Athletic Recruiting Recruiting for Parents

When Should Parents Step In Youth Sports?

parent-with-student-athlete

Recently in Louisiana, seven student-athletes were kicked off the basketball after accusing their coach of being too touchy-feely.

The school investigated what the student-athletes said but decided the allegations were unfounded. As one parent told CBS,

“They didn’t play because we wanted to get the principal and coach to the table to talk about the issues we have. This is not a witch hunt against the coach. We want the best for our kids, and we want our kids safe.”

Just talking about this article in the office, we realized almost everyone had a story about something that came up when we were younger. Maybe it wasn’t a coach, or something that happened directly to us. But everyone could think of a situation where something felt — weird.

This raises an interesting question. We often talk about the parent’s role in the recruiting process, and how helicopter parents might be negatively impacting youth athletics.

But what about the times when a parent should step in?

If your student-athlete’s safety is at risk.

Allegations like the ones made in Louisiana are absolutely serious. And while it’s good that the school found that nothing untoward had occurred, parents were right to support their daughters to make sure everything was okay.

As the parent quoted above said, “This is not a witch hunt against the coach.” Instead, it’s responsibly ensuring the safety of student-athletes.

If your student-athlete is being bullied.

There’s letting your young student-athlete learn how to stand up for themselves, and then there’s bullying, which isn’t something anyone should have to deal with. We’ve written about how true student-athletes have no use for bullying.

There are resources behind that link in case you suspect there’s bullying involved in your child’s life, but what might be difficult in this situation is that there’s little to no direct way to confront bullies. Simultaneously, you don’t want to minimize a painful situation for your student-athlete.

Having open conversations about what’s going on is one way to help your child strategize how to deal with bullies. (I know that’s easier said than done.) Helping them identify their allies – in friends or adults at school – is another.

If your student-athlete isn’t performing well academically or athletically.

We start to slide back into territory that could potentially be termed helicopter parenting, here. How are you judging your child’s performance? Did they get a worse grade than they normally did? Or did they run a time slower than what you wanted them to complete?

We can’t tell you where the line is in your relationship with your child. Perhaps your student-athlete is depressed or overwhelmed and truly does need your help. Or maybe they had an off week and just need your help understanding that’s okay.

For us, the guiding rule is still this line from Amanda Scarborough: When in doubt, just tell your student-athlete, “I love to watch you play.”


The college recruiting process is one place where student-athletes can use parents’ help to succeed. One of the best ways to get started is with a recruiting profile.

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.