Parents, this article 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, 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 hand, 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. We understand your predicament and are here to help guide you through it. Keep reading to find out why your most important and helpful role as a parent in the recruiting process is helping behind the scenes.
Getting Prepared: Pre-Season Practice
The bulk of your role in your son’s recruiting process will be done behind the scenes. When the pre-season starts, both the manager and players are responsible for getting prepared. This is the part of the recruiting process where you and your son spend time researching, studying, and getting informed. You should both work together so you have a shared understanding of what you can expect to encounter in the recruiting process and what steps to take moving forward.
As a parent, you can help make sure your son is devoting regularly scheduled time to his recruiting process and coming up with his recruitment plan. It’s incredibly important that you and your son have regular conversations about the recruiting process. This will ensure that you are both on the same page—working together as a unified team.
Preparing for Game Day: Scouting A School
If you are on the same page as your son and have come up with a plan that you both agree on, you can start to prepare for game day (visiting with interested schools). If you know that you will be talking with or visiting a college program, you will want to put together a good scouting report. Help your son find out as much as he can about the school/baseball program. How big is the school? How much recent success has the baseball team had? How long have the coaches been with the program? Do some roster research. Who is returning at your son’s position and what class they are in? Does the school have your son’s intended major or area of study? Prepare a list of questions you have about that specific school and baseball program. Finally, work with your son to set up guidelines for visits. Things like, ‘we will talk about things at home before you decide to commit’ or ‘we will stay for the full visit, even if we do not like the way the visit is going’. This will make sure you stick with your shared game plan no matter how the visit goes and give you time to reflect and make a rational and informed decision. Once you have finished your ‘scouting report’ and set guidelines, you are ready for game day!
Game Day: Let Your Son Take the Lead
Once your “team” is on the same page, you have done your research, and scouted the opponent, it’s time to step back and let your son take over. There are a number of reasons why it is important for you to let your son take the lead in interactions with college coaches and recruiters. For starters, college coaches put a lot of value in players who take ownership over their recruiting process and can clearly articulate what they want in a college experience. In college, you will not be there to communicate on your son’s behalf, and coaches want to see if recruits can communicate effectively on their own. Your son should be the main person communicating with coaches on the phone, email, and in person. If your son is leading the conversation, it will give college coaches a better chance to get to know him and figure out if his personality is a good fit for their program. It will also allow your son to get a better feel for the coaching staff, and evaluate if they fit what he is looking for in college coaches. Of course, any college coach worth their salt is going to keep the parent involved in conversation, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to let your son take the lead. Like a good manager, you can step in if it’s really important or things are not going well. Just remember to inform rather than embellish or brag about your son.
When Should Parents Take the Lead?
Parents generally take the lead when it has to do with finances and scholarship offers or getting related questions answered. As far as asking questions are concerned, you should never feel bad about getting all the answers you need to make an informed decision. Ask all the questions you need. When coaches start talking about cost of attendance and scholarship money, that’s when you can and should take charge of the conversation. Ask clarifying questions and always make sure you know how much an offer will have you paying out of pocket. If you are confused, consult our Making Sense of Your Scholarship Offer or A Step-By-Step Guide For Comparing Multiple Offers. It’s best to avoid making demands or asking for more scholarship money in your initial face-to-face meeting. Negotiations or letting a school know you can’t afford the current cost is better after you have had time to sit down and look at all the financial facts, talk with your son about his interest in the school, and come up with a plan. Instead of coming back to the school and saying it’s not enough money, if you come back with a realistic figure they need to get to, they may be able to find the funds.
There are many reasons why you are best served working hard behind the scenes to help inform and shape your son’s recruiting process and eventual college decision. Giving your son the lead when it comes to interacting with college coaches will give him ownership over the decision and help him learn valuable communication and decision-skills along the way. In Parents Role in the Recruiting Process: Part 2, we go more in-depth on the type of things you can do behind the scenes to improve your son’s chances of finding a college baseball fit. Check it out now by clicking on the link!