Coaches will stop recruiting your child because of you
Parents, What if your child doesn’t end up playing in college? What if it had nothing to do with your child and everything to do with you? You could cost your child a scholarship and even a roster spot.
Coaches are not just evaluating the student athlete. They are evaluating you parents as well. When I ask college coaches what stops them from recruiting an athlete they have interest in, there are 3 reasons that rise to the top.
- Inappropriate social media posts
- How the student athlete speaks about their current team and coach
The third reason may shock you and it better concern you. One of the most cited reasons a coach will stop recruiting an athlete has nothing to do with the athlete and everything to do with you, the parent. Do any of the following describe you? BE HONEST.
Talk too much.
Do things your child should be doing themselves.
Show little respect for others.
Super-hype your athlete.
Generally just stick their foot and mouth way too far out.
If there is even a possibility you have any of these characteristics, you will keep your child from getting what you are so anxious to get them; a roster spot and a scholarship. Is it possible coaches will refer to you as a “RED FLAG”!
We are going to look at five places parents overstep boundaries and how you can avoid being “that parent”.
Emails written by the parent
You may think you are helping your child stand out by writing their emails for them. You are correct. It does make them stand out, in a bad way.
Parents speak and write differently than high school students. Coaches who receive emails that they believe were authored by parents will often discard the email without further consideration. Coaches want emails written by the student and geared specifically to them and their school. They don’t want an email that was sent to twenty different schools and they don’t want emails written by the parent in the name of the student.
What you can do
Allow, and in fact make, your child write the email. Give guidance of what should be included in the email. Here is a link to help you know what the initial email should include.!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be the editor of the email. Don’t be the re-writer, be the editor. Clean up grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but allow the style and thoughts to be your child’s.
Calling the coach
Don’t call the coach. The coach does not want to hear from you. They want to hear from your child.
Many kids are scared to call adults on the phone. In fact, these days they don’t even call their friends. Texting is not the solution. A coach does not want to receive a text from your child. They want to hear their voice. They want to hear them express interest in their school and program. After a relationship has developed a coach may choose to do some of the communication through texting, but don’t start there.
“It is crucial for parents and players to understand that it is the player’s recruiting process – not the parents!”
What you can do
Don’t call the coach yourself. Your child should call the coach. This may take some effort and firmness on your part to make it happen.
Work with your child on what to say. Help them come up with an opening couple of sentences to introduce themselves and express their interest. Come up with 2-3 questions to ask. The coach will say, “Do you have any questions for me?” They want to hear a couple thoughtful questions. They don’t want to hear, “Uh, I can’t think of any right now.” Here is an article to help you for the initial phone call!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Behave yourself in the stands
Over the years, there were several players I scratched off my list while sitting in the bleachers. Anytime I heard or saw “crazy” from parents, I listened to see who their child was and made sure I never had anything to do with them. Coaches don’t always announce they are coming. And they don’t always wear their logos for everybody to see. At showcases, there are coaches and parents everywhere. Parents will do and say the craziest things. Coaches watch what parents say and do. Without ever knowing it many parents have cost their child golden opportunities.
What you can do
Stop it. Behave civilized. Cheer. Don’t scream at your child, the coach, the other team, or the ref. Enjoy the game. Don’t live it out like it is a life and death situation. Don’t be the center of attention.
Be a parent your child can be proud of and look up to, whether a college coach is there or not. If this is you, change your behavior. You would be surprised how many athletes say they are embarrassed by their parents or wish their parents would be quiet or stay away. In my experience, these parents either have no idea their child thinks this. Or in some instances the parents just don’t care because it is as much about them as it is for their kid.
Shut up when you are in the coach’s office
A coach has invited your child to visit campus and at this point they welcome and encourage parents to be part of the process. They understand this is a family decision.
It is on this visit, they are evaluating the character and behavior of your child. Coaches are not anti-parent. Most college coaches have very good relationships with the players on their team. But that doesn’t mean they don’t notice you, your behavior and your conduct.
