Last week, we answered the 10 most common questions we get from players about the recruiting process. We also get lots of questions about the recruiting process from parents of high school players interested in playing at the next level. There are some common themes that come out of questions from different parents and many of the questions or concerns they express are the exact same. We also do annual surveys to find out about what worries parents of high school baseball players have and what they don’t understand about the recruiting process. In this article, we’ve put all these questions and research together to come up with the 10 most common questions parents have about the recruiting process and provide answers.
1. How do I make sure my son doesn’t get missed by college coaches?
Short Answer: If you are following along with KPB resources and your son is doing things at the appropriate time, he’s not going to get missed. College coaches are too thorough and technology is too much of an asset to miss players who are contacting schools to initiate interest at the right time. Most players that feel like they “got missed” or “never got seen” fail to get recruited because they targeted the wrong programs or levels for their academic and athletic skill set. Being realistic about your son’s abilities and the schools he targets is extremely important in the recruiting process. Your son should be open to all options and cast a wide net when he reaches out to schools to ensure that he has options at the next level. We discuss these ideas at length in the articles below!
2. I want to help my son with his recruiting process without stepping on his toes. How much involvement should I have in the recruiting process?
Short Answer: Parents certainly have a tricky role in the recruiting process. College coaches want your son to be the main source of communication in the recruiting process, but you absolutely should be involved, even if to the outside world it seems like you’re not. College is way too important to your son’s future for you to simply step aside completely, although depending on your son’s maturity level and focus, he may be able to manage much of it himself. Either way, you’ll want to have an understanding of what is going on. The best analogy we have for your role in the recruiting process (described in great detail in our mini-series below), is when your son gets his driving permit. He has to drive the car to learn, but you aren’t kicking your feet up and taking a nap. Depending on his maturity and skill, you will do more or less teaching and guiding, but you are always paying attention and involved. To the outside world (college coaches), it looks like the driver is completely in charge and doing things himself, but inside the vehicle there’s some backseat driving happening and it’s a unified team.
Important Reading: Parents’ Role in the Recruiting Process Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, Is Your Son Mature Enough to Make Recruiting Decisions on His Own?, Parents Page
3. I have limited resources, but want to give my son the best chance to play college baseball and get a scholarship. How do I get the most for my money?
Short Answer: First, let us just say that the recruiting process doesn’t have to be expensive. There are free or cost-effective alternatives for everything that costs money in recruitment. In general, the chase for athletic scholarship money often ends up with parents squandering lots of money and ending up with a small scholarship or no scholarship in the end. The truth is that many college baseball players don’t get athletic scholarships. As an equivalency sport, baseball is limited in the number of scholarships that a team can offer. Each level of college baseball has a different number of scholarships that each team can give out, but almost no one earns a full-ride on athletic money alone. It’s likely that any scholarship that your son gets will only cover a portion of your cost of attendance. You are more likely to be happy with where your son ends up if you reframe your goal as helping your son find a college program fit for an affordable amount or as little out of pocket as possible. It’s possible that the cheapest place for your son to play or the best fit is at a school where they don’t even offer “athletic scholarships”. Getting good grades and scores on standardized tests are the best way to get more financial assistance when paying for school, but the resources below are tremendous in creating an affordable or low-budget recruiting process without compromising opportunity at the next level.
Important Reading: Video: College Baseball Scholarship Basics, College Baseball Scholarship Limits and Rules: Level-by-Level, Making Sense of Your Scholarship, How to Balance Spending and Exposure in Search for Scholarships, More Scholarship Articles, The Truth About Showcases, 6 Steps to Get Recruited Without Spending a Dime, What to do if Money is Tight, Development is King: Why Development is the Key to a Low Budget Recruitment, Using Technology to Get Recruited
4. What are some of the biggest mistakes parents make in the recruiting process?
Short Answer: Some of the common mistakes we see parents make during the recruiting process are over-involvement (hijacking the process from their son), under-involvement (“It’s his decision”), paying big money on unnecessary things like showcases or recruiting services, not having an objective view about their son’s abilities, and many others. The two articles below address some of the biggest mistakes in depth. Check them out so you don’t fall into the same traps!
5. Do you have any parent-to-parent advice you can share?
Short Answer: No need to get long-winded on this one. We’ll let parents of current and former college players speak for themselves. Just click the link below!
