Give Them the Choice to Play in College
As a parent, you want the best for your child. Most parents with young athletes hope to see their child go on to play college sports one day. Once your child is in high school and continues to show an avid interest in playing sports, it’s a good idea to have a family discussion about what their plans are for their future. This may include college, career, and athletics. When it’s time to consider college options for your child, it is best to realize that the decision to attend college and to participate in sports at the collegiate level is ultimately up to the athlete as they will be the one competing in sports and juggling classes, exams, and homework—not the parent.
My Child is Good, But is Not Being Scouted
If you are like most families, you might believe that colleges have scouts traveling the country looking for the next big athlete. Unfortunately, this is just not true. Unless your child is in the top 1 percent of high school athletes in the country, then scouts will most likely not be attending your child’s games, matches, or meets. In reality, college coaches are not going to know about your child unless they have contacted them directly, informing the coach that they are interested in their athletic program. If your child has enjoyed and benefited from being a student athlete all their life and they have made the decision to continue their sports career into college, then it is good to help them start the recruitment process during their freshman year. If your child wants to get recruited to play college sports, then it is up to them to be proactive in the process and begin communicating with college coaches early in their high school career.
Being a high school athlete and student has many pressures. Placing an added pressure of having to get noticed by college programs can be strenuous and stressful on student athletes. It is this added stress that may take the fun out of playing the game that they once loved. Listening and providing input to discussions with your child about their feelings and thoughts of playing college sports is a great way to open up the discussion to see how the family should begin the recruitment process. Just make sure you are not forcing sports participation on your kid; this could lead to further ramifications down the road.
Working as a Family
If your family has come to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to begin researching colleges and sports programs, then you should set aside time to concentrate on both. Starting off, a family can work together on building the student athlete’s resume, along with taking unofficial visits to colleges that are close by and are easily worked into the family budget. Remember that it is not really a visit unless the athlete gets to meet with a member of the college coaching staff, so plan accordingly in order to personally meet with athletic staff in order to have your child’s questions explained.
The Athlete’s Role
College is where your child will learn to be more independent and learn how to grow as an individual. It is important to allow this growth to start during the recruiting process. This is where the student athlete has to begin answering for themselves and make decisions that could impact the rest of their life. The student athlete needs to make all correspondence with college coaches, including e-mails, phone calls, and school visits. College coaches do not want to hear from the athlete’s parents or guardians; they want to talk with the athlete. This allows them to get a better sense of who they are and if they will be a good fit for their team.
Keeping it All Together
In getting educated on the recruitment process, you and your child will be better equipped to know what to expect with each new year. Remember that playing sports has its benefits, but it may sometimes take a lot of work to get there. As a parent, be there to help your child in the process and remember that it is their decision whether they want to continue competing in sports or not.
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