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What is Your Biggest Challenge with the Recruiting Process?

midwest25midwest25 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member

I'm frustrated. I'm curious to know if you're a parent or child and what is your biggest challenge with the recruiting process? Mine is, I just don't know enough about it and seems like a steep learning curve.

Replies to: What is Your Biggest Challenge with the Recruiting Process?

  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    Well, I think you're in the right place to get up to speed quickly. Depending on the sport, there are parents on the forum with a lot of experience to share! Definitely use the search tool to see if there are existing threads for your kid's sport (I'm assuming you are a parent).
  • OnTrack2013OnTrack2013 Registered User Posts: 235 Junior Member
    I am a parent that went through recruiting 2 times with the same son and got the best advice and learned significantly from the members of this forum. I am done with recruiting now (one year of eligibility and school left and he is happy!), but I still engage with this community on occasion because of how much it helped me when I needed it.

    The biggest challenge for us was trying to figure out the best fit of academics and athletics all while keeping things financially feasible. No one knows your child better than you and as a parent you don’t want them to navigate this alone. The learning curve is steep, but time spent learning is worth it, since there is a lot at stake. Throughout the recruiting process it always felt like we had partial info and timing was never in our favor. My son’s recruiting started late and went late, well into his senior year in hs, and then into the summer the year he transferred. He always felt like he was the backup choice and coaches were keeping him warm while other athletes decided what they were going to do. We never really knew where he stood with many of the coaches and communications seemed vague. By most accounts (solid performer in his event, state champ, high nat'l. ranking) he should have had a multitude of wonderful offers at all kinds of schools, but that was not our reality. The schools he liked didn’t want him or had full rosters already and the ones that offered any real money didn’t have a good coach or a program he wanted to be part of.

    Outside of this forum, I felt like other parents exaggerated their experiences and what offers their kids received. We tried to learn what we could by reading this forum’s older posts and then posting our own questions. I think everyone here shares the truth (due to anonymity) and when I needed real help with info, I often got PMs with specific answers. After a little while it will become obvious which parents can help with a given sport and while no two athletes are in the exact same situation, chances are someone has been in a similar situation to yours before.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,666 Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    Looking back, my greatest frustration was the lack of understanding or appreciation by others about just how darn hard it was develop a strong list of academic and athletic matches, where both the school wanted the kid, and the kid wanted the school back, and the money worked.

    My kid and I spent about 18 months working through the process and I wouldn't have traded any of it (well, maybe a couple of coach meetings and unimpressive camp outings) because it was so much fun to see my kid grow up as he worked through the process. He is now happily competing, studying, making mistakes and learning from them, at a school which is just right for him. His team is his family, and I look at the guys from his recruiting class and realize they will be his life long friends. I had no way of knowing that when we started the process, but with the help of CC, and some level headed folks in real life, that's where it ended up.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    One of the biggest challenges was riding the ups and downs of the process (which for us, started middle of sophomore year...she's now a senior who recently signed an NLI). Because a coach who seemed very interested at one point can ghost you. Also challenging (at least for me) was balancing optimism with a healthy dose of realism...knowing which programs were reaches and which ones were better fits for my kid. And finally, learning to be patient — kids outside of the top tier (which is most of them!), sometimes need to wait for dominos to fall into place before coaches get around to considering them.
  • gointhruaphasegointhruaphase Registered User Posts: 458 Member
    Been through recruiting several times in different sports at the D3 level. The biggest challenge was never knowing. Was the kid good enough, would the colleges have a need, were the grades and board scores good enough, would the kid get admitted, what did the coach really mean by this or that comment, and the list went on. The worst was questioning whether all of the effort would end well, and if it didn't, how that would affect the kid.

    The learning curve is not as steep as you may think. Make a list of colleges, and start emailing coaches. Use any excuse to continue communications. Understand that at the D3 level at least, coaches rely on athletes approaching coaches with their talent. There is no doubt that recruiting comes from camps and tournaments, but remember that any given coach is competing with other coaches at the camps or tournaments for the best players. When a player communicates directly with a coach, the coach knows that the athlete already has a true interest in that college. Set up appointments with some local college coaches, even if you have no interest in that college. Ask questions.
    Listen to what the coaches have to say. At a certain point, you will "get it."

    You don't control the process, so don't try. You can guide the process based on your family's values and priorities, but ultimately I could never have predicted at the beginning each time where mine actually ended up. Each time, the process was sprinkled with serendipity. I am glad that I went through it.

    You can always run any questions through this site, although you may get differing opinions on some points.
  • noanswersnoanswers Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    The postings from CC have been a tremendous resource in our recruitment process. So many experienced parents giving great advice helped to clear up what was a very mysterious and confusing process. Our child always wanted to be at a Div 1 academically elite school, since many of his friends are current athletes in those schools. Therefore since 10th grade he set his goal both academically and athletically to be good enough to be recruited by those schools. Our frustration was not know how realistic we had to be of his chances. He literally put in 200% percent dedication, which I am both extremely proud and quite amazed that he was able to do that, to eventually become good enough to be recruited by all the school he wanted to attend and received his LL from his first choice. However, during the past two years, despite his "200%" dedication, there were many times he was in a slump both from academic and athletics, and we all wondered if we needed to switch his path to other non athletic endeavors. We had several "serious" discussions of possibly switching from recruitment to other more academic concentration and/or music. But fortunately he was able to bounce back very quickly and continued on the upward trend.
    Another frustration was that despite having a mutual commitment by the coach and son in the spring of his junior year, the official pre-read was done later in the summer, so despite his grades and scores being very good but not perfect, we just didn't know if we were going to lose other opportunities by relying on just one school and not know how the pre-read would turn out.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Registered User Posts: 4,223 Senior Member
    So much great advice from Ohiodad51 above. Especially this: "I wanted him to remember that he didn't start playing his sport on the off chance that it would get him to college one day, and that he should take whatever recruiting interest he received as a boon rather than a right."
  • kjs1992kjs1992 Registered User Posts: 90 Junior Member
    So many great answers on here! I wear a dual hat: both HS coach and parent, this is my first time from the parent
    side, and it's been great to be able to watch my son grow through the process.

