I am a parent who feels helpless in all aspects of the athletic recruiting process. What should I do?

For most parents reading this, the reason that you were able to find this site is that you want to be able to be proactive throughout the athletic recruiting process for your son or daughter.  Maybe this is your first time and for others you may have done it before but there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most confusing times in trying to help your child.

Parents may even feel helpless because they are not exactly sure what they should be doing and if they should be doing stuff to help.  When I went through the Division III recruiting process a while back, my mom had no idea what was going on.  She took me to one visit and just didn’t have a clue regarding letters, calls, or things along that line.  I thought now is as good of a time as any to help parents figure things out in the athletic recruiting process.

Here are a few different things that I feel will be a major help to parents that have children with aspirations to continue their sporting career in college.  Like the definitions list that I have been updating, this may be a feature that continues to grow over time because I want readers who are parents to be as informed as possible throughout the athletic recruiting process.

Communication with the athlete is key
College coaches will contact athletes through their high school coach, call their cell phone, and even send letters to the school.  While many coaches know that the parents will be an important part of the recruiting process, their first step is to draw the interest of the kid to their school.  This means that communication about the recruiting process is a must between you and your child.  While I know that most kids don’t seem to open up to their parents during the teenage years unless they need something, parents need to know what goals and dreams their son or daughter has about playing college sports.  Being able to talk to them about the letters that they receive, what level they hope to play at, and things along that line will be great not only for the recruiting process but also learning more about your child.

Bank roll the recruiting process
Parents will do just about anything to make their kid’s happy.  You can do that by bank rolling the recruiting process.  I am not saying to go on extravagant college visits and going to every camp you are invited to.  I am saying that you will likely have to pay for a highlight video to be made, take care of the for gas to make unofficial visits, and handle the costs involved for camps.  If you take care these things yourself, it is going to be a major money saver in the long run rather than hire it out.

Do the behind the scenes leg work
I am not talking about you picking out schools that you would have loved to go to in the recruiting process.  I am saying that parents can do the leg work behind camps, highlight videos, and potential videos.  For the highlight videos, you can speak to the high school coach, other recruits, search the Internet, and talk to people you know about possibly getting a quality video made (See www.highlight-videos.com for more).  While a 17-year old can do it, chances are you will be better at following through during the process.  And since the athlete probably cannot write the check themselves, this has to be something where you can do the work and handle it.  While they may need to ask the high school coach about getting video, you should work on setting things up while putting it in place.

Don’t try to live through them
You obviously hear about the parents who weren’t successful in sports when they were younger so they try to hone their children to be major recruits.  Don’t do it.  It is going to create a major strain on the bond between you and your son or daughter so just don’t even try.  If they don’t want to play in college, let them decide.  The athlete should also be the one picking the schools that they are interested in.  This is about them and where they will be happy for four to five years.  Keep that in mind and don’t try to live through them.

Inform yourself
I assume the reason that you are visiting this site is to inform yourself.  As I have mentioned before on this site, feel free to post comments with your questions.  There is nothing bad about asking as many questions as possible.  That can include asking the high school coach question, the guidance counselor questions, and the college coaches questions.  Many parents go into the football recruiting process or the basketball recruiting process with little previous information.  This is a process that you can do yourself if you decide to study up and inform yourself as much as possible about how the recruiting process works.

Be realistic
As a parent, this may be almost impossible.  It is very difficult to be able to have realistic opinions about your children and their ability in athletics.  You are 100% bias having raised this child that it is going to be hard.  So try to get as much outside opinion as possible.  If your kid wants to play Division I and he is a Division III type player, you are going to waste a lot of time and money if you are not realistic about the situation.  You need to have a good feel what level your kid can play at.  Finding that honest opinion would be up to you and something that needs to be done before really diving into the recruiting process.

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