The process of recruiting can be incredibly time-consuming, confusing and stressful for young athletes. Combine this with school, studying, training and social stresses it is often a very difficult period of time. Often teenagers will lean on their parents for support, advice and help to keep them on track. But what is your job as a parent in the recruiting process?
How much is enough help, and what actions are considered “crossing the line”
Here’s an Access Sport guide to help clear up the confusion.
YES! Parents are encouraged to take these actions…
- Encourage your athlete to research universities and athletic programs early in the process, Ask them questions to direct their thought process, but allow them to find answers on their own.
- Help your athlete identify their top 10, but be realistic in creating these lists – look at academic, athletic, and social criteria
- Share success stories about your own collegiate career to get them excited!
- Speak with parents of current athletes attending university about their school, coach and experience.
- Help your athlete prepare a list of questions to ask coaches during email correspondence, telephone calls or on campus visits, see our website for suggestions.
- If it’s financially possible for your family, help your athlete plan unofficial visits to campuses. Encourage them to attend camps to learn about the schools and athletic programs.
- Keep your student focused on academic success throughout high school. Encourage them to enroll and study for their SAT exams in grade 11.
- Be positive and optimistic throughout the recruiting process, remind your athlete that you will support their final decisions, but allow them to make the ultimate choice.
NO! Parents should refrain from doing the following…
- Do not email or call coaches on your child’s behalf – let your athlete make and build a relationship with each potential coach
- When meeting with a coach, do not answer questions on behalf of your athlete – let them speak for themselves.
- Try not to influence their ultimate university choice by telling them where you think they should go.
- College questionnaires, and email responses to coaches should be completed by the student-athlete NOT the parents.
- During telephone conversations with the coach, stay off the call unless you are asked to listen in. The coach is most interested in speaking with the athlete.
- During competitions when there are college coaches present, refrain from sitting next to them and talking up the positive attributes of your child. If your child has had correspondence with that coach, introduce yourself briefly, but do not linger.
- Do not pressure your athlete to play better, or study harder in order to get recruited. Often this additional pressure is counter-productive.
- Never overstate your child’s ability or academic capabilities. This, most likely, will result in a poor long-term decision and a bad collegiate fit for your child AND the coach. You want to set your child up for success, and as much as you love them – I bet you want them to graduate, not return home after a semester because they are unhappy with their choice!
In general, coaches are hesitant to recruit players whose parents are too involved. Each coach is on the look out for student-athletes that will fit with their program not just athletically, but also in personality, work ethic, academic excellence and many other factors. If you are too involved as a parent, the coach cannot develop the personal relationship necessary to determine if your athlete is a good fit or not. Remember, your athlete will be spending most of their time out of class with their team and coach, they will become a family away from home. While it is important for you to be comfortable with where you are sending them to school, it is far more important that your athlete is comfortable in their relationships with the team, coach, athletic department and campus surroundings.
When is a good time to get involved?
Often in the recruiting process, email correspondence flies back and forth and can sometimes feel like the process is not getting to a decisive conclusion. At this point it is a good idea for Mom or Dad to call or email the coach to find out
1. Where your athlete stands on their recruiting lists and
2. If there will be a scholarship offer made.
The recruiting process is stressful and is the start of big change in your families life! As parents provide support, guidance and encouragement and urge your children to: (a) think and speak for themselves, (b) do as much research as possible, and (c) ultimately make a personal decision that they are comfortable with.