Parent Alert: 12 Secrets to Recruiting Success
The recruiting process requires the involvement of the whole family. Your support, guidance, advice, love and patience will make a world of difference in your son or daughter achieving success in the recruiting game.
As your high school athlete is striving toward independence, this is one of the biggest decisions he or she will ever have to make. And believe it or not, that athlete in your life values your opinion more than anyone else's. It is important that you communicate often and effectively with your teenager. That differs by child and the parent can fill a crucial role by recognizing the best ways to connect with the teen. The family will need to stick together through the ups and downs of the sports scholarship search process.
The athlete is the one most in control of his or her recruiting process. But a strong, supportive "Dream Team" can be a huge support every step along the way. This is where you, the parents, come into the game and this should be your "12 Secrets" game plan:
1. Be supportive without being pushy. Do not push your child so hard to play for a top team that, in the end, he feels he failed you if he does not get an offer. Your pushing could affect your child adversely for the rest of his life. There is a fine line between firm support and being an additional stress factor. Check yourself. On the other hand, do not be so easy-going that you miss opportunities to help your child fulfill his dream of becoming a college athlete.
2. Be sure that it is your child's dream to play in college-not yours. Let him know that, if he decides not to play at the end of this process, you will support him 100% percent in that decision. Remember, he is going to college to get an education first!
3. Be realistic about your child's skill level. You need to seek objective opinions from outside sources, such as college coaches, former or current college players, specialists in a specific sport and more
4. Keep the focus on academics. Education is the first priority to consider when choosing a college. Your child will be an athlete for only a short time, but he will need a good education to get through the rest of life. Injuries can and will happen in college sports, so he needs to be content with his college choice even if not playing. Encourage your teen to keep his high school GPA as high as possible because, many times, academics is the determining factor for a coach who must choose between two athletes with similar talent. Meet with your child's academic advisor to make sure he is on track to graduate and within requirements of the NCAA. Once your athlete is in college, you must remind him that getting good grades from the start is important. You do not want him to spend seven semesters trying to make up for the poor GPA he "earned" first semester of his freshman year. This is a very common problem for freshmen €¦ both athletes and non-athletes.
5. Do the research necessary on camps, recruiters, schools, coaches and special programs. Some "elite athlete" activities are a waste of time and money, while others are well worth it. Find out the details on any "invitation" that your child receives to attend a "selective" camp, etc. Many of these events are held purely to make money and will not give your athlete a higher level of training or the exposure needed in front of college coaches. The key is for the athlete to display his skills in front of as many coaches and scouts as possible, so that he will have many prospects from which to choose. Talk to other parents, coaches and athletes about their experiences with various camps. Do not be afraid to ask!
6. Visit as many colleges as you possibly can with your child. The top regret of the former college athletes who we surveyed was that they did not visit more colleges before making their decision. Keep your options open. Have a travel schedule for the remaining years of high school and the summers between. Plan your visits around tournaments and family vacations. The more universities you visit, the more confident your child will feel about his final college choice.
7. Be proactive in helping your child formulate his "Top 25 Target List" of colleges. Athletes need their parents' input. Take time to discuss the options with your teenager. Be honest about what you can afford if no scholarship is offered. Decide what factors are important to you as a family when looking for a college. Search the Internet for information on each college and their sports program.
8. Keep track of important dates and deadlines. Your child is much too busy being a student and athlete to keep track of all the important dates. You must help monitor the dates for ACT/SAT applications and test dates, college applications and notification dates, signing dates, scholarship application deadlines, financial aid deadlines, etc. If these dates are overlooked, you could be bypassing thousands of dollars worth of scholarship money.
9. Keep an accurate filing system. You will need to keep records and files for your child's pertinent information and for each of the 20-25 colleges on his target list. Sports Scholarship Pro has developed an easy and organized method of filing information. This system will set you up for success and save you an immense amount of stress and frustration.
10. Take an objective look at your behavior during your child's sporting events. Are you positive and uplifting in your comments from the sidelines? Do you support the coach and his decisions when speaking with other parents? Do you embarrass your child with your antics and tantrums? Honestly evaluate your behavior to ensure that you are a help, not a hindrance, to your athlete's success. College coaches will not look positively on an athlete whose parents are ill-behaved. Coaches have been known to stop considering a star athlete if the parent's behavior is over the top. You could cost your child a scholarship in the end.
11. Know the rules of recruiting. Become very familiar with the NCAA Guide for College-Bound Student-Athletes. It can be found at www.ncaa.org. The rules change every year, and it is up to you to be aware of the regulations so that you do not inadvertently jeopardize your child's eligibility to play in college. Division I and II rules are quite strict, while Division III, NAIA and NJCAA are more relaxed. Be informed!
12. Keep everything in prospective. It is easy to get swept away by all the attention that coaches may shower on your child. Keep in mind they are giving the same attention to many other athletes. It is important that you and your child remain in control of the recruiting process and you do not let it carry you away. Stay grounded and focus on what your priorities are for a college program. Try to look past the hype and keep your options open. Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Players who do this usually end up with no scholarship.
Editor's note: Thanks to Sports Scholarship Pro for this valuable article!