The USA TODAY High School Sports Recruiting Tips are provided by our recruiting partner, Playced.com.
Over the last several years we’ve interviewed college coaches at every level and from many different sports. Their advice to student-athletes on the recruiting process has been great! We’ve asked them every recruiting question in the books, from how they identify potential athletes, to how social media has changed college recruiting and everything in between. One question we’ve asked quite often is: “What’s your advice to parents of student-athletes going through the recruiting process?”
Here are the answers to that question from three current college head coaches:
Cal Lutheran baseball coach Marty Slimak
Do I want to get to know the parents of a player we’re recruiting? Absolutely. Parents are a huge part of getting their kids to this point in the first place. But as a coach at this level, I don’t need mom or dad acting like their son’s agent. I don’t need them telling me how great their son is or how much better he is than all of the other guys out on the field. I need their son to be the one telling me that he’s going to be that guy for our program.
Parents should help their kids to do all of the little things that maybe 17 or 18-year olds aren’t quite sure how to do yet. Help them to stay organized and let them know that they’re the ones that the coach wants to hear from. Get them focused on taking charge and let them know that you’re going to follow their lead. Listen, it’s your son that’s going to be with us for the next four years. They need to know that we expect communication and interaction with them and we’re not interested in mom or dad doing all the work for them.
Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun
More than anything else, make sure you provide the proper perspective throughout this experience. I think it’s so important for you to help your son or daughter remained grounded through this process. Keep them focused on what really matters. Take care of school, be a good person, work hard. That starts long before becoming a college athlete even enters the picture, really. It’s so impressive as a college coach when I recruit a young man with high values. They look you in the eye. They shake your hand. They’re appreciative and humble. Those are the things that coaches are looking for and those are the things kids are learning at home.
UT-Tyler softball coach Mike Reed
First of all, I am a father of three! I used to give this piece of advice just as a coach but now, I I’m giving it as both a parent and a coach. My general advice to parents is to let your kids communicate for themselves. It’s tougher now, because recruiting seems to get younger and younger each year, and maybe you think your athlete isn’t quite ready for this. But, doing so prepares them for what is to come. Ultimately, it allows them to develop their communication skills and it furthers their maturation process. I want parents to know that it is ok if your child isn’t perfect. If they don’t quite know how to write the perfect email or say the perfect thing, it’s ok. They are just kids and we as coaches are well aware of that!
Encouraging your daughter/son to lead in this process is what we, as coaches, want to see. Absolutely, you should be there to support, give advice and be that guiding hand. We want you to be involved in the process, too. Just do your best to not only help them make a great decision, but to also help make this a great learning experience.