The college recruiting process can be fun for the whole family as long as you start early. Starting early can relieve a lot of stress for the athlete as well as for the parents. Start early, read up on the process, and set boundaries between the parents and the athlete. You can have a stress free time as long as you come up with a solid plan, and you start early. LRT Sports spoke with a parent whose son was being recruited for DI football. Laurel Jenkins was willing to share some of her recruiting wisdom with you.
LRT Sports: What are some questions you wish you asked the coaches when they visited your home?
Laurel: When the coaches came to our home, it was a new experience, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had many questions about the level of commitment involved and making sure it didn’t interfere with my son’s academics. One question I wish I would’ve asked was how many hours my son would have to commit to football during both semesters and what types of academic resources student-athletes have available to help them keep up.
LRT Sports: LRT Sports: What did coaches NOT make clear to you, that you wish they had?
Laurel: I wish the coaches had made it clear that my son would have to sacrifice some opportunities and that football would have to take priority over taking some classes.
LRT Sports: Would you have used LRT Sports as a resource during the recruiting process? If so, how would it have helped?
Laurel: Absolutely. When coaches talk about the process, they are the salesman trying to sell their program to you and your family. They are not always 100% honest about everything. It would’ve been great to have had another resource with more unbiased opinions.
LRT Sports: What kind of support/advice did you give your child during the process? Do you think it helped?
Laurel: Throughout the process, I just wanted to make sure my son knew that no matter what happened and what college he chose that everything would work out for the best. I used to send him texts before his games to try and calm his nerves, which he told me helped. I also wanted to make sure he knew that he was going to school for an education, not just to play a sport. I needed him to understand that his schoolwork has to be his top priority. Another piece of advice I gave him, and I think I helped do not let the coaches tell you what to do; he needed to have a voice in this process.
LRT Sports: When looking at colleges and coaches, what were the most important things you were looking for?
Laurel: When we were looking at schools, we looked at location, academics, and the types of things non-student athletes consider. Regarding coaches, we were looking for a coach/program that cared equally about academics and athletics. I wanted the coach/school to be on the same page because I did not want my son to miss out on other opportunities.
LRT Sports: What did you dislike about the recruiting process?
Laurel: I didn’t like the pressure some of the coaches put on my son to make a decision so quickly. Choosing a school is an important life decision and shouldn’t be rushed without thinking about a lot of different factors.
LRT Sports: Were you more ‘hands-off’ during the recruiting process or ‘hands-on’?
Laurel: It was hard to be ‘hands-on’ with a process I was completely unfamiliar with. I tried to give as much advice and communicate as much as I could with my son to try and figure out what the best option for him was. Ultimately, I wanted the decision to be his. I always made myself available if he had questions or wanted advice. I tried not to force my opinions on him or make the decision for him.
LRT Sports: Did you wish you had done additional research on the coaches/schools before the process started?
Laurel: I felt like we did an adequate job of researching schools on our own. You can find articles about coaches and look at their accomplishments, but our main focus was on the schools themselves. Looking back on the process, we probably should have looked at more schools and coaches, but there aren’t many resources for this kind of research.
LRT Sports: What are the top three questions that a parent should ask a coach when going through the recruiting process?
Laurel: Top three questions: what academic resources are available (specifically for student-athletes), what types of resources are available for athletes after they graduate regarding jobs or internships, and how much time do the coaches spend one-on-one with their athletes?
LRT Sports: Was the recruiting process stressful for you? If so, do you think that rubbed off onto your child?
Laurel: The recruiting process was somewhat stressful, but I tried not to show that to my son. I knew he would be okay with whichever decision he made. When decision time came, it was a stressful time for everyone, but I think once we weighed the pros and cons out we were confident in the decision.
LRT Sports: If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently?
Laurel: I would’ve prepared more questions when the coaches sat down with us and challenged them more. It’s hard to be in a situation like that with virtually no experience; I also wish I would have had more direct contact with the coaches.
LRT Sports: What was the best part of the recruiting process?
Laurel: The best part about it was the excitement of all the possibilities. I knew it had been my son’s dream to play college football and was so excited for him when the opportunity presented itself. Even though there were stressful times, I could tell he was happy all of his hard work in high school had paid off.
LRT Sports: Did you feel like the recruiters were honest and upfront?
Laurel: For the most part, I felt that the coaches were honest in what they had to say, but they also sugar-coated certain things regarding academics. They all stated that they strongly emphasized their athletes’ education, but I knew it was different once my son was there from what he told me.
LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can give other parents that are going through the recruiting process?
Laurel: Stay involved and communicate with your children but do not decide for them. It is essential to let them know what’s essential and not to let anyone influence them or make them do something they don’t want to do. Another piece of advice I have is to tell them that it’s an important decision to make, but if they don’t like where they are they aren’t stuck, they can always make a change.
Posted on July 13, 2019 in Recruiting 101
When doing research in the recruiting process for my daughter I came across the LRT Sports website. I was immediately intrigued as this was another dimension of the recruiting process that many people don't even consider. My daughter and I could "short list" schools based on the education she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to play her sport. LRT Sports not only gave us pertinent information into the recruiting process with different interviews of coaches and players, it also gave us insight into current and/or former players' opinions on the coach of that school in her sport. We could use this information to re-prioritize my daughters list of schools based on this feedback. I have many friends that are, or will be, going through this process shortly and I highly recommend using LRT Sports as part of anyone's recruiting process.
The college process presents a myriad of challenges. Factor in athletics and it becomes even more daunting. Now, add the fact that you have zero experience with sports. What is a the mother of a college bound student-athlete to do? LRT Sports has truly lived up to its promise. It has kept "the college recruiting process honest and easy by providing first hand information about coaches, schools and the recruiting process." Their interviews with current students, coaches, and professional athletes have provided realistic guidance. I am much more informed because of LRT Sports! The coach ratings are the most helpful. LRT Sports interviews allow us to hear from students as to how the adults are impacting not only their athletic experience but also how they are helping to shape their adult self.
The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Keirsten Sires come and speak to us on multiple topics relevant to high school athletics today, including recruiting. Keirsten reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of recruiting. She was a true professional and delivered a wonderful message.
Now that the recruiting process and the related stress is over, I wanted to thank you for your guidance. You did so much more than we had expected. Once you started the process by matching the best academic schools first, not the best sport programs, I knew you were the one. The way you laid out a timeline of contacting coaches, visits, and camps completely took any guesswork out of the plan for us. All of the student athletes that you put us in touch with gave us a look from the inside, and made us more comfortable knowing what was coming. Finally, using your website as a resource for knowing what to expect from different coaches based on former recruit reviews gave my son confidence before our meetings. There is no way we could have figured this out on our own, you really put us in a great position when decision time came.
I think hearing from other athletes is very beneficial. To be able to learn from people’s mistakes, and to be able to have access to those voices is really helpful; especially voices that have been there and done that. It’s very important for people to have access to information that could benefit them, and in this case there are many voices that can help the next wave of athletes.
If you have something that’s going to spell [the recruiting process] out for you… it’s so valuable. I think what everyone at LRT Sports is doing to spread the word and help advocate and educate athletes on the recruitment process is incredible.
Without question would have used LRT Sports. It would have probably been one of the most valuable tools that I could have had. If you want to know what these coaches are really like then I think this is the best tool out there. I’m really glad you are allowing recruits to have a resource like this moving forward.