Lake Forest Women’s Hockey Coach, Jennifer Wilson, on the do’s and don’ts of Recruiting

Lake Forest Women’s Hockey Coach, Jennifer Wilson, on the do’s and don’ts of Recruiting Lake Forest Women’s Hockey Coach, Jennifer Wilson, on the do’s and don’ts of Recruiting

Jennifer Wilson is the fourth head coach of the Forester women’s hockey program. Wilson coached at Buffalo State, in her first season she guided the team to a 13-11-2 overall record in 2017-18. The team was 9-6-1 in conference play. They earned a home game by placing second in the standings behind perennial national power Plattsburgh State.

Coach Wilson played at Manhattanville College, where she was part of the 2006 ECAC-East Championship team that posted a 23-4-1 record.  

2aDays: What is the most important quality you look for in a recruit? 

An individual who is not only a good hockey player but a good person. We look for recruits that are kind to their teammates, respectful of their opponents, and have a can’t fail attitude.

2aDays: What is the best way for a recruit to get on your radar?

An email with your reasons why you are interested in the college. The days of generic mass emails are over! Express why you are truly interested in the college with proper grammar and spelling. If you have a schedule attached to it, if you have a video of you playing (and not just a highlight reel) even better!

2aDays: When should an athlete contact you, what is the best way? (age, grade, time of year, email, phone, or other)

At the Division 3 level, we pay very little attention to anyone who is not a Junior Status as we can’t discuss our program with them due to NCAA rules. The end of summer heading into the big fall tournament time by email or mail.

2aDays: What are your expectations for incoming players in the classroom, in the weight room, and on the ice?

We hold our classroom standards very high. You must be a good student and we have a mandatory 3.0 GPA that all must uphold or they will attend 6 study hall hours a week. In the weight room, we take our time to show new recruits and freshmen the proper form and encourage them to ask questions of our strength coaches when they are unsure. A common understanding of general full-body lifts is encouraged prior to coming into the season. On the ice, we are looking to kids who are eager to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Who put the team first and hold themselves accountable on and off the ice.

2aDays: What are the do’s and don’ts of being recruited?

Do be as honest as you can with a coach. If you have no interest in attending that program..let them know. It will save a headache for both of you. Do take a visit! Most programs can’t sell you verbally what a visual could. Take as many as you can and start those in the summer of your Junior year. Figure out what is important to you (Location, Size, Majors, Student Life, etc.) and don’t settle for a school that doesn’t meet your standards. Don’t write off a college coach and not respond. You never know when you may need to reach back out to them. The hockey world is a small world and everyone talks…be respectful at all times even when your answer is no. Don’t send mass generic emails and forget to change the mascot or coach’s name. Most will stop reading at the first line. Don’t take it as NOT INTERESTED when a coach doesn’t get back to you right away. We are very busy individuals and may be focused on numerous things. Reach out and express your interest again and make the coach make the decision for you.

2aDays: What is the best advice you can offer a recruit?

Take the initiative to set a campus visit date. Request this from the coach and have a plan for when you will be there. Contact the admissions department to make sure that you can meet with them as well to get more information on the University. Send videos, stats and, schedules as soon as you get them and remind coaches of when you will be in their area.

2aDays: What really jumps out to you when reviewing a recruit’s highlight tape? 

When reviewing a tape, I like to see what the recruit is doing when he/she doesn’t have the puck or is the main presence of the clip. A highlight reel doesn’t tell me how hard you back-check when you lose the puck, it doesn’t show me your defensive positioning to prevent the other team from scoring. I want to see how you battle into plays and how you react to plays that go poorly. Scoring goals is great and we always like to see a player skate end for end but at this level, you will be forced to use your teammates so let’s see it now!

2aDays: What are the main do’s and don’ts for a recruit’s highlight tape?

Do have it be of good quality. Watching a film that is jittery and blurry typically will result in a frustrated and motion sick coach. Do make sure that you are circling or highlighting which player you are on the ice at all times. If this service is not available list what number and color jersey you are for each clip and what times you complete what you are trying to showcase. Don’t make a highlight reel. Don’t make it more than 5 minutes. If we see something that we like, we will take the time to come to a full need to film the whole thing.

2aDays: When do you recommend recruits put together and share their highlight reels? Is it best to make their highlight reel during offseason, in the middle of the season, or after each game?

I recommend that they are constantly adding games to their reels. The end of the season in junior year, start of the fall season and hopefully you have a pretty good idea going into Winter where you will be attending.

2aDays: What advice do you have for recruits who get turned down by their dream schools? What are their options if they don’t gain the recruiting attention they desire?

Be persistent. I think the best way to keep a coach’s eye on you is to let them know how passionate you are about the school. Take the visits, watch the team play. Ask yourself a very hard question if you can see yourself on that roster…if the answer is no and you don’t have a good relationship with the open-minded and look at other options. There are dozens of great schools to choose from that may be similar to the things you like about your dream school…don’t pigeonhole yourself into just one school.

2aDays: How big a factor is social media when recruiting players? What advice do you have for athletes regarding social media?

Everything that is on the internet you can’t take back. If you wouldn’t want your mom or dad to see it…then you shouldn’t be posting it. It’s hard for a recruiting coach to get to know you over the phone or email so a look into your social media sites gives us an impression of who you are. Make it a good one!

* Originally published on October 22, 2019, by Keirsten Sires

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