Important Reading: Parent-to-Parent Advice on the Recruiting Process
6. What do we need to know about the NCAA rules and eligibility?
Short Answer: The worst thing that can happen to your son is to have interest from his dream school, only to find out he took a wrong class or is not eligible. Realistically, understanding the recruiting rules and eligibility is a role best served by parents. It takes a very mature high school student to verify what counselors are saying and make sure everything is good from an eligibility standpoint. It simply doesn’t happen very much and that’s why it’s important that as a parent, you take on this role. This means understanding the rules and eligibility requirements starting in your son’s 9th grade year, double checking school counselors to make sure classes are NCAA approved, and more. This can be tedious work, but it’s better than finding out at the last minute that someone made a mistake. Get informed on eligibility and the NCAA rules early, and stay updated as things change.
Important Reading: College Baseball Recruiting Rules: Level-by-Level, Eligibility 101, Playing College Baseball: You Need to Know the Rules, Important Resources, Academic Planning Worksheet, More on NCAA Rules
7. How can I help my son find a program that fits what he is looking for?
Short Answer: You can break this process down into many different steps, but to really simplify things here, there are three basic things you need to do to find a program fit. First, your son must understand what he wants in a college experience. What does that fit look like? Second, he must understand where he is developmentally and where he needs to get to in order to play at the desired level. This involves having someone objectively evaluate his abilities and provide honest feedback on what levels may fit for him or what he needs to do to get to his desired level. This honest, objective feedback will give your son an action plan to meet the standards of play. Finally, the last step is being relentless in researching programs of interest. Ask important and difficult questions, leave no stone unturned, and make sure that the programs you are considering match up well with the criteria that is most important to your son having the college experience that he wants. While your son must spearhead this process on his own to truly find a fit, you can play a big role in guiding him along and making sure he is being honest, realistic, and making informed decisions grounded in facts. In essence, this is the entire goal behind the KPB website and specifically the KPB Recruiting 101 resource. We are here to provide you and your son with the resources needed to make informed decisions and find a lasting college baseball fit, at no cost.
8. What is the FAFSA and do I really need to fill one out?
Short Answer: Yes. Filing a FAFSA will be worth every second you spend doing it. Not only can the FAFSA connect you to aid that will help make school more affordable, but it is required by admissions at many colleges and universities, and is often mandatory if you receive a baseball scholarship. By filing, you are getting a better understanding of your financial options to pay for your son’s schooling. You can decide later what you want to accept or reject.
9. Does my son need to specialize in baseball in order to play college baseball?
Short Answer: No. Getting recruited to play college baseball is about demonstrating the skills, tools, athleticism, projectability, and physicality that college coaches are looking for. It’s about meeting the standards of play. If you can meet those standards, you can play at the college level, regardless of whether you’ve never played another sport or were a 3-sport athlete in high school. College coaches absolutely love multi-sport athletes, so long as they present the right athletic skillset to make them successful at the next level. We encourage young kids to play other sports for as long as they enjoy them. As you get to high school, the decision to specialize or continue to play multiple sports is very personal and depends on how your son prioritizes baseball goals with his enjoyment playing other sports. Without knowing your son’s situation, it would be silly for us to tell you what your son should or shouldn’t do. To be clear, we love all sports and take a balanced look at single-sport versus multi-sport decision in the article linked below.
Important Reading: Baseball Specialization or Multi-Sport Athlete? You Decide!
10. What questions should we be asking college coaches?
Short Answer: Asking the right questions during recruitment is one of the most important roles for you and your son. While it’s important that your son do most of the question asking and communicating throughout the recruiting process, you should never shy away from asking the questions you need. We have countless resources on what to ask and what to research. When it comes to financial details, scholarships, and cost of attendance, you will definitely want to take the lead. You’ll also want to ask about academics and ensure that your son will have the resources needed to succeed. We could go on and on about what to ask coaches, and the real answer is that there are no bad questions, as long as they are asked in the right way. Avoid making questions sound like an ultimatum or like you are backing a coach into a corner. The resources below will give you endless ideas about what you should ask and when.
Important Reading: Asking Questions That Matter For You (For Parents), Questions to Ask Interested Coaches and Recruiters, 9 Questions to Answer Before Committing, 7 Difficult But Important Questions to Ask College Coaches