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Parents: Are You Helping Or Hurting Your Athletes?

Any parent will tell you: college recruitment isn't just about the game for their high school athlete. There's more at stake, from financial concerns to academics, and a whole lot in between. In a system that has a thousand rules with just as many decisions to sort through, how can you loosen your grip at all to let them make their own choices? After all, you just want the best for your child: what's wrong with parents being involved?

"It isn't unusual to drop a prospect from the recruiting board because the parents are a problem." -Coach Randy Taylor, former recruiting coordinator at UCLA

We all know there's no magical guidebook on parenting: there are too many curveballs life throws at you to rely on any one person's advice. But there are some ways, at least in the recruiting world, to get you-- and your kid-- blackballed from college sports. Don't take the risk: learn the mistakes and make sure to avoid them.

Attending games is supposed to be fun. It's a chance to mingle with other parents, show off your team spirit, and, most importantly, cheer loudly for your child (unless you shout pet names for your Widdle Champ too loudly near his or her friends. Not cool.) These games should not include you lecturing the coach on a play, jeering at the other team, or letting the ref know they made a bad call. This will poison the experience and inform the coach that you are someone to be avoided. High school coaches can be amazing mentors and resources for your athlete: don't alienate them!

The application process is hugely daunting: essays, tests, transcripts, coach calls, NCAA forms, and the list goes on and on. Since 16-year-olds are not known for their organizational skills, they'll need some help when it comes to deadlines, questionnaires, and much more. But they don't need you to fill out the applications for them, write their essays, or draft up emails to coaches. If you find yourself being a "We" parent-- "We are applying here," or "We did really well last season,"-- you may be participating too much in your child's adventures. Coaches have been around the block a few times and can tell when a parent is elbowing their kid out of the way and crafting all those emails themselves (and they don't like it). Instead of taking over, try putting together a calendar of important dates with them, sitting down together to work on the longer documents, and role-playing for their phone calls with college coaches. You'll be by their side to help all along, without kicking them out of the driver's seat in the process.

Help guide your athlete through a successful and enjoyable recruiting experience with more tips on the recruitment process in our resource center. Before you know it, they'll be nominating you for the next Parents of the Year award!

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