss? We’d talk to the teachers and coaches, and high school coaches since they know and are a bit more honest. And [we’d talk to] the parents, it’s a family decision.”


While college recruiting is full of anxiety, nervous campus visits, and creating playing film, the recruiting process goes beyond just what you can do as an athlete. In the USA collegiate system, there are many schools and levels of play, so it’s important to find the one that meets your needs and expectations, so you can thrive and succeed as a player. For more information on specific programs, and to see which program might be the best fit for you, visit our Uru App. For more detailed feedback, you can email our team at [email protected]


Photos courtesy of UNC and Boston University Field Hockey social media.

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