It’s what every parent of a gifted student-athlete wants to know: How can I help my teen have the
best chance at being recruited? We’ve put together a list of things you need to know.
- Don’t be a helicopter parent! Of course, your teen still needs you to mentor and guide them, but if you find yourself hovering over every practice or beginning sentences to the coach with “we”, you may need to step back and reevaluate. Remember, don’t do the coach’s job. Even if you disagree with a decision, it is usually best to let your child learn from the experience rather than coming to the rescue.
- Be your teen’s communication coach. Much like the previous point, this is about letting your child take the lead. Your teen, not you, should behandling contact with college coaches. Your job is to help your teen prepare for these interactions rather than handling them yourself. Role-playing is a good way to help prepare for an important phone call or meeting with an interested coach so that your teen feels comfortable and prepared.
- Interactions with college coaches should be treated like a job interview. First impressions matter, so student-athletes should understand the importance of dressing appropriately, making eye contact, and giving a firm handshake. Help them prep by making sure they have questions to ask about the program to show that they are interested and engaged and encourage them to give more than one-word answers in return.
- Know that college coaches probably aren’t coming to your athlete’s games. The bottom line is that most college coaches don’t have time to show up to high school games to see your athlete play; they’re too busy running their programs. If you have concerns about your teen’s visibility to college coaches, you can increase your chances of being seen by playing club ball or by having your athlete self-promote. Where to begin? Athletes should start by contacting the coach by phone to express interest and then following up by sending more information via email.
- Don’t waste the time on overproduced videos. If you’re sending a video, it doesn’t need to be professionally shot or needlessly lengthy; coaches simply need to be able to quickly see what your athlete can do. Keep it short (two or three minutes is probably sufficient), post it to YouTube, and send the coach a link.
- Emphasize the importance of academics and character. It won’t matter how great an athlete a student is if an athlete can’t also compete in the classroom or can’t stay out of trouble. A coach wants to see the effort being made in all aspects of your teen’s life, so decisions made off the field are every bit as important as performance on the field.
- Keep perspective. Throughout this process, remember that the odds of getting a significant scholarship are fairly minuscule. Only about 2%of student-athletes are fortunate enough to obtain an athletic scholarship, and full-ride scholarships are scarce. Football, men and women’s basketball, and women’s gymnastics, volleyball, and tennis are the only “headcount” sports that give full rides; all other sports are “equivalency sports” where scholarships are often small.
Contact- Any time a college coach says more than hello during a face-to-face meeting with a college-bound student-athlete or his/her parents off the college’s campus.
Evaluation- When a college coach observes a student-athlete practicing or competing.
Verbal Commitment- When a college-bound student-athlete verbally agrees to play sports for a college before he or she signs or is eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent. The commitment is not binding on the student-athlete or the school and can be made at any time.
Officially Commit- To attend a Division I or II college, he/she signs a National Letter of Intent, agreeing to attend that school for one academic year.