I’m tired of hearing how parents are the enemies of the recruiting process. I’m guilty of the accusation. I’ve written about why college coaches are recruiting parents, and how parents can negatively impact the process. I wanted the tone to be educational for parents. However, as I reread that blog post I realize I’m just another one rolling my eyes every time a parent is “involved” in the recruiting process. I’m wrong. We are all wrong. We shouldn’t roll our eyes. We NEED parents through the recruiting process. “We” meaning everyone involved in the process; players, high school coaches, travel coaches, college coaches, to name a few. “We” meaning all of us who have been rolling our eyes. Why are we spending time addressing the fraction of parents negatively impacting the process? We need to be educating and praising them.
We’ve hit a rut in all levels of sport (E.g. LaVar Ball), not just youth sports, where parents are automatically labeled as a problem. Of course, there is a line between a parent being irrational and being appropriately involved in a child’s life? Demanding playing time, petitioning to fire a coach over misreported stats to the newspaper (I swear it’s true), or any other inexcusable action. There will always be indefensible actions by parents. That’s not where the focus and energy should be. We should be praising the parents doing it right, or trying to do it right. We should encourage parents to be part of the recruiting process in a positive way.
With all the emphasis put on parents negatively impacting their child’s recruiting process, I’ve only seen a coach drop a recruit strictly because of parents a handful of times. Let me tell you, recruiting was the last thing those families should be worrying about. Realistically, parents are not the breaking point. The player is the breaking point. It might be their grades, or ability or attitude, but a parent? Not so frequent. So, how do we help that player put themselves in the best position to be recruited? We support them. Support from friends, coaches, family and parents.
The goal of the recruiting process is to find a place where the player can grow as a student, an athlete and a young man. They need help to make that decision. That makes it a family decision. Coaches are being ridiculous when they take it as a sign of immaturity of a player’s parents are involved in the process. Parents are being ridiculous when they completely take over the process for the player. There should be a balance. There should be an understanding. There must be an APPRECIATION on both sides. Coaches need to appreciate that a kids family is involved. Parents need to appreciate that the coach will be mentoring their child for the next four years.
That appreciation comes when parents begin to seek exactly what they are preaching to their child; an education! Parents have to educate themselves on this process. The recruiting process changes year to year. Rules change. Programs change. Trends change. It takes educating yourself to understand that. This process doesn’t happen on a hope and prayer. It happens with properly executing a plan. Do you have a plan for this process beyond “going to this event,” or “that camp,” or “playing for this team?”
There are a lot of egos in this process. People think they have it all covered. Our job is to provide an education to our families through the process and I’ll be the first to admit we don’t know it all. In order to provide this education we ALL have to set aside the egos. Parents must set aside the notion they know everything about the process, the school & program, and that their kid is the second coming of Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein and Mike Trout combined. Coaches must set aside the notion that the parents are over-involved, the kid is a direct reflection of the parents and that their coaching talents are better than Joe Torre and John Wooden combined. Removing the egos and seeking educating are the most crucial steps for parents to be perceived as allies over enemies.
It’s possible players, parents and coaches will work cohesively through the recruiting process. For success, we must seek education on the process and remove the egos. It’s about the kids. We are often careless in remembering that.
THE RECRUITING COACHES helps families navigate the tricky waters of the college recruiting process by providing the most truthful advice and hands-on guidance. Our coaches are all former college athletes and college coaches. You can learn more about how we can help your recruiting process by clicking here.