A Parent's Guide to Interacting with College Coaches (2024)

A Parent's Guide to Interacting with College Coaches (1)

It’s important to keep in mind that all communication during the recruiting process is dictated by theNCAA recruiting rules and calendar.Once communication can begin, parents need to let their athlete do the talking. When the parent is the one calling the coach, sending emails, and answering their questions on visits, it doesn’t give the coach a chance to bond with the student-athlete.

JoyceWellhoefer, a former Division 1, Division 2, and NAIA college coach for more than 20 years, recalls a recruit she removed from her prospect list, even though she was a top athlete. “We invited her on a visit, but the whole time she was there, I never got a chance to connect—or really even talk to her—because her mom kept answering questions for her,” she says.

With that said, there are a few time when it’s acceptable for parents to enter the conversation with college coaches. In this section, we will share when parents should talk to college coaches and what those conversations should look like.

Coach communication tips for parents

Parents often wonder how they can help their student-athlete stay on track in the athletic recruiting process. While college athletic recruiting is a team effort,it’s essential for sports parents to avoid taking the lead when interacting with college coaches.

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

  • Do understand that college coaches evaluate parents, too.Just like college coaches evaluate student-athletes’ athleticism, character and body language, they also pay attention to how parents are acting. Parents shouldstay positive, remain calm and collectedandavoid heckling on the sidelinesorcomplaining about playing time or a referee’s call.
  • Do operate as a team.Student athletes still need their parents’support and guidanceto successfully navigate the recruiting process. But at the end of the day, a coach is recruiting the athlete, not the parent.Parents should knowwhen to communicate with coaches and what to say.
  • Do ask questions.Just as student athletes are encouraged to ask a coach questions, coaches expect parents of athletes to have questions of their own.Check out our top 12 questions parents of athletes should ask college coaches.
  • Don’t procrastinate.Parents of athletes often think they can wait until their athlete is a junior or senior in high school to start thinking about college, butthe longer families wait to start the recruiting process, the more overwhelming it becomes. Starting early allows recruits more time to narrow down schools, connect with coaches andmanage all the different aspects of their recruiting.
  • Don’t sign up for the wrong sports camp or combine.Receiving a camp invite from a college program doesn’t mean that your athlete is being recruited. A good rule of thumb is toresearch camps with your athleteandmake sure coaches from their target schools will be in attendance. Once your family signs up for a camp,make sure your athlete reaches out to a coachto introduce themself, confirm their attendance and see if the coach will have time to watch and evaluate them during the camp.
  • Don’t limit your options.Encourage your athlete to cast a wide net during their college search andexplore competitive opportunities across all division levels,from NCAA D1, D2 and D3 to NAIA and junior college programs.

Insider Tip:NCSA helps athletes find the best academic, athletic, financial and social fit, and in turn,athletes who use NCSA are 18% more likely to stay on their team roster when compared to athletes who do not use NCSA.

Should parents talk to college coaches?

Yes, parents should absolutely talk to college coaches. The real question is, when is an appropriate time for you to introduce yourself? After competitions or during unofficial and official visits are great opportunities for parents to speak with coaches.

After the game/competition.
This allows the coach to focus on the entire competition and finishjotting down recruiting notes. Keep the conversation friendly and casual. Consider asking questions like, how much athletic and academic support could your child expect to receive? What’s the offseason training schedule like? What are the most common majors on the team? If the coach is interested in your student, they’ll most likely inquire about your recruiting process. And when your child joins the conversation, remember to let them control the conversation. Don’t take over and answer questions for them and remind your athlete to smile and make solid eye contact.

Unofficial and official visits.
These area great timefor parents to step intothe conversation. Whenit’stime to ask questions