5 Tips to Help Your Child Get the Sports Scholarship They Deserve

May 21, 2018


A sports scholarship is a dream come true for a lot of parents.  Many families have supported their children in their sports ventures since they ran to first base on their Little League baseball team or scored the game winning touchdown at their Jr. high football game. Now that your child is headed to college, you’re probably anxious to see a reward for all the time, energy, and money spent on preparing your young athlete for this exciting time in their life. The college scholarship and recruiting process can be an exciting yet overwhelming time for young athletes as well as parents. Here are some tips to help you successfully navigate the process and help your child get the sports scholarship they deserve.

  1. Discovering the Right Opportunities are Key - Although your student athlete may have dreams of going to your alma mater or have their heart set on going to a popular school they have grown up idolizing, it is important to recognize and consider all opportunities. Having an open mind to any school is crucial to helping your child succeed. It is important to consider all options, regardless of the distance from home or status of school, so that your child has a better chance of successfully getting a scholarship. An athlete with average ability who is willing to travel to a smaller school or one that is farther away from home will have way more opportunities than the star athlete who wants to be closer to home. Be sure to take the time to properly investigate several schools to see what their program offers to see if it is a good match for your child.
  2. Be Realistic About Your Child’s Abilities – Every parent thinks their kid is a rock-star when it comes to their chosen sport – and they just might be. Being realistic about your child’s abilities however, is very important and can help them avoid unnecessary stress and rejection later. Having goals is great, but realistic goals that are achievable are what you need to focus on. Seek an honest evaluation of your child’s athletic abilities from a respectable high school coach, scouting organization, or other professional to determine how they actually rank when compared to other students in their sport so they can set realistic goals they can achieve.   
  3. Let Your Child Take the Lead – As the parent of an aspiring college athlete, it is important to learn to be there to guide them through the process without being too overbearing. They need the room to grow and learn from this experience to be successful - after all, they are the ones who earned the opportunity to be here! When a parent controls the process they actually jeopardize their child’s opportunities. Coaches and recruiters are looking for a team player and captain, not a team parent.  It might be painful to watch your child attempt to communicate with a coach or recruiter in the less than articulate way you would, but coaches are looking for confident, athletes who can speak for themselves and effectively communicate during the recruiting process versus listening to a parent tell them about their kid. Parents should start early with this lesson and let their child communicate directly with Little League and high school coaches so that they can become confident and make a good impression on their college coaches and recruiters.
  4. A Little Humility Goes a Long Way – Often, talented student athletes receive too much support, which can lead to bad attitude problems that can easily wreck any chance of a college sports career. Teaching them a little humility will go a long way in helping them be successful. Their natural athletic ability in their chosen sport alone will not get the job done. Colleges, coaches, and recruiters are looking for those who are willing to work harder to achieve their goals, have solid grades, show good character, and exhibit ethics and integrity. Michel Balasis, former Michigan State University kicker and current head of Loyola University’s Visual Communications Department said, “Student-athletes are a mixed bag, they're great athletes, then you have the pampered ones think they can skate by. They are easy to spot for their lack of work ethic. But those whose parents expect more of them are also easy to spot because of their rigorous work ethic and ability to go the extra mile.”
  5. The High School Coach Can Not Get Your Child a Scholarship – Some parents are under the misconception that their child’s high school coach will take control and make it their goal to get their student athlete a scholarship. These coaches, who are typically also teachers, have many other obligations and athletes to attend to and you simply cannot rely on them alone to be an advocate for your child. You should know that they do not have contacts and resources at all of the colleges to even begin to make this happen. While they will certainly help where they can in the recruitment process, it is your job as a parent to do the work for your child.

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