You know what they say: There’s always a bigger fish.
We hear this a lot from concerned parents of student-athletes, who read about how young athletic recruiting is trending.
Or who hear from other parents that another athlete on the team or in their conference is already getting attention from college coaches – particularly if that athlete is younger than their own.
What should parents do to help student-athletes who are late bloomers? Here are our top three tips.
Focus on what your late bloomer can change
Some athletes’ speed, height or overall size might be an advantage for them. But any student-athlete, no matter their size, can focus on improving other aspects of their sport: ball or stick handling, form, agility, and more. The development of technical skills is never dependent on reaching puberty.
Neither is a serious attitude and knowledge of the game. A smaller competitor can have a much better head on their shoulders and prove herself to be a tougher athlete than a more physically dominating opponent.
Help your student-athlete identify areas they can develop physical and mental toughness to be an all-around star.
Make sure your late bloomer keeps a positive attitude
Here is a more important question than considering whether it’s worth hiring a personal trainer and a lifetime supply of whey protein:
Will your athlete still enjoy the game by the time they could bloom?
As disheartening as it might be to watch a young athlete play against peers who are momentarily at a higher level of performance, just think of the pressures your athlete is feeling, just because they faced some stronger competitors.
Or from conversations that might happen after the match, in the car ride home.
Be sure to remind your athlete that you love to watch them play, and focus on the positive: what new skills has your student-athlete been improving? What PRs have they recently achieved? How have they demonstrated a deeper, richer knowledge of the sport season than in previous seasons?
Just because other athletes might get early accolades or attention from college coaches doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to get the lion’s share of college scholarships; coaches are looking at your athlete’s potential, not solely at her performance as a seventh-grader.
So the more that you can proactively find schools that interest your student-athlete, and connect with coaches to learn about what they hope for in their next set of recruits, the better.
Have more questions about your student-athlete’s path to college? We’re always here to help. One of the best ways to get them started is with a recruiting profile.