Tips for parents: communicating with college coaches



As a sports parent, you’re probably asking how you can help your student-athlete navigate the college recruiting process. Specifically, what role should you play in communicating with college coaches? While your athlete will undoubtably want and need your help through the process, it’s essential that you avoid taking the lead when interacting with college coaches.  

Here are three do’s and three don’ts for parents of high school athletes

  • Do understand that college coaches evaluate parents, too. College coaches aren’t just evaluating student-athletes’ athleticism, character and body language, they also have their eye on parents and how they behave in the stands. Tip: stay positive and calm as you support your athlete from the sidelines and avoid heckling officials or complaining about playing time. 
  • Do operate as a team. Creating a support system for your student-athletes to provide guidance through the recruiting process creates a recipe for successful. But at the end of the day, a coach is recruiting the athlete, not the parent. Tip: know when to communicate with coaches and what to say
  • Do ask questions. College coaches know and expect parents to have questions, the key is knowing when you should enter the conversation and when you should let your athlete take the lead. Tip: the best time for parents to ask their questions is during an official visits.  Check out our top 10 questions parents of athletes should ask college coaches
  • Don’t procrastinate. One of the biggest recruiting myths is that the college recruiting process starts during junior or senior year in high school. The reality is, the longer families wait to start the recruiting process, the more overwhelming it becomes. Tip: starting as early as 8th grade allows recruits more time to narrow down schools, connect with coaches and manage all the different aspects of their recruiting.    
  • Don’t sign up for the wrong sports camp or combine. Just because your athlete receives a camp invite, doesn’t mean that they are being recruited. It’s important to be smart about what camps your athlete chooses to attend. Tip: a good rule of thumb is to research camps with your athlete and make sure coaches from their target schools will be in attendance. Find sports camps near you.
  • Don’t limit your options. Athletes should always cast a wide net during their college search and explore competitive opportunities across all division levels, from NCAA D1, D2 and D3 to NAIA and junior college programs. Tip: many NCAA D3 programs are just as competitive as D1 programs with the opportunity to earn a merit or academic scholarship.

For more recruiting tips for parents, check out NCSA’s Guide to Helping Student Athletes Succeed in Recruiting.