    I agree: academics and athletics need to marry and in my opinion, in that order. I always like to keep in mind that the athletics could end tomorrow. Our biggest thing was finding the school with the major, seeing if it was an academic fit and then an athletic fit. Key was having HIM make the connections - sending the emails, making the calls. After the first couple of times with some guidance, he got to be pretty good at it. Now he doesn't even blink with a coach on the phone or in person.

    I think another important thing to remember is that you steer the ship - you may not control the destination like @gointhruaphase said, but you do have the power to guide it . But, you need to "dance" carefully.....We had an incident this summer at a big event where the asst. coach reached out after the first day to my son and wanted to talk to him after the event the next day once he competed. He'd already passed the initial pre-read, already in contact/calls w/ head coach. They set up a time and place at the event and he completely blew my kid off - no phone call, nothing...just didn't show. In fact, we watched him leave early before he even got a chance to see my kid compete. I get it - interest sways quickly, but be a professional - these are kids. Suffice to say, based upon those actions alone, I wouldn't want my kid in that program anyway, and he got to see the not so nice side of recruiting. Dance carefully....

    Like @Ohiodad51, we looked at the rosters over the years as well to see how many juniors/seniors there were, where the need would be, etc. I also wanted my son to see retention, who stayed, who left....that can tell a part of the story.

    Fate is an amazing thing. Our son's top choice wasn't even on the radar at first. Sometimes things happen for a reason (see above story!). He sent info. on a whim to the coach, and we went to visit with the intent that it would not even be a blip on his screen, and it ends up being his way up #1. Huh. If you asked me a year ago, this never would've been the way I'd have predicted this story would go. Be flexible and open, look at things through their lenses. Sometimes the diamond in the ruff is waiting to be found.

    One big thing I would take away from our current experience is if the school is close enough, don't just meet with a coach once if the school really grabs your kid's attention - one meeting doesn't necessarily give you the full picture. The OV will shine a bigger light for the student/athlete, but I like to see things in real time - no smoke and mirrors and wanted to expose my son to that. We were always sold on our son's top choice from the academic side. We've really done a lot of research - taken in games, watched how the coach acts with the kids on the team, and have seen the coach in action, etc...If it pans out for our son, it will be a win, win. We'll find out soon enough ;)

    You can learn an awful lot by watching and listening.....and do your due diligence. All in all, it's been a fantastic experience, and we've learned an awful lot about our son! :)
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,496 Senior Member
    Biggest Challenge for my D3 D? Cost. Cost to play AAU/club and travel to the tournaments. My D was looking at D3 LAC's. We spent a lot of money and time visiting colleges prior to letting the coaches know she had interest to see if they were an academic fit. Then taveling to the elite/ID camps the schools put on. Last, traveling to OV. We started the college search looking at academic fit, then looked at acedemic fit. Definitely look at academic fit first, imo.
  • ChembiodadChembiodad Registered User Posts: 2,435 Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    @mamom, agree about academic fit being 1st as they call them student-athletes not athlete-students.....I would put social fit 2nd as this is a pivotal point in their lives, understanding that their team will play a big part of their social life.
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,496 Senior Member
    Meant to say look at academic fit then athletic fit. :)
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,496 Senior Member
    OV visits were key for D. She knows her teammates will be her BFF's at college. Not necessarily her only friends, but people she will be spending a lot of time with. She ruled out a couple of schools because of the OV.
  • StPaulDadStPaulDad Registered User Posts: 251 Junior Member
    One thing we found odd was how differently it works from sport to sport. How you get seen, who will even get a glance, how much money is available, if rosters support walk-ons, etc is completely different for each team. I found a great website for my DD's sport that made a huge difference, but make sure you find advice particular to your child's sport. If you read up on softball (recruiting in 8th grade) vs track (waiting until 11th grade) or headcount sports (finite number of larger scholarships) vs equivalency (many tiny shards of scholarships) or any number of other topics you'll find quite a variety of answers you the same questions. This board has threads on rowing and fencing and running and swimming and soccer and quiddich and god knows what else, but if you need to know more about hoops or hockey or something just ask and someone will know those specifics.

    Another thing we found to be a dirty little secret was how many athletic scholarship kids were transferring after a year, and how many were dropping down a level. Among DD's friends there were issues with homesickness, playing time and just plain losing. One D2 school my DD was considering would have had her competing for time with a fresh transfer from Iowa State. These kids mostly ended up doing really well down at D2 or D3, so that's terrific, but there may have been a few cases of being too flattered by an offer to take a realistic look at how things were going to actually play out. Being at the top of your club in a high level of your sport is not the same when you're suddenly competing against a four year age group instead of just your birth year, and these athletes are the ones that have made the jump from HS and Club so the indifferent ones are gone. So I guess be realistic about your child and the level of play and commitment at each school you're considering.

    College academics can be really hard, and top level sports are really hard, and moving away from home can be hard, and all of this is quite expensive, so to me it's almost more surprising how many kids handle it all well than how many transfer.
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