Last week I wrote a lengthy piece on coaches pulling offers [here it is again in case you missed it], and your feedback was tremendous. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts with me. And a special shout out to Bill in Shelby Township, MI; Tracy in Naples, FL; Kandis in Buckeye, AZ; and Nicole in Virginia. I truly enjoyed and appreciated your replies!
Let’s face it, there’s much at stake here. Your child’s college decision impacts their entire life, not just the 4-5 years they spend on campus. And financially, for many of us it’s the 2nd largest investment we’ll make in our lifetime, so hundreds of hours of planning and preparation are expected.
In my experience, the opportunity to become a college athlete is an extremely feasible goal. Furthermore, the opportunity to enable athletics to serve as a vehicle to a more affordable college degree is absolutely within your athlete’s grasp.
BUT, you must understand the process and you must have a plan in place.
Take 2 minutes and listen to a couple college coaches talk about the importance of recruiting and you’ll better understand what I mean.
What these coaches are saying tells you everything you need to know about your role as parents in this process.
So I’ll leave you with this today. Here are 5 pieces of simple advice that I have for all parents with an athlete at home who dreams of taking their talents to the college level:
- Start engaging college coaches early… not when the rules say coaches can reply, but well in advance of that. As soon as your athlete says they want to play beyond high school, that’s when you know it’s time to come up with a marketing strategy. Remember, this process is about building relationships… and that doesn’t occur overnight.
- Be realistic. If your athlete is projecting to be among the top 1% of the kids in your state, then perhaps the Division I experience is within their grasp. If they’re more likely to be outside the top 1%, that’s ok! Embrace it and commit to helping your child attract attention from “best fit” schools.
- Don’t worry about where your child’s friends & teammates are going. I know you hear it from other parents: “My child just “committed” to XYZ University.” Remember what you learned last week about verbal commitments? That’s great for them, but it has absolutely nothing to do with your child’s future. Maybe they had a more effective marketing strategy than you. Maybe college coaches see something in their child that you don’t see. Maybe their athlete is just BETTER than yours. Makes zero difference. Worry about building relationships with college coaches and don’t let someone else’s success knock you down.
- Teach your athlete to turn to the COLLEGE COACHES themselves for guidance. Want to know where you stand? Ask the coaches! Want to know how you compare to the other kids they’re actively recruiting? Ask them! Want to know why they suddenly lost interest? Ask them! Remember, college coaches are the “buyers” and the athlete is the “product” they need to solve their problem. So if they aren’t “buying,” then find out WHY directly from the people who are making decisions about your child.
- Don’t be afraid (or too proud) to get help. After 5,000+ case studies, I’m here to tell you it’s a totally different world out there. As parents, we must approach this process differently. So if you aren’t sure how to create a marketing strategy for your athlete and don’t have the time to figure it out, then turn to an expert. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel. There’s too much at stake here. Hey, if it makes this experience more enjoyable, and it saves you a 100+ hours and/or $100,000+ in college expenses, then it will be one of the best investments you ever make in your entire lifetime. Trust me on this.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s post and please keep sending me your feedback!
SAS President & Founder