Below we’ve outlined the dos and the don’ts for parents as they help their student-athlete through the recruiting process and contacting college coaches.
The college recruiting process is dictated by the NCAA recruiting rules and calendar. To keep your student-athlete’s recruiting on track, take time to review the recruiting rules and identify important dates on the calendar. For example, most Division 1 and Division 2 coaches can begin communicating with student-athletes and their families starting on June 15 after the athlete’s sophomore year. Before this date, parents should encourage their student-athletes to send an introductory email to college coaches but explain to them that coaches will be unable to respond until after the June 15 date. As soon as communication can begin between coaches and recruits, parents should help their athlete practice clear and consistent communication.
Unofficial and official visits play a crucial role in the recruiting process by allowing student-athletes and their families a chance to explore campus, meet the team and get to know the coaching staff. During these visits, student-athletes and their parents should come prepared with questions for the coaching staff, but parents should allow their athlete to take the lead during the conversation. While coaches respect that parents will want to ask questions, their main focus is getting to know the student-athletes.
The same rules apply if your recruiting visit virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parents should allow their student-athlete to lead the video chat and only provide support when needed.
Before each visit, parents should sit down with their athlete to determine what questions to ask and allow the student-athlete to practice asking those questions. To help you and your student-athlete prepare a list of questions, check out these 10 questions you should ask college coaches.
Empower your student-athlete
What student-athletes need most from their parents during the recruiting process is support and guidance. Help your athlete brainstorm talking points and questions, practice conversations for phone calls and visits and proofread digital communications, while also making it clear that the athlete is responsible for sending emails, making phone calls and carrying the conversation during unofficial and official visits.
Reach out to college coaches
While tempting, reaching out to college coaches on behalf of your athlete may do more harm than good. The reality is, student-athletes should be the only ones initiating email communication, phone calls and contact during recruiting events with college coaches. Parents should consider themselves a support system, allowing their student-athletes to be an advocate for themselves, while providing support in the background.
Advocate for your student-athlete
It’s important for parents to keep in mind that the college recruiting process is intended to help coaches and student-athletes get to know one another. Overstepping your bounds as a parent can put your athlete at risk of losing recruiting opportunities. This includes calling college coaches to advocate for your athlete or speaking on your athlete’s behalf during a visit or phone call.
Allow your athlete to speak for themselves, so coaches can best gauge their genuine interest in the program and whether they will be a good fit for the team. If your athlete is nervous or unsure of how to carry conversations with coaches, the best thing parents can do is practice using role play. This will allow your athlete to practice having a recruiting conversation and give you an opportunity to provide constructive feedback on how they can improve.