KPB Blog Parents

Parents’ Role in the Recruiting Process: Part 1 (2018)

Parents, this mini-series is for you. If you follow KPB regularly, you know that we spend a considerable amount of time trying to help you find the appropriate place in your son’s college baseball recruiting process. On our website, we alert you to the biggest mistakes that parents make during the recruiting process, share advice from parents who have been through the process before, and have an entire page of resources set up just for you.  

No matter how far along in the recruiting process your son is, you are probably already realizing that finding your appropriate place in the process is a delicate balance. On one hand, you want to help guide your son down the right path and find an affordable school that will set him up to be successful long after his baseball playing days are over. On the other, you know it’s important for your son to take initiative and find a place where he will be happy on and off the field for the next 4 or 5 years.  We understand your predicament and are here to help guide you through it.  

Your son’s college decision is incredibly important for his future and the recruiting process can be a great learning tool for developing skills that will benefit your son in college and beyond. Parents should definitely be involved in the recruiting process. But what level of involvement and what role is appropriate? The amount of daily involvement parents have varies from family to family, and these considerations can help you figure out exactly how much help your son might need. From a college coach’s perspective, however, the role of the parent should look pretty similar for everyone. Your most important and helpful role as a parent in the recruiting process is behind the scenes. We like to use the learner’s permit analogy to explain how your involvement and influence on the recruiting process is known and felt, but often invisible from the outside looking in.

When your son is first learning how to drive, the only way for him to learn and become proficient is to spend time behind the wheel. But this doesn’t mean that you are handing over the keys and taking a nap (at least we hope not!). Your job is to be a great backseat driver and help your son guide the vehicle safely. At various times during the journey, this may mean providing important advice, information, and guidance or sitting back and remaining quiet. Depending on the maturity of your son and your level of trust, you may be more or less involved. From the outside of the car, people see your son is driving and in control. From the inside looking out, you are involved in the process and play a critical role. The recruiting process should look the same inside your house and to the outside world (especially college coaches). Your role as a parent will have you wearing many hats, from advisor and voice of reason to treasurer. We will elaborate on the most important roles for parents to fulfill throughout the mini-series. 

As a parent, you can play a big role in helping your son create an organized and strategic plan for how to navigate the recruiting process, while letting him take the lead in communication and face-to-face interactions with college coaches. Having this behind the scenes influence will allow you to stay involved and active in the process while avoiding some of the traps that well-meaning parents fall into while trying to help their son. Parents who can strike the balance between involvement and giving their son freedom are better able to influence and guide the recruiting plan while giving their son a sense of ownership over the overall process and decision-making. Less involvement in face-to-face interactions and pre-visit communication also prevents parents from accidentally hijacking the recruiting process from their son or being labeled as an overbearing or helicopter-parents by coaches. 

There are many reasons why college coaches want to see your son take the lead, and evaluating your son’s initiative, ability to follow instructions, and communication skills top the list. Building a relationship with your son and making sure he will fit in their program is another important reason why coaches want your son to talk for himself. In our last two college coaches surveys, we asked college coaches from every level of college baseball who they prefer to be the primary communicator in the recruiting process and every single one said the recruit. We provide more details on why this is important in this article. 

Your role in the recruiting process is important, and there will be times when you should take the lead, but you do your son no favors by stealing the show. Get comfortable with being involved behind the scene and allowing your son to learn valuable skills and lessons from managing his own recruitment. In Parents’ Role in the Recruiting Process Part 2, which will be updated and re-posted tomorrow, we break the recruiting process down in to 10 simple steps, helping you understand your most important role as a parent during each one. Parents’ Role in the Recruiting Process Part 3 closes out the mini-series by taking a look at the 5 major roles parents should play in the recruiting process and when you should step in and take the lead in the recruiting process. An updated version of that article will post in two days, so be sure to check back in!