The recruiting process can be difficult, for athletes and their parents. Given the uncertainty and the stress involved, it can be even harder on parents, since a child going off to college represents a new chapter and a metaphorical bird leaving the nest. And if you’re the parent of a student-athlete who’s being recruited by college coaches, take a few moments to read through some of the things to help you get a better feel for how the recruiting process works. It may not make it any easier to see your child leave home, but it might help ease the stress of the entire ordeal of helping your student-athlete find the right fit and take their next step.
Understand The Time Commitment Of A Student-Athlete
If your child is being recruited for a high-profile sport, especially at the Division I level, that sport will essentially be a full-time job with the added load of classes and homework. If you believe your son or daughter wants a more rounded college experience, make sure that he or she knows some of the traditional college experiences may have to be sacrificed in order to earn a scholarship and pursue their sport at the next level.
Make Education The Priority
It’s easy for players and parents to get caught up in the glamor and excitement of the recruiting process. But beyond the glitz, it’s important to remember that, while they may only compete in college for four years, the education they receive will last a lifetime. Star athletes and third-teamers both have homework and they won’t have athletic eligibility without academic eligibility. Glistening athletic facilities can be impressive, but at the end of the day, educational opportunities should carry equal weight.
Focus On A Hands-Off Approach
As a parent, it’s natural that you want things to work out perfectly for your child. But remember that coaches are recruiting your child, not you. That means coaches want to get to know your son or daughter. Not you. Coaches will introduce themselves to you and explain what they can offer your student-athlete, but in the end, they expect the decision to be made by your child, not you. It’s perfectly fine to ask questions of a coach, to stay involved, and to offer advice and guidance to your child, but an overbearing parent can wreck an athlete’s recruiting in a hurry.
Do Your Homework
If your child is among the majority of student-athletes that plays a sport that doesn’t offer full scholarships, then you may be responsible for some of his or her education expenses. Know how much you have to spend, the fees for each school your child may be interested in, and have an understanding of the true value of any scholarship offer they do receive.
At CaptainU, we tell recruits to prepare before speaking with coaches and to ask questions whose answers aren’t easily found with a bit of research. If the recruiting process is new to you, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions either. Do your research, but if you’re not sure about something a coach tells you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or more details. Most coaches have been recruiting for years and they understand that parents will have questions and concerns. Don’t be too shy or too dazzled to ask.
Recruiting is a process and it will take time to play out. Don’t rush the process, the coaches, or most importantly, your child. And, regardless of any pressure a coach may exert, make sure your child knows there’s no need to rush their decision. Familiarize yourself with the recruiting calendar so that you know how and when coaches can contact your player and the dates when decisions can or should be made. Make sure you and your child consider all the options so that you both can…
Focus On Finding The Right Fit
The right fit is different for every student-athlete. Your job as a parent is to ensure your child has a full understanding of what they want from a college experience and which school or athletic program is best suited to deliver that. In addition to athletics, that should include academics, social opportunities, location, and campus size and feel. It’s not about what you want or what friends or teammates are doing. It’s your student-athlete’s decision to make. You can help them make it, but make sure it’s their decision that they feel is right for them.
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