Welcome to the recruiting process.  Your child, a “student-athlete”, wants to compete in college.  Congratulations. And get ready.   While recruiting timelines vary by sport and division, certain aspects remain consistent regardless of what and where your child plans to compete.  Below are five facts to consider as your family embarks upon this exciting journey.
  1. Grades Matter — Always
They are a factor for every sport and division.  The better the grades (and test scores), the easier the athlete is to recruit.  This is as true for large and competitive D1 programs as it for Ivy League institutions and schools in all divisions.  Understand the academic minimums at prospective schools. Encourage your child to focus on high school classes, constantly striving for success.  Coaches breathe easier when they are recruiting academically qualified candidates.
  1. Social Media Kills Dreams
Advise your child, often, to use social media wisely.  Colleges and coaches monitor these accounts; they want to understand who they are recruiting. Caution them to watch their language;  what they consider appropriate others may deem offensive.  Suggest they be careful when sharing photos.  And, remind them that screenshots happen, not even Snapchat is free from scrutiny.
  1. Appearances Matter
Coaches watch athletes compete.  They focus on what they do when they “have the ball”. Surprisingly, they often pay just as much attention to “off-ball play”.  They observe interaction with teammates and coaches. Advise your child to remain positive (even if he or she is not playing well) and to encourage those with whom they play.  Sportsmanship is critical.  Coaches recruit teammates.
  1. Your (Parents) Behavior Matters
Yes, parent actions can be deal breakers.  Coaches see you (and hear you) on the sidelines. While you may want to scream at the umpire for a bad call, maintain control.  Perhaps you think Johnny needs to play a little more aggressively, keep that thought to yourself.  Maybe Suzy, the defender on the opposing team, just viciously slide-tackled your daughter, keep quiet! Heed this advice; let the coaches manage the game.  Always keep your comments positive.  If you can’t, watch quietly. Coaches recruit families.
  1. Choose The School First
Unless you parent that very rare athlete who will play professionally, the division in which they compete is often irrelevant. In fact, some D3 programs are more talented and competitive than their D1 counterparts. Remember, it is unlikely that your child will continue to play sports professionally upon graduation.  Ensure that the chosen school the “best fit”. Size, location, programs and atmosphere are important.  Be aware,  injuries occur. Coaching staffs change.  Your child’s school should be the appropriate place even without athletics. The recruiting process can be long and exhausting.  Often it is quite stressful. Your child needs to be committed to make the sacrifices necessary to compete in college.  Assuming college athletics is a reasonable goal, understanding these five points should help serve as a foundation for moving forward.   Lori Wolk is a seasoned writer who has been through the college athletic recruitment process twice. She is generously sharing her wisdom and experience with GAMECHANGER’s audience. Need someone to write a blog or article for your local or business publications? Contact Lori at [email protected] today.