My mom and dad come from very different backgrounds. Countries and cultures separate their childhoods and adolescent years. My dad just gets it. He was recruited and went D1, whereas my mom did not grow up in America and had absolutely no idea what she was getting herself into. I commend her efforts and dedication to supporting me throughout the process. However, there were times she’d offer her input or ask a question to a potential college coach and I’d secretly roll my eyes, wishing she hadn’t asked at all.
Being the eldest sibling in my family, my recruitment process in the age of technology was new for all of us. While my dad understood the grand scheme of it, much had changed since he had gone through it himself. But even for parents who haven’t been through a recruiting process of their own, whether you like it or not, they should be involved throughout this process. Mine were no exception and joined me on every trip. Luckily for me, they alternated accompany me on my visits and spared me and the coach the plethora of questions which otherwise would have spurred out between the two. In my case, having one parent on my visits was plenty, and that was the first lesson I learned in my recruiting process. Here are four more tips for parents who question their place during recruiting.
Don’t ask too many questions
Our parents know us best, likewise we also know how our parents act the best – asking too many questions. That said, they have our best interests in mind, and while it might take them asking a dozen questions, they probably will come up with the one question you’d never have thought to ask. Speaking from experience, undeniably, there were many times I cringed at my parent’s questions, but their involvement was crucial and looking back I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
When it comes down to it, the role our parents should play can be broken down simply: They should be supportive and enthusiastic. Your parents have the opportunity to help you envision the process and should take an active role in creating it.
Manage your expectations
Establishing a clear goal and timeline with your parents is essential. It keeps them from getting overly involved and hovering over you each step of the way. Half of the battle in creating the goal is planning how to get there. So before your parents have the opportunity to meet any of your potential coaches, it is vital to have the goal planned out with them so that they avoid overstepping their boundaries and stay indirectly involved.
Let the athlete lead
Once you’re in college, you inherit a new form of independence; you are living on your own, sometimes in an entirely different state or even country than your family. So during the process of being recruited, it is important to be the leader for yourself and parents in preparation for the new independence that will come with going to college.
During the recruiting process your communication skills develop and you build the courage to take responsibility for your future. Admittedly, you can’t do it all alone and that’s why it is important that your parents are indirectly involved. Yes, they can and should ask the coaches and athletes questions during the visits, but as the athlete being recruited you should be dominating conversation and engaging with the teams you meet in order to discover if the campus is the best fit for you. Parents do best when they play a solid supporting role.
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