As a parent of a student athlete who wants to get recruited to play football in college, it’s natural to want to do whatever you can to help your son. But parents often don’t know what they should do – and avoid doing – to give their son the best chance of securing a scholarship. Coaches aren’t going to tell their players what their parents should be doing to help them get recruited. If they did, here’s the two pieces of advice football coaches would give that every parent of an aspiring college football player needs to hear.
Create the plan and stick with it
A student athlete looking to get recruited in college has to worry about keeping up their grades for eligibility and making the most of their playing opportunities. Parents can help them by creating a plan to help with both of those objectives. When it comes to classes, parents can map out their student’s class loads by year during their freshman year through senior year. Students don’t always pick classes thinking ahead to the next two or three years, so helping them see their class choices in a long term context can be helpful. Also, tracking grades gives parents one more asset to help their son get recruited, even if all the grades aren’t good. As long as there is progress from freshman year to senior year, that’s something coaches like to see.
Parents can organize and manage their son’s college visits and recruiting schedule. This is something players tend to put off because the stresses of classes and games are a bigger issue to them than college. Parents can also create a plan to track specific physical goals, such as lifting a set amount of weight or running a dash in a set time. Having that structure helps an athlete stick to a regular schedule, which builds discipline over time. It also helps an athlete see where they need to put more work so that they can focus their workouts better on the skills they need to help them get recruited.
High school players cannot be counted to organize themselves, but they are usually much more willing to go along with a well-defined plan that they can sense is pointing them towards their goals. Drive that plan for them and be their “agent”, making sure they are sticking to their class loads, workout schedules, and recruiting visits. They’ll thank you later.
Let the student athlete talk to the coach – but coach them how
College coaches can be counted on to call a high school coach to discuss a player they want to get recruited for their college team. When that happens, the coach will be a better advocate for a player that they know personally from talking to them. Many parents of players unintentionally undermine their own players in terms of talking to the high school coach too much for them, worrying that the player will not come across the right way. This prevents the high school coach from ever establishing a relationship with their coach, and it’s that relationship that may help a player get recruited more than any other they’ll have.
Instead, what parents should do is to coach their son about how to talk to the high school coach. Many students are not great communicators and helping them communicate better with their coach will help that player build a rapport with their coach. Try having them leave a voicemail message for the coach, talking about their upcoming season goals and where they see themselves getting better this year. Then progress to turning this same message into a two way conversation, where the parent acts as a coach.
This will help the player when they meet the college coach that they want to get recruited by – a strong first impression goes a long way. And it will prepare them for what the coach will ask them, such as questions about who else they are being recruited by. Coming across as confident and clear-minded is a valuable trait, instead of sounding meek and unsure, and practicing those questions creates confidence. Coach interviews are just like football itself – the more repetitions, the better the player gets. A high school player whose parents have always done the talking for them won’t be as good at talking to a coach, and it’s certainly not a good impression if the parent doesn’t let the player do their own talking to the coach they hope to play for!