It could come as a phone call, email, letter or even a text. Your kid has been contacted by a college coach. This coach is recruiting your son or daughter for an athletic scholarship. You might be feeling an adrenaline rush when this happens.
You ask yourself, “What should we do?”
Here are some words of advice:
1. Stay calm. This is just a first contact. You haven’t been offered a scholarship yet. It’s important to realize that the coach is beginning the recruiting process with your son or daughter and there is a long road ahead. It may or may not work out. That’s what you are trying to find out and the coach is trying to find out.
Welcome the contact. If the coach asks for more information, provide it promptly. Send or email documents and video link if that’s what is asked for.
If the contact is by phone, your student-athlete should take time to ask questions, dialogue with the coach and answer questions the coach may have. As a parent, I encourage you to talk with the coach after your son or daughter is finished. Coaches expect to dialogue with the parents, so use this first opportunity.
Encourage your son or daughter to enjoy the conversations that will come. Help them relax and not get all uptight. The more conversations they have, the easier it will be. But the early ones are the hardest.
2. Have your questions ready. Use this as an opportunity to find out more about the school, program and coach.
You’ll want to have questions written down in case the contact is by phone. I know it’s impossible for your kid to carry the questions with him everywhere on a sheet of paper, but he should store them on his phone, be familiar with them, and ask several questions when the coach calls. Jot notes down, if possible, and keep a record of the answers.
In this mobile era, your kid could be anywhere when the call comes, which makes this exercise more difficult. That’s why preparation is so important.
If the contact is by email, then you have more time to craft your questions.
3. Sound interested. Even if this school is not one of your family’s top choices right now, it may be once it is time to make your decision. You need to keep your options open.
Encourage your son or daughter to sound genuinely interested. Use this opportunity to do your research on the school and program. Personal research by speaking with or emailing with the coach(es). Even if the interest level is not very high at this point, that could change in the future. So don’t close any doors. In fact, keep them wide open.
4. Take notes. Keep a record of all the contacts made. Over time, the conversation, emails and contacts will run together, so a good note taking system is mandatory.
Whether it’s on your phone or on paper, have some structure. You’ll be looking back on it often so be detailed. Your memory can’t hold all the data.
I teach my families to build a chart so you can log the conversations and contacts in an organized way.
5. Be humble. Don’t let your kid go around bragging to their teammates and peers. And be sure he or she is humble towards the coaches contacting them. It is a quality that coaches like.
After more than a decade of working with student-athletes, I’ve seen these five things work in the recruiting process. I hope they help you.