In Episode Two, we sit down with Mike and Corey Winkoff from FLG Lacrosse. The Winkoff’s have a ton of experience in the lacrosse space as players, coaches and administrators. In the podcast, they provide poignant commentary on a variety of topics including the early recruiting phenomenon, and provide salient advice for club owners, parents and student-athletes.
[ecko_toggle style=”solid” state=”closed” title=”About the Recruiting Closet Podcast”]On The Recruiting Closet Podcast, we hear from elite college athletes, owners and directors of some of the largest youth Lacrosse, Volleyball, Soccer, Field Hockey, and Baseball clubs in North America. We interview college coaches at NAIA and NCAA colleges at the Division 1 (DI), Division 2 (DII), and Division 3 (DIII) collegiate levels to find out what they’re looking for when they recruit student-athletes. Our guests know what’s important in the complicated world of college athletic recruiting. The show features thought-provoking discussions with the experts who are passionate about youth sports. Want to know how NCAA rules effect your ability to get recruited? This is the show for you. Want advice from leaders at the biggest, highest profile clubs about how to help your high school student-athletes secure rosters positions, even college scholarships and financial aid, to play at the next level? Listen up.
The Recruiting Closet Podcast is hosted by SportsRecruits and the SportsRecruits Recruiting Management Platform. The SportsRecruits Recruiting Management Platform is the technology built for youth sports clubs and high school student-athletes to give them access to every college coach in the country. Club organizations use our Platform to empower their players in the college recruiting process and oversee their efforts and communication with complete transparency. Connections made on the platform have resulted in commitments to the best academic and athletic institutions across the country. SportsRecruits is headquartered in New York City. For more information, visit SportsRecruits.com/clubs.
Thanks to Mike and Corey for making the time!
- On first positive and first negative experience of playing lacrosse as a parent/coach-son combination, and using those experiences to shape current the current mindset [3:40]
- On the history of FLG Lacrosse [7:25]
- On how they go about helping players in the recruiting process [9:00]
- On why they enjoy assisting players in the recruiting process [11:15]
- On helping parents who may be feeling the pressure in the recruiting process [13:15]
- On the clubs values, goals and philosophy [24:15]
- On early recruiting [26:15]
- On establishing relationships between the club and college coaches [36:10]
- On advice to club staffers and parents in dealing with the recruiting process [40:30]
Selected Quotes from Mike Winkoff
“I wasn’t happy with the landscape. So we started a team. We had one team, and raised the money from donors. Nobody paid for anything – hotels, tournament fees, etc. The following year (2006-7), we had three teams – two boys teams and one girls team – and raised $225,000. Of course in 2008, the world changed and we had to move to the pay for play model. But that is where we started.”
“The recruiting process for me and the directors is probably our favorite part of the job, because you are helping somebody make the biggest decision in lives to that point that is going to form the rest of their life. It’s a great experience.”
“The bottom line is you have to be real with the family. Every student-athlete is so different. If you have anxiety because somebody else does something – that is a bit short-sighted. You can’t get caught up in the stuff that’s not important. What’s important is the happiness of the child. At the end of the day, it’s about where and when is the right fit.”
“The pressure put on these kids, being recruited so young, is unfortunate. If it was up to myself and Corey, they would only recruit rising seniors. But we can’t change that landscape. So what we have to do is tell parents and help them realize. We once had a player get 11 DI offers his rising senior year. So there is always opportunity. At the end of the day, the kid who commits later is in a better spot. They are finding the right fit. An eighth or ninth grader cannot find the right fit. They are just trying to figure out high school.”
“We know the process is flawed. These kids aren’t ready to make the decision of where to go to college. It’s all about guidance, and sometimes, the parents need it more than the kids.”
“SportsRecruits is our organizational tool for recruiting, and it’s been a godsend. It helps our kids organize themselves; it helps us organize each recruit – following their activity and seeing what they are doing. We need that tool for a small program like ours – I can only imagine how bigger organizations do not have something like that.”
“If you come to our program, everybody plays equally. We are not looking to win the fourth grade national championship. It’s not something that means anything to us. We want to develop the players and get them better. Our goals are different than other people’s goals.”
“The biggest problem that I see is they are not spending the time to evaluate the fit. They are rushing through the process instead of doing their homework. Look at the process identically as if you weren’t an athlete. Do the homework about the school – how the child fits academically, socially and economically for the family.”
“I believe that our job as club directors is to be what the guidance teacher is in school. Get to know the student-athlete and what makes them happy. We all know the happier the student, the better their experience.”
“We are not saying our philosophies are the right ones. We are saying they are ours. We want like-minded people in the organization. We are not saying we are right and others are wrong. We are saying if these philosophies and morals align with yours, come join our program.”
Selected Quotes from Corey Winkoff
“Youth sports shouldn’t really be about the wins and the losses. It should be about the development.”
“We find it insane that there are clubs out there with four or five teams per age group. How could you possibly help all of those kids? That’s why we stick to the one team per age group.”
“Every player’s recruiting process is different. Some happen a lot sooner than others. That’s where the time comes in. We have a passion for helping players get from one stage to the next. The motivation comes naturally.”
“It depends on what you represent and what you want your brand to represent. In our minds, if we have 20 players, we want 20 players to have amazing experiences and be happy. If only 19 are happy, it’s up to us to reevaluate.”
“If you are playing for our program, we feel you want to use the sport of lacrosse to get into a great school or set yourself up for success.”
About FLG Lacrosse
Through lacrosse, FLG teaches its members valuable skills, such as leadership, teamwork, friendship and a good work ethic, that are important in every aspect of life. Off the field, FLG players are taught the importance of giving back, partaking in various charities, mentoring and community service events. Since its inception in 2007, the FLG organization has successfully used lacrosse as a foundation to build more than just athletes.