“Parents need to advise and not sell their kids. A visit is the coach’s time and the recruit’s time. Don’t make it about you and don’t talk more than your son or come across as wanting it more than your son. Lastly, any husband who runs the whole show or belittles his wife or any couple who doesn’t come across as a trusting, together, united front will usually throw red flags.”
Your child will probably get about 30 minutes in the coaches office. Some coaches ask the parent to wait outside and if they do, happily agree. Many coaches will invite the parents in the office for the meeting as well. More than any other place, this is where parents can ruin a roster spot or scholarship offer. The coach will never say this out loud and you will never know it. In fact, if you are one of these parents, you will have excuses and reasons about how short sighted the coach was not to extend an offer to your “baby”.
“Let your child do the talking when meeting coaches – the college soccer experience is about, and for, her. NOT the parents! A good college experience can be life-changing. Please do your best not to hinder this.”
What you can do
If they do invite you in the office, be polite, smile warmly, and most importantly say very little. It is time for your child, who the coach sees not a child but as a potential student athlete, to stand up on their own two feet. The coach is evaluating: do I want to spend the next 4-5 years with them (not with you). They want to see a confident young person who can look them in the eye and carry on a conversation.
- This advice extends past the office visit. The coach and current players will be interacting with your family throughout the day. They may eat lunch with you and be involved in your campus tour, or athletic facility tour.
- Sitting down with admissions and financial aid will also be part of the process. When meeting with admissions, you may ask some questions but still let your child do 75% of the talking. When you meet with financial aid, you will want to be prepared to ask the questions and do most of the talking.
Before the visit, talk with your athlete about what the time with the coach will be like. Brainstorm with your child things they could say. Practice with them. Ask them questions the coach may ask and let them practice responding.
With your child, come up with 3-5 questions they could ask the coach. Figure out what the most important things are to your athlete and family, refine the questions and have them ready. Write them down and have your child put the questions in their pocket. If your child can’t remember the questions, assure them the coach won’t mind if they pull them out and read them. Coaches appreciate thoughtful, prepared young people. They won’t think it is funny or stupid if the list of questions is written down.
Never say, “Coach, I know you probably have heard other parents say how good their children are, but… I am objective, I am harder on my own child, I am their coach, etc…”
This is always followed by a nauseating rendition of how good the athlete is and how the college team couldn’t live without them.
What you can do
You will be tempted to do this, I promise you will. Never, ever, say this to a college coach. Dads I am speaking to you because you are the primary violators of this. Get over yourselves and your supposed objectivity. You are first a parent and therefore you are not objective.
I coached all four of my children at least one year and though I could evaluate everybody else fairly, I could not with my children. They are my children first and I can’t take off that lens. You are parents first. Don’t be naive and think you have anything to offer a college coach by telling them how good your athlete is or by telling the coach of your athlete’s faults. That can be just as bad.
The coach is at best tuning you out. At worst, the coach is thinking I don’t want to be around this delusional parent for the next four years. This will be the trouble making parent when their kid is struggling (and all kids struggle at some point during their college career).
Parents, what is your role?
Your role is to be the behind the scenes coach, mentor, and parent of your child. Help them prepare for emails, phone calls, and office visits. Help them to know what to say and what to focus on. Guide them. Cheer for them. Encourage them. Begin pushing them out the door to stand on their own two feet. Be a shoulder to cry on when things don’t work out. Be there with high fives and hugs when they do work out.
Don’t be a RED FLAG to a coach.
Don’t be the reason your athlete doesn’t make the team.
Don’t cost your kid a scholarship.
Act like an adult, and give your kid a chance to shine.
Here is another great article for parents: A Letter to Parents: The Struggle to Get Their Teenager to Contact Colleges
If your family is struggling with the recruiting process. How to Get Recruited can give you a plan and help you with phone calls, emails, and how to get college coaches to recruit your child.
How to Get Recruited Guide will give you a step-by-step plan to turn your child’s talent into offers.
How to Get Recruited: Got Talent. Get a Plan. Get Recruited.
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