As a parent of a recruited student-athlete you need to ask yourself a question before the process starts: “Which one of us wants to be a college athlete?” Many times parents–with the right intentions–will take control of the recruiting process. They think they’re helping their son or daughter, but many times they take over because they want it more than the athlete.
The Student Needs to be Engaged in the Process
If your student-athlete is not engaged enough in the recruiting process to lead the charge, what leads you to believe that they’ll be engaged enough in being a student-athlete to keep up their grades, conditioning, and all that goes along with being in college.
As a parent you will need to walk a fine line of getting them the guidance, resources and encouragement they need, but don’t take over the process for them. Coaches are not looking to recruit the parents, coaches or recruiting agency…they want to recruit the athlete!
Here are some basic rules to follow:
Check in With Your Athlete
Help them establish a plan on who and how to contact coaches of schools they ‘re interested in. Recruiting takes a lot of organization and can be overwhelming. Make sure you are there for them to get a game plan together, then make sure you check in on the progress periodically to see if they’re on the right path.
Don’t Be the Contact
Coaches have no desire to talk to you as parent unless they’re trying to finalize any commitments. If your student-athlete is not mature enough to make phone calls or answer emails for themselves then they ‘re not ready to be a collegiate student-athlete.
Make a Priority List
Sit down with your son/daughter and make a priority list of what they want in a school. Encourage them to be realistic and help them evaluate if it’s realistic for your family to afford without financial aide. Even if some of their priorities seem silly to you make sure you talk through them and help them find a school that matches most of their wants and needs.
Don’t Live Vicariously Through Your Kid
Some parents see their child as an extension of themselves. Don’t mistake that to mean that they need to live out your dreams. They will never be successful unless they are fulfilling their own dreams and following their own path. You should always give your 2 cents on what you think would be a good match for them–you are the adult in this situation–but instead of treating it like it’s my way or the highway, maybe encourage them to contact the coaches at their dream schools as well as your suggestions too.
A Teaching Moment
Like everything else you do as a parent allow this to be a teaching and growing moment in your child’s life. Every student-athlete that has gone through the recruiting process will tell you that it was a maturing event in their life–don’t take that away from them. They have shown great maturity, talent and commitment to their sport. Now allow them to use those traits in the recruiting process.