by Laura Flynn
Parents play a pivotal role in the college recruiting process and should make a commitment to actively ASSIST their son/daughter – from start to finish.
In my opinion, the most important point in the sentence above stems from the word “assist”. It is your responsibility, as a parent, to ASSIST, not lead your child through this process -- to serve as a mentor, a cheerleader, and a guide -- standing by their side when they need guidance, and helping them navigate through the complicated road of recruiting.
Remember, as much as you might like to take control, your child will be the one attending school for the next four years. Not you. Ultimately, it is their decision (or at least should be). All you can do is make sure they have all of the information they need to make an informed decision.
Student-athletes and parents must to work together to develop a solid strategy in order to ensure maximum success in the recruiting process. First, begin by establishing goals and objectives. Next, create a game plan for collecting information, reaching out to coaches, and coordinating testing dates and school visits.
Some key points to remember:
- Encourage your athlete without pressuring.
- Be realistic. All parents want to believe their child is the next Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm or Michael Phelps, but the reality is, it’s rare. Have an evaluation from a third party to get a better understanding of where your child stands athletically.
- Know how much you can contribute financially and have an honest conversation with your child.
- Don't rely on high school and club coaches to promote your kid. Be proactive and work together for the best interest of your son/daughter.
- While you want to develop sincere relationships with potential coaches, let your child speak for himself/herself. Coaches want to see the student-athlete being proactive -- setting up meetings, and asking the important questions. Coaches aren’t recruiting parents to play so take a back seat, and step in only when absolutely necessary.
- No matter how talented a student athlete is, if they do not have the grades, they will not play in college. Parents must make sure that they instill the importance of academics, and that if problems with grades do exist, that they are addressed/remedied early on.
Ideally, the recruiting process should be a family effort, working together with a single objective in mind. As a parent, your role is to encourage, support and hold a student-athlete accountable. But remember, as stressful as the process can be, don’t forget to step back and enjoy the ride! Your son/daughter is on the road to becoming a collegiate athlete. Be proud!