3 Ways to Help the Athletic Recruiting Process for Your Child
It seems like every sports season we hear of some parent who went after a high school official or coach verbally or physically. Having been a college coach for 14 years, director of coaching for a travel club, and high school varsity head coach for three years, I believe most parents are just looking for ways to positively support the coaches, teams, and officials. This past week, I spoke to multiple parents who inquired ways to support their student-athlete (and not be overbearing) in the process of being offered an athletic scholarship.
One parent said, “I promise, I only cheer for our team and bring brownies. Since I don’t fully understand football except when touchdowns are scored, it probably is a good choice for me to not go crazy in the stands as you never know if a college coach is there. I know I also shouldn’t email or call the college coaches for my son as well as I read your blog about that (See “My Student-Athlete is Soooooo Busy…I’ll Email the College Coach for Them!”). But, I think he could get a full scholarship to play in college. He’s a sophomore in high school and I just want to help him in the recruiting process, so what SHOULD I do to help him?”
Later in the week I interviewed 7 different high school administrators, including principals and athletic directors from all across the country for my upcoming book (due out Summer 2019), Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide. I asked what roles they thought should be taken on by the student-athlete and parent versus the guidance/career counselor, high school or travel club coach, athletic director, and principal. Most said they wanted to see the parents involved with the process, but often felt they needed to do a better job in educating parents on what tasks to help their student-athlete in and which to avoid. That’s exactly my heart for doing these blogs. I am a Recruiting Educator and Consultant to help walk everyone through a better understanding from a college coach’s perspective.
Having interviewed over 65 college coaches and athletic directors across all sports and divisions for the research for my book, I believe these 3 ways can help parents score points with college coaches:
1. Take an active approach in the recruiting process, but not overbearing in communicating with college coaches.
It is important for the student-athlete to initiate the contact with the college coach. However, you as a parent can help your child understand what is important in choosing a college besides athletics in terms of location, academic opportunities, college size, and career opportunities.
It is important for the student-athlete to be the one emailing and calling the college recruiters, but a parent can help in creating a spreadsheet of information comparing the colleges and universities. They can help in proofreading emails and helping the teen wade through the college brochures and camp invites.
2. Be proactive with helping your child value academics early in their high school career.
Many student-athletes do not think their freshmen or sophomore year grades matter. It can make a huge impact in the long run, and many do not realize it until it’s too late. Also, it’s important to schedule them for the ACT/SAT tests early in their junior year to allow for time to retake the tests if they do not perform well on their initial test dates.
Equally as important, is making sure that your academic guidance/career counselor knows you want to continue your sport in college. You need to make sure the student-athlete is taking the correct core courses as required by the NCAA. Many mistakenly believe that if they graduate from high school, they will be eligible to play at the next level. I have seen student-athletes with 4.0 GPAs panic the summer before college because they had not taken a core course required to be eligible by the NCAA. This is an area that parents can do in coordination with the student-athlete and high school counselor. You can look at the current course requirements here.
3. Keep a realistic perspective and help the student-athlete be open to opportunities.
While everyone wants their child to get a full-tuition scholarship to continue their sport in college, the NCAA statistics say only about 2% of high school student-athletes receive athletic scholarships. This number can vary across various sports and other levels such as the NAIA and NJCAA, but it is rarely a double-digit percentage.
If your child wants to play, I recommend starting the process early in their high school year and be open to various divisions and school sizes. Often parents think that their child should attend a certain type of school (college coaches often call this “D1 on the brain”). However, being narrow in scope at the beginning of the process can eliminate possible colleges opportunities. Help your child explore all possibilities!
In my 14 years a college coach and in speaking with over 40 college coaches, I have a very interesting statistic as well. Almost every coach spoke of having athletes that came into programs only choosing to play in college because their parents pushed them.
These athletes often lacked motivation and were just “going through the motions”. When I inquired further about this, many of the coaches said this happened because often times the parents just assumed their child wanted to continue to play, often without even asking. So my bonus way to support your student-athlete is to ASK if they really want to commit to playing at the next level!
Want some help with the recruiting process? Join some of our 9 Facebook Groups:
- Parents of High School Student Athletes Walking Through The Process (All Sports)
- Beyond Xs & Os 4 HS Athletes: Health, Recruiting, Team Building, Mental Training (All Sports)
- NEW! Athletic Recruiting Education for Principals, AD's, and Counselors (All Sports)
- Club/HS Coaches Learning College Recruiting Process (All Sports)
- Play College Soccer (Soccer Specifically)
- College Recruiting for GK's (Soccer Specifically)
- Positive Team Building for Pro, College, HS, and Youth Coaches (All Sports)
- Mindset & Leadership Lessons for Athletes, Coaches/Teachers, & Business Leaders (All Sports & Business Leaders)
- Christian Competitors (Coaches & Athletes Serving Christ @Field/Court/Gym) (Sports Ministry for All)
Would you like her to do individual consulting with your family to get an insider’s perspective?
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Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, Coach Renee Lopez is a recruiting expert for high school student-athletes. She uses her NCAA Division I, II, and NAIA Head Coaching experience to help families navigate the recruiting process to be identified by college coaches and help them find the right “fit” for playing at the next level. She has produced 3 All-Americans, over 30 All-Conference athletes and Her teams have been honored with awards for team academic accomplishments, sportsmanship, and sports ministry. In addition, Coach Renee Lopez has been named Coach of the Year by her peers.
She presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured in USA Weekly, with the National Alliance for Youth Sports, on SiriusXM Radio and ESPN Radio. She is the author of the upcoming book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide where she has interviewed over 40 college recruiters across all sports and college levels. In addition, she runs 8 Facebook groups to help facilitate conversations on college recruiting education, coaching education, leadership development, and sports ministry. She is also a certified speaker, trainer and coach for the John Maxwell Team, Jon Gordon Company, 3Dimensional Coaching, and the Positive Coaching Alliance.
She also does private consulting for student-athletes and their families to help in understanding the often daunting process of recruiting. (See one family’s testimonial.) If you are looking for help in the college recruiting process, please email Coach Renee Lopez at email@example.com.