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The huddle

August 28, 2017

Tips for Parents in the Upcoming Recruiting Process

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The college recruiting process often spans most of the athlete’s high school career. With so many schools and opportunities to choose from, the life-changing decision indefinitely impacts your child’s future. Consider all deciding factors such as athletic programs, financial aid, academics, and location when determining the best fit for your family. With the assistance of parents, LRT Sports minimizes this time-consuming and stressful process by turning it into a fun, learning experience. LRT Sports interviewed Brian Pinkney, a father of two, about guiding his daughter through the recruiting process for Division I hockey. As the parent of a recently recruited student-athlete, Pinkney kindly offers advice to high school parents.

LRT Sports: In your opinion, what should the parent’s role be when it comes to the recruiting process?

Pinkney: They should be a support system, a supervisor, a fact-finder, a verifier, an organizer, a driver, a financier, and an assistant.

LRT Sports: Should there be a limit of how involved a parent(s) should be in the recruiting process?

Pinkney: It is hard to put a limit on this, as each family dynamic is different.

LRT Sports: What advice can you give as far as what a parent should do when going through the recruiting process with their athlete?

Pinkney:  Be there for your child. Try to listen to what they want and just be supportive. Parents should offer opinions and options for the athlete to consider.

LRT Sports: What should parents not do when going through the recruiting process with their athlete?

Pinkney: Always let your athlete take the lead and allow them to enjoy the school without your personal opinions. It is their life and future. They need to imagine their experience through their eyes, not yours.

LRT Sports: Do you think you should have a say in your athlete’s final decision?

Pinkney: Yes, to some extent, only intervene if the athlete is making a grave error in judgment.

LRT Sports: Do you wish you knew more about the recruiting process before your athlete went through it? 

Pinkney: Yes, knowledge is power, especially with recruiting dates, signing deadlines, unofficial and official visits. Informed athletes and parents will impress coaches with their interest in the school. The parents must do their homework to be prepared, talk to friends that were recruited, and sift through the information to offer your student an educated decision.

LRT Sports: Where did you find information on the recruiting process?

Pinkney: Older players’ parents, online, coaches, players on the team recruiting my athlete, and grads.

LRT Sports: Do you think it would be beneficial to have a parent network where you could connect with other parents during the process?

Pinkney: Not sure about that as every kids’ needs are very different, and there is competition for a few choice spots. This is a competition. You want your child to stand out and one does not want to reveal all their cards to fellow competitors during the recruiting process.

LRT Sports: Did you help make this a fun process for your child?

Pinkney: I tried. It was stressful for the whole family unit to go through. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my child to go through.

LRT Sports: As a parent, what was the most stressful part of the process?

Pinkney: Trusting that the right decision was made, as it is life-changing for every athlete hoping to be recruited.

LRT Sports: In a coach’s viewpoint, what do you think is the biggest mistake parents make during the process?

Pinkney: Speaking for your child, demanding too much, and being overly involved in the recruitment of the athlete. The recruiters have a process that they follow, and parent interfering does not help in your child’s recruitment. No parent wants to be labeled a ‘problem parent’. Coaches are looking for a good fit with the family dynamic as well. 

LRT Sports: What is the best piece of advice that you can offer to other parents?

Pinkney: Be educated and informed. The internet is your workplace for this. There is no such thing as too much knowledge of the prospective schools, recruitment, and staff involved. Try to have some fun with the process as well, especially with college visits. This is a magical experience that you get to start with your child. It should be special for the family too. Be patient, this is not a 2-hour new car deal, at a dealership. It is spread out over several weeks or even months. Do not make rash, off the cuff decisions, without talking it out with your athlete and looking at all of the options. Also, seek advice from trusted people that have experience in recruiting to commit with confidence.

Image courtesy of Lacrosse Goes Ballistic.

Updated on 8/3/19 by Jessica Lamb