The recruiting process is tough on high school athletes, and it’s stressful for parents too. Parents want the best for their kids, and as a parent the natural urge is to jump in and do anything you can to help your athletic offspring land a coveted athletic scholarship. But there’s a fine line between offering gentle guidance and being overbearing.
Recruiting responsibility likes mainly with the athlete. Parents that take too active of a role in the recruiting process may actually hamper the efforts of their athletic son or daughter.
Recruiting Rules for Parents
Don’t be a helicopter mom or “we dad”.
A helicopter parent hovers over their child and doesn’t let them grow or act on their own. A “we” parent lives vicariously through their child, and uses phrases like, “We are interested in State University and tomorrow we’re visiting College A&M”. Remember, the athlete is the one who should be in charge of the recruiting process.
Teach humility and use the “ACE” formula.
Some gifted athletes are never told no. College coaches don’t want to add attitude problems to their programs, so parents should try to instill humility in their child and nurture a humble, gracious athlete who works hard on the field and in the classroom.
The ACE (Academics, Character, Effort) formula is a good way to remember what’s important.
- Academics: Teach the importance of having high academic standards at an early age and grades likely won’t ever be a problem.
- Character: An athlete with character works hard, makes good decisions, and can become a team leader.
- Effort: A good work ethic is a huge part of the success of student-athletes. College athletes with the desire to improve on the field or court and in the classroom are all but guaranteed success.
Be an assistant and a mentor, and not just a cheerleader.
Teach your child how to stand on his/her own. Help them set goals, but give them the freedom to reach them on their own. Help coordinate the recruiting process, but make sure that your student-athlete does most of the work him/herself.
Also, know that rejection is part of recruiting, so provide loving support when rejection happens and always remind your child that you’re proud of them. Rejection, and the response to it, can be an exercise in character building.
Create a timeline and a recruiting plan and follow them both.
There are several ways a parent can help with the recruiting process without taking over completely.
- Set up a recruiting plan that includes academic tracking (including monitoring core courses and GPA), setting athletic goals, and creating a recruiting resume.
- Get a third-party evaluation. Let’s be honest, parents aren’t the best talent evaluators. A third-party evaluation can help you realistically assess your child’s talent, which makes choosing a college a lot easier.
- Become familiar with the NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete and research college websites. Check college media guides online for athletes at colleges your son or daughter is interested in. Biographies of players already at the school can provide a good idea of what the program is looking for.
- Set aside time for campus visits and make sure that your high school athlete is regularly communicating with coaches. A parent should never make calls to prospective coaches. Coaches recruit athletes, not parents.
- Help your child create a highlight or skills video
- Encourage the athlete to have a positive relationship with his/her high school coach. College coaches talk to high school coaches during the recruiting process, and a bad relationship between a player and coach can prove to be harmful.