As a parent, you wear many hats: scheduling coordinator, chef (or takeout specialist), chauffeur, tutor, tailor, manager and, sometimes, warden. As your child gets older and develops more independence, it can be difficult to determine which roles you need to transition out of or into. This is especially true of your role in their athletic career. At our recent College ID Combine, college coaches shared their insights about the role a parent plays in the recruiting process. We thought you would benefit from learning our key takeaways from those conversations:
Be a Champion of Independence
While your child may not be ready to handle all the responsibilities that come with being a college student, you can help them prepare by tasking them with a large degree of independence during the recruiting process. Your child should be the one sending out emails, calling coaches, and keeping track of due dates and deadlines. Coaches want to see that prospective players are proactive and organized. It also allows them to begin developing their player-coach relationship, which can help your child add or remove a program on their list.
Determine Topics that are Your Domain
Of course, there are aspects of the college application and recruiting process of which you’ll want to take charge. Reviewing your child’s application(s) to be sure all the necessary information and attachments are included is a good idea, as is completing the financial aid forms. When you do speak with coaches, you may want to take the lead about scholarship monies or ask about campus safety supports and concerns. Whichever areas you decide are yours to manage, be sure to make those clear in conversations with your child. Outlining each of your responsibilities ahead of time will make for a smoother and less-stressful process.
As mentioned above, your child should be the one writing and sending out emails to coaches. However, it would be a helpful to provide them with a template or to check out the format they’re using to ensure it is professional and appropriate. Make sure to nix any emojis and texting shorthand, and check to see that proper greetings and closings are included. In the digital age, it can be easy to forego these conventions but they are essential in conveying thoughtfulness and respect.
The college recruiting process can be a long and winding road, requiring flexibility in your role and what’s expected. Open and consistent communication about expectations and making time for frequent updates with your child will help smooth out some of the road bumps along the way. It’s up to your family to determine how to divvy up responsibilities but be sure to remember to use this time as a built-in opportunity for your child to take ownership and practice their leadership skills.
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Chris Bart-Williams is the founder and owner of CBW Soccer Elite. After an extensive career in the English Premier League, Chris now uses his vast soccer knowledge to assist families throughout the college recruiting process and prepare players for the mental and physical challenges of collegiate soccer. You can reach Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.