Encourage athletes to be proactive and send a recruiting questionnaire and highlight video. That may put them on the coach’s radar and they may be looking for you instead of the other way around.
As a parent, you know student-athletes should drive their search for the right college program. You know student-athletes should be fully-engaged in their recruiting process. You know these things, yet many parents find it hard to sit on the sidelines and give more responsibility to their children – especially when it comes to such a big decision.
The good news is there are things parents can do (without helicoptering in) to positively impact their child’s recruiting journey. Here are three:
Don’t do the work for your athlete
We know; easier said than done. But college coaches want to connect with student-athletes and get to know them. They cannot do that if you are the one calling, emailing or making direct contact.
Also know coaches often see it as a sign of maturity to hear directly from an athlete rather than a parent. It shows a level of maturity and independence that’s essential to compete at the college level.
What parents should do: Reassure student-athletes not to be intimidated, and that coaches just want to get to know them. Remind them they will make a more memorable impression by answering a coach’s questions with more than one-word answers and asking questions of their own. Coaches have been talking to kids for years and they expect them to be a little nervous, so they will often help put your child at ease one the conversation begins.
Make connections, help build a recruiting team
Your child is not alone in the recruiting process. You have some great support players who you should make part of your recruiting team.
What parents should do: Recruit your student-athletes' current coach in the process. They can play a significant role by providing invaluable recommendations about your child’s work ethic and character. Also, reach out also to your student-athlete’s guidance counselor and inquire about academic eligibility and to help build an appropriate course schedule.
Set a good example on the sidelines
College coaches aren’t just evaluating your student-athlete; they are watching you, too. They notice when parents are riding officials, trying to coach their athlete from the stands or are complaining loudly about playing time.
What parents should do: Set a good example with your own behavior. A good rule of thumb is to act like a college coach is at every game. If you do happen to see a coach at a game or event, be respectful of that coach’s time.
For example, if a coach is evaluating prospects at a showcase or tournament, it is probably not the best time to introduce yourself. Instead, athletes should be encouraged be proactive and send their recruiting questionnaire and highlight video. That may put them on the coach’s radar, and they may be looking for you, instead of the other way around.