“My Student-Athlete is SOOOOOO Busy…I’ll Email the College Coach for Them!”:
3 Reasons Parents SHOULD NOT ‘Toe The Line’ in Contacting College Coaches for Their Child
Most parents of high school student-athletes want their child to receive that impressive athletic scholarship to continue their sport in college. The recruiting process can be very daunting to the student-athlete in the midst of their practice schedule, ACT/SAT test prep, and keeping up with their classes. It becomes so overwhelming many parents try to help their young athletes by emailing or calling a college coach using the excuse their child is too busy.
Having been a college coach for 14 years across all NCAA and NAIA levels, I want to offer a unique perspective. When a college coach receives hundreds of emails from prospective recruits every month, they find ways to narrow down who is a potential fit for their programs. When parents try to take over the communication between the student-athlete and the college coach, it can be detrimental to the process.
During the research for my book, Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide, we interviewed 65 college coaches and athletic directors. Ninety-five percent of the recruiters said a parent making the initial contact was very much frowned upon. I asked follow-up questions to more fully understand why that well-intentioned email from a parent can often cause their child’s name to be crossed off their prospects list.
The majority of their answers centered around 3 basic principles:
1. Parent contact makes it appear the parent wants their child to continue in their sport more than their child does.
To make matters worse, the parent will often say, well little Susie or Johnny is shy and doesn’t know what to say to a coach. As college coaches, we want to interact with the student-athlete who could be in our program for the next four years. I have created 2 different resources to help the student-athlete in making these contacts. The first is a FREE Special Report: Strategies to Emailing a College Coach. I have also recently written a blog on the 13 Questions to Ask a College Coach. Each resource should help the high school student feel more confident in contacting the coach.
2. Contacts from parents sends a warning signal to the coach that the parent may be a ‘helicopter’ parent.
College coaches want parents who will be huge cheerleaders for their son or daughter, but not those who hover over every aspect of the college athletic program. There is nothing worse than a potential recruit sitting in a coach’s office and the parents asking a ton of questions while the child sits there quietly like a bump on a log. This ‘handholding’ behavior does not benefit the student-athlete at all long term in demonstrating their leadership skills to the coaching staff. To aid in this process, I have developed a Special Report on the Leadership Characteristics College Coaches Are Looking for In A Recruit.
3. Most importantly, parents contacting coaches signals that the student is likely lazy, struggles with time-management, and/or not mature enough to engage in adult conversations.
Being a college student-athlete requires much discipline and time management skills. The recruiting process often reveals a student’s readiness to balance everything at the next level. When a parent writes an email saying little Susie or Johnny is just way too busy to send emails to coaches, many university personnel view this as a major lack of maturity and inability to prioritize. It is imperative that students take the initiative in the interactions!
Recommendations for Student-Athlete Parents
- Have a serious conversation about the demands of being a student-athlete at the college level and if their child really wants to compete at the next level. You would be surprised how many student-athletes only pursue playing in college because their parents wanted them to do it.
- Help the student-athletes filter through which types of schools might be the best “fit” beyond athletic programs. Parents can help them organize various factors in terms of the college size, location, academic offerings, financial aid, and the campus social environment. See our recent blog on determining factors in choosing a college.
- Helping to create a spreadsheet to make comparing different university options a bit easier. Aiding their student-athletes in evaluating a coach’s level of interest.
- Parents can ‘look over the shoulder’ of their child in sending emails to college coaches, but do NOT take the lead or initiative on the child’s behalf.
- Create a mock interview of potential conversational topics for their son or daughter with a college coach for in person or on phone calls.
- Pick up a copy of Looking for a FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide
Would you like help with the college recruiting process?
1. Go to www.lookingforafullride.com to get your FREE Report: Strategies to Emailing A College Coach.
2. 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)
- 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)
- Mindset & Leadership Lessons for Athletes, Coaches/Teachers, & Business Leaders (All Sports & Business Leaders)
- Positive Team Building for Pro, College, HS & Youth Coaches (All Sports)
- Christian Competitors (Coaches & Athletes Serving Christ @Field/Court/Gym) (Sports Ministry for All)
3. Would you like her to do individual consulting with your family to get an insider’s perspective?
Email email@example.com for more details.
4. Did you know Coach Renee Lopez can come to your school or sports organization?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Coach Renee Lopez
As a 17 year coaching veteran, 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 presents recruiting seminars across the country, has recently been featured on ESPN Radio, and is the author of the book, “Looking For A FULL RIDE?: An Insider’s Recruiting Guide” where she interviewed 65 college recruiters across all sports and college levels.
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.