Exciting Prep Bound Event Introduces Players to New Educational Opportunities
Since its founding in 2009, 3d Lacrosse has actively helped its high school-age players find a college home to continue their lacrosse journey. This fall, for the first time, 3d set its sights on organizing a forum for youth educational opportunities via 3d Prep Bound, a single-day event held for seventh, eighth and ninth grade boys and girls to explore prep school opportunities. Held in two locations on consecutive Sundays (Greenwich, Conn. and Brookline, Mass.), more than 50 schools, 50+ coaches and 230 families participated.
“Prep Bound is the first of its kind in the sport, and based on the participation level and feedback, we know it was a huge success,” said John Bayreuther, 3d Lacrosse Director of Club Player Advancement.
Bayreuther, who was among more than a dozen 3d executives and coaches involved in planning and implementing the Prep Bound event, is uniquely qualified to understand the complexities of educational choice and academic planning. Beyond his role with 3d, he serves as Associate Director of Admissions and Varsity Lacrosse Coach at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hampshire.
“For families, identifying the next educational step for their son or daughter can be a complicated time fraught with both joy and stress,” said Bayreuther. “With so many motivated lacrosse players, we felt we could provide a productive and interesting forum in a relaxed environment.”
But just a gymnasium with booths or a hallway tabling event was not the sum of the 3d Prep Bound plan.
3d Lacrosse Director of New England Dave Jenkins said the goal was to develop a full-day program that mixed lacrosse instruction and games with valuable academic information and the opportunity to meet a diverse selection of coaches in a single location.
“It just makes sense to bring the schools to the players,” Jenkins said. “Within a sports atmosphere, everyone is having a great time while learning new lacrosse skills and also learning what they need to know about their next academic stage.”
Coaches and school admissions personnel from a 50-50 mix of day and boarding schools participated, driving (and in some cases flying) from institutions along the entire eastern seaboard and even from as far away as Tennessee.
John Stull, father to Tommy (2020) categorized the event as a game-changer – an event of the highest value – noting that Prep Bound is both original and also consistent with 3d’s dedication to guiding young people’s futures.
“We’ve been involved in 3d programming for several years and the organization is always thinking outside of the box. This event was a really big deal for us,” said Stull. “We attended both Saturdays and Tommy made great connections with schools and coaches that will last a lifetime, regardless of whether he plays for or against them in the future. He spent time with at least 20 coaches who spoke with him on the sideline, followed-up via e-mail or greeted him again warmly during the second weekend.”
Carl Brodnax, father to Cayden (2019), felt that the event mixed lacrosse and education in an appropriate balance.
“While the coaches were interested in Cayden’s athletic ability, they were far more interested in making a good academic match,” said Brodnax. “And the pre-lacrosse session about admissions was truly insightful.”
Another Boston-based Dad of two 3d players appreciated the ability to become acquainted with multiple schools at a single event.
“For the admissions cycle, Prep Bound was scheduled as the first among many meet-and-greet individual school open houses that take place throughout the region so the timing was great. We were able to become acquainted with more coaches and learn about more schools in a few hours than would have been possible in a full day traveling from campus to campus.”
The Prep Bound day began with a 90-minute panel discussion led by John Bayreuther, asking key questions to coaches representing an assortment of schools, ranging from what a student’s daily life might feel like to financial aid policies.
Dave Jenkins added, “I think everyone really got an understanding about what an admissions interview would feel like – what questions might be asked along with the helpful suggestions like how it’s productive for kids to visit a school’s website in advance and write down any the questions they have and bring them along. Among my many takeaways was that applicants shouldn’t feel as though everything needs to be kept inside their head throughout the entire meeting.”
Next up was a 90-minute practice followed by game-play. More than fifty coaches watched from the sidelines as players ran through 12 different drill stations, and each athlete was able to participate in two full games.
Jenkins noted that training efforts were typical of 3d Lacrosse’s methodology, focused on high-fun, high-touch, and high-rep drills meant to keep positive energy levels moving upwards while reducing any downward worrisome thinking.
“Yes, there are coaches on the sideline and participating in some of the drills,” Jenkins said, “but we worked to engage the players so they didn’t feel pressured. For some players, this might have been the first time they were getting looks from coaches other than their own school or club and we wanted to show off everyone’s best efforts without feeling they were under a microscope.”
Stull suggested that the training component alone made the event a winner.
“Like most 3d training, it was well run, well-coached and focused on how effectively the kids could grasp and incorporate new skills into their play,” he said. “And when it came to game-time, the kids were coached to a level of team-oriented lacrosse with tons of passing and high-level play.”
Brodnax added that among the many reasons he brought his family to Prep Bound was the knowledge that 3d would bring in high-caliber athletes in a well-organized atmosphere.
“The event was really a great balance of drills versus game play,” he said. “The number of 3d coaches embedded at each drill station added to the enthusiastic energy. Overall, the depth and breadth of schools represented were astounding.”
Tommy Stull arrived at the first Prep Bound event with interests in five different schools. Though he left increasingly motivated (but still with the same number of schools), his prospective choices were re-prioritized.
“Tommy’s new perspective wasn’t predicated on anything the schools did or didn’t do,” said John Stull. “His new thinking came from the overall experience where he was able to learn which ones were the best matches for him.”
Planning for a 2016 event is already underway.
“The common language of lacrosse and a love for the game served as a great basis for Prep Bound so we’re thrilled to have served as matchmaker,” said Jenkins. “We’re looking forward to seeing a lot of terrific athletes begin a new academic journey this coming fall and beyond.”
Click here for more information on 3d Prep Bound Showcase.