“Listen to your parents.”
We’ve been hearing it since the day we were able to comprehend the phrase. Some days are easier than others, but something I’ve learned after years of observation is that, (brace yourself, now!), parents can be pretty smart. It’s a crazy concept – I know!
But in all seriousness, one of the greatest resources you or your family may discover in the recruiting process is talking to parents who have been there before and are willing to share some of the ups and downs they went through with you.
Think of them as a “parents-of-a-student-athlete support group.”
I collect these every week at Recruited Today, a blog where student-athletes and their parents share their experiences, but I also really enjoy reaching out to family friends and parents in our network who may have a piece of advice for parents with kids of all ages and in all stages of sports.
Below are two of the most recent pieces advice from parents in recruiting that stuck out to me.
Keep your eye open to every opportunity.
The first is from the father of Anna. He’s a local restaurant owner here in Chicago, and Anna walked on to a DI tennis program where she was eventually offered a scholarship.
“Our daughter always beat to her own drum. She’s the youngest of three sisters, but has always had a strong, very independent personality. When she discovered tennis, my wife and I knew it was going to be a match made in heaven.
Anna did really well throughout high school, both on the court and in the classroom, but we didn’t really get serious about exploring her playing tennis at the collegiate level until the end of her junior year – which is really late for any sport, but especially a spring sport like tennis. I’m not sure why we waited so long. She wasn’t really that obsessed with the idea early on, and I think we kind of followed her lead. But slowly her friends started signing offers, girls Anna had beat on the court, and I think it kind of just got her wheels turning more than anything else.
Anna wanted to stay local in Chicago, she always had that plan, so we supported her in reaching out to tennis programs and coaches in the area looking to see if they were still looking. After many, many emails with highlight reels and transcript attachments, Anna kind of retired the idea. Until a walk-on offer at a DI program came through. It was a school she was very serious about even without tennis, and she thought she’d give it a whirl on the tennis team as a walk-on. The rest, as they say, is history.
Being part of a team – especially as a freshman in college – really gave Anna, someone who was more “on-her-own” and independent, a sense of security in her new chapter. She was motivated, made life long friends her first week at school, and ended up earning a scholarship her junior year.
It was a long road – don’t start as late as us – but also, don’t lose faith! It really is worth the work and heartache to eventually see your child blossom on a college team, and above all else, getting a first class education at the same time.”
Help your athlete develop diverse talents.
The second piece of advice is geared at parents of younger kids, and comes from none other than the mother of our founder, Chris Krause. His mom, Nancy, weighs in on a practice she started at a young age that she thinks helped Chris a lot in the end on his recruitment to play DI football.
“I think one of the things that gave my son some diverse strengths, and me and my husband some piece of mind and confidence in his choice to get serious about football, is that we tried to expose him to all kinds of activities from a young age. Sure, that meant many different sports, but it also meant things like playing clarinet and taking an art class. Some things he liked, some things he absolutely hated, but he knew that committing to a class or a season meant seeing it through, and then either continuing on with it or looking for something else to try.
At the end of it all, football kind of chose him. Football stuck around as a real passion of his and sense of fulfillment, and we loved supporting him in this, especially knowing he got a feel for other things outside the sport, and continued to come back to it. And football ended up changing his life. It took him to college, free of tuition or debt; it took him across the country for games and bowl experiences. Football was his means to a college degree, which offered him the opportunity to live out his passion for sports and education through building a business he loves. It’s an awesome thing. And I think the best thing we ever did was make sure he saw what was out there, and then let him land on the gridiron on his own.”
Our scouts can help you prepare your athlete for college athletics, too. The best way to get started is with a recruiting profile