Recruiting Tip: Helicopter parents, lawnmower parents, and scouting director parents

Recruiting Tip: Helicopter parents, lawnmower parents, and scouting director parents

Recruiting Column

Recruiting Tip: Helicopter parents, lawnmower parents, and scouting director parents

The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.

As we mentioned in last Monday’s Recruiting Tip, college coaches are paying attention to and evaluating the parents of every recruit they are truly interested in. Plain and simple, they want to avoid certain types of parents, if possible. For that reason, here are my top three types of parents that college coaches might turn away from.

Helicopter Parents

Helicopter Parents are overprotective parents who take an excessive interest in the life of their child or children. They are called Helicopter Parents because they hover over their kids like a TV news helicopter over a car wreck. All parents have been Helicopter Parents at one time or another, but the problematic Helicopter Parent is easy to spot and they can actually have a negative impact on an athlete’s chance for a scholarship.

Most Helicopter Parents try to influence the recruiting process for their athlete. They might talk to college coaches at inappropriate times, or they try to “manage” their athlete’s recruiting experience. This behavior interferes with the ability of college coaches to get to know their recruits. There is a fine line between being a supportive role model and trying to run your athlete’s recruiting journey. Parents need to find that line and try not to cross it.

Lawnmower Parents

A Lawnmower Parent is a parent who clears all obstacles from their child’s path, so that they never have to deal with any problems by themselves. Lawnmower Parents don’t hover, but instead they clear a path for their child and preempt any possible problems in their child’s way.

Lawnmower Parents tend to complain about the coach, the players and the officials. They act as if coaches, players and officials are just obstacles that need to be cleared out of the way so their athlete can easily obtain greatness.

If a college coach determines that an athlete’s parents are truly “Lawnmower Parents” they may steer away from that recruit. There is no scientific study on children of lawnmower parents that I am aware of, but I would assume those kids don’t deal with adversity very well and aren’t the most coachable athletes on the planet. Neither of these two attributes are a positive in a college coach’s eyes.

Scouting Director Parents

There are very few parents who can really be objective with respect to their own children; however, there are quite a few parents who believe they can. Scouting Director Parents truly believe that their opinion about their athlete’s abilities is 100% accurate with no bias. I have yet to meet a completely objective parent when it comes to their own offspring. I’m certainly not objective about my kids and (I think) that’s okay.

Parents need to be their athlete’s No. 1 fan! The trick is to realize that you aren’t objective and find someone who will be. Without an objective evaluation of your student-athlete, your expectations from college coaches is going to be distorted and perhaps disappointing. Consider this; almost every parent a college coach talks with has an unrealistic opinion about their athlete. It might be refreshing if you were one of the few who didn’t.

Here’s the deal

Parents definitely need to be involved in their athlete’s recruiting journey, but primarily to support, listen and provide advice. If you think you might be a Helicopter Parent, a Lawnmower Parent or a Scouting Director Parent then you probably are. That’s not the end of the world, but you might want to keep that in mind as your athlete interacts with college coaches.

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