Plan, Prioritize, Control the Chaos: Recruiting Advice with Dickinson’s Dave Webster

Plan, Prioritize, Control the Chaos: Recruiting Advice with Dickinson’s Dave Webster


Interview by Tyler King of Connectlax

Dave Webster is Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach at Dickinson College. After graduating from Dickinson in 1988, Coach Webster began his coaching career at Marymount University where he started the first program in the university’s history in 1991. He spent seven years there building a highly regarded NCAA Division III program, earning Capital Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1994 and 1997. Coach Webster enjoyed a three-year coaching stint at Franklin & Marshall College where he recruited and coached several All-Americans.

Coach Webster returned to his alma mater, Dickinson College where he has enjoyed tremendous success. After five seasons, Coach Webster recorded his 100th career win and soon after became Dickinson’s all-time win leader. The Red Devils have made four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, winning three consecutive Centennial Conference Championships. Setting numerous school records in 2013, Dickinson won 18 straight games before falling in the NCAA playoffs to finish 18-1.

What advice do you have for players interested in playing DIII lacrosse?

My two pieces of advice are this. First, there is a huge range of schools in DIII, so take care of the “school” aspect first. Determining the type of school will help steer your selection process.

Second, don’t stop developing as an athlete. You shouldn’t give up on playing other sports in order to play year-round lacrosse. Concepts such as footwork, spacing on defense and communication are common in most other team sports. Playing various sports will certainly help increase your athletic ability.

What’s the best way to get on your recruiting radar? Any things recruits shouldn’t do?

Have a plan in place. Prioritize. Make a list of colleges and identify several things you like about them. I like when recruits are very informed about the recruiting process as well as the various lacrosse programs they’re considering. When kids copy and paste 70 coaches to an email it’s evident. Especially, when they copy in the wrong coach’s name. We usually look over those.

Also, be a self-promoter. Stay humble, but be sure to share your personal accomplishments from the classroom and the field. This is your way of being distinctive in the recruiting process.

What’s a question you wished recruits asked you more during the recruiting process?

Asking about the program’s style of play is most important. Every program is going to have a distinct way of running things. It doesn’t make sense for an aggressive, takeaway defender to play for a program that is going to run a conservative, zone defense.

If a coach is willing, ask for some game film. This shows serious interest in the lacrosse side of things and in learning about a program’s style of play. It never hurts to go watch a DIII game when you have a free Saturday either.

What are a few indicators that help you determine whether a good high school player will become a great college player?

We try to find those guys who haven’t peaked yet. For me, I can tell certain guys have an attitude like they have something to prove. They’re just hungry. You can see it in their play. That mindset is more evident when I meet with the player and their family too.

What’s special about being a student-athlete at Dickinson?

Our program is defined by a certain balance. There are a lot of extracurricular opportunities for our players. Studying abroad, joining clubs and student groups or playing intramural football are some examples to name a few. On the lacrosse side, we practice hard, play fast and run full field. We work to get better and to excel during the season. It’s pretty special because the players really have fun in our program. And I think that fun comes from the players having some balance in their lives.

How has the accelerated recruiting process impacted your approach to recruiting? 

The impact trickles down from the top, like most sports. DI programs are recruiting their talent much earlier. However there is so much talent out there with recruits looking for different types of schools, like a Dickinson or similar DIII school.

We’re still able to find players the traditional ways too. We scout them at tournaments and hear about players through high school or club coaches.

Great, thanks Coach Webster. Any final thoughts?

I see a lot of parents and families get overwhelmed by the whole recruiting process. Just make it a good experience. Make sure there’s balance to the process.

Plan…prioritize…control the chaos.

ConnectLAX is a third party recruiting service and not affiliated with or endorsed by Dickinson College or Dave Webster.

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