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Contrary to the belief of many high school athletes, I believe parents can and should be a big part of their athlete’s college recruiting experience, and most college coaches agree with me.
That said, to some parents, securing an athletic scholarship at any cost seems to be more important than the college degree itself. They temporarily forget that the most important reason to go to college is to get an education, and tend to get caught up in the excitement of their athlete’s recruiting process.
While it might be great to tell all your friends that Randall, Jr. has an athletic scholarship to ABC University, the most important aspect is that the college is the right fit in all regards. Here is some great advice for parents of high school athletes on the college recruiting process from three college coaches.
South Dakota State Football Coach John Stiegelmeier
“Be an active part of your son or daughter’s recruiting process. Don’t make the decision for them, but engage the process. Push your son or daughter to really figure out what’s important for them, specifically. Don’t make them feel like this is a decision they need to make on their own.
“As a parent, you should go the extra mile to get them to the schools that they’re interested in. Help them to become informed. You know your child better than anyone else, so help them come to realistic conclusions. I suppose I could sum all of that up by saying this: just love your child and do what it takes!”
Northern State Basketball coach Paul Sather
“There’s a fine line between supporting your child and doing too much. I look back at my parents and then the parents of some of the best kids I’ve coached, and I’ve learned what genuine support is all about.
“As a parent, you’ve got to let your kid fail. Let them learn by getting through the ups and downs that come with playing sports. Unfortunately, we see a lot of parents that try to make everything perfect for their children. They try to remove all the barriers or obstacles that life is going put in front of their kids. And, what ends up happening to those kids is that they don’t learn how to handle adversity. They’ll quit or move on to something that’s a safer bet. I just don’t think that’s healthy or productive, at all.
“Listen, I’m a dad, too! I just think sometimes we need to get out of the way and let them struggle. Let them fail. Now, be there to pick them up and love them. But, don’t be there to fix it for them and make everything perfect for them.”
Kansas State Football Coach Bill Snyder
“I hear so often parents telling me that it’s their son’s choice to make when he’s deciding on which school he will attend. They tell me they aren’t going to have anything to do with his decision. To me, that’s not the right course of action for a parent to take. A parent(s) plays a major role in the development of their child up to the very point of being recruited to play college football. They’ve brought that young man up and have been the prominent element in his life for the first 17 or 18 years of existence. To suddenly divorce themselves from that doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not encouraging parents to decide for their children, but they should certainly be involved in the process. Just based on life experiences, help them distinguish between factual, appropriate and what’s right. That’s the support they need.”