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College Sports Recruiting

College Recruiting 101 for Parents

Navigating through the college sports recruitment process as a parent can be tough. In this guide, we go over NCAA rules, prepare for visits, and explore ways to support your child's athletic dreams at the collegiate level

Written by

Lars Blenckers


As a parent, you want what's best for your child's future. If your child is talented and passionate about a sport, they may have the opportunity to continue playing at the collegiate level. However, navigating the college recruiting process can be overwhelming and confusing. This guide will provide you with essential information and tips to help you understand and support your child in their journey towards college athletics.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Process: Familiarize yourself with the college recruiting timeline and initial contact methods.
  • Researching Colleges: Focus on academic fit, athletic fit, and financial considerations.
  • Navigating NCAA Rules: Learn eligibility requirements and contact regulations.
  • Preparing for Visits: Plan and observe during college recruiting visits.
  • Building an Athletic Resume: Highlight accomplishments and keep it updated.
  • Communicating with Coaches: Encourage proactive communication and prompt follow-ups.
  • Supporting Your Child: Balance academics and athletics, and provide guidance throughout the process.

Understanding the College Recruiting Process

College recruiting 101 for parents begins with understanding the process. The college recruiting process is a series of steps and interactions between student-athletes, college coaches, and potential colleges. It starts as early as freshman year of high school and continues through senior year. Understanding the process and key terms will equip you with the knowledge needed to support your child effectively:

  1. Recruiting timeline: Familiarize yourself with the general timeline of the recruiting process. This will help you and your child plan accordingly and stay on track.
  2. Initial contact: Coaches typically initiate initial contact by sending recruitment letters or emails. Be prepared for these communications and encourage your child to respond promptly.
  3. Highlight videos: Creating highlight videos showcasing your child's skills is crucial. These videos should be concise, well-edited, and highlight their best plays.
  4. Official and unofficial visits: College recruiting visits, both official and unofficial, provide an opportunity for your child to experience campus life and meet with coaches and team members. Assist your child in preparing for these visits and encourage them to ask questions.
College Recruiting 101 For Parents

Researching Potential Colleges and Programs

Helping your child find the right college and athletic program is an important part of the recruiting process. Here's what you can do to assist them in their research:

  • Academic fit: Emphasize the importance of academics and encourage your child to consider colleges that align with their academic interests and career goals.
  • Athletic fit: Research different athletic programs to find those that match your child's skill level and sporting goals. Look for programs that have a track record of success but also prioritize the well-being of their athletes.
  • Financial considerations: Understand the financial aspects of college athletics, including scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid. Evaluate the potential costs involved and discuss them with your child.

Navigating NCAA Rules and Regulations

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has established rules and regulations to ensure a fair recruiting process. Familiarize yourself with these rules to avoid any unintended violations:

  • Eligibility requirements: Understand the academic and eligibility standards set by the NCAA. Your child must meet specific criteria to remain eligible for athletic scholarships.
  • Contact regulations: Learn about the restrictions on communication between coaches and student-athletes during different stages of the recruiting process. Following these rules is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship with college coaches.

Preparing for College Recruiting Visits

College recruiting visits provide an opportunity for your child to get a firsthand experience of the campus and meet with coaches and team members. Here's how you can help them make the most of these visits:

  • Plan ahead: Research the college and athletic program before the visit to familiarize yourself with their offerings. Encourage your child to make a list of questions to ask during the visit.
  • Take notes: During the visit, your child may feel overwhelmed with information. Advise them to take notes and pictures to help remember important details later.
  • Observe and evaluate: Encourage your child to observe the campus culture, coaching style, and the dynamics of the team. This will help them determine if the college and program are the right fit for them.
Parents Campus Visit

Building an Impressive Athletic Resume

An athletic resume serves as a snapshot of your child's achievements, skills, and potential as an athlete. Here are some tips to help your child create an impressive athletic resume:

  • Highlight accomplishments: Include information about your child's achievements, such as awards, records, and notable performances. Be sure to provide specific details and statistics.
  • Include academic information: Highlight your child's academic achievements and GPA. Colleges value well-rounded student-athletes.
  • Update regularly: Encourage your child to update their athletic resume regularly as they achieve new milestones or receive additional recognition.

Tips for Communicating with College Coaches

Effective communication with college coaches is vital throughout the recruiting process. Here's how you can support your child in this aspect:

  • Be proactive: Encourage your child to reach out to coaches and express their interest in the program. Coaches appreciate proactive and dedicated student-athletes.
  • Follow up promptly: If your child receives a communication or an invitation from a coach, help them respond promptly and professionally.
  • Ask thoughtful questions: Encourage your child to ask thoughtful questions that demonstrate their interest in the program and show that they have done their research.

Parents College Recruiting


Is it OK for a parent to email a college coach?
Yes, it's acceptable for a parent to email a college coach, but it's generally encouraged to let the student-athlete take the lead in communication. Parents can provide support and guidance but should allow their child to build a direct relationship with the coach.

Do parents go on official recruiting visits?
Yes, parents often accompany their children on official recruiting visits. These visits provide an opportunity for parents to learn more about the college, athletic program, and coaching staff. It's a chance to ask questions and evaluate if the school is the right fit for their child.

How can I help my child get recruited?
Parents can help their child get recruited by encouraging them to maintain good grades, create a compelling athletic resume, and research potential colleges. Support them in attending camps and showcases, and guide them in communicating effectively with college coaches.

Are parents allowed to talk to college coaches?
Yes, parents are allowed to talk to college coaches, especially during official and unofficial visits. Coaches often expect to engage with parents to understand the family's perspective and ensure a good fit with the program. However, it's essential for the student-athlete to be the primary communicator.

Remember, the college recruiting process can be demanding both physically and mentally for your child. As a parent, be supportive, offer guidance, and help them maintain balance between academics and athletics. With your support, your child will be better prepared to navigate and succeed in the college recruiting process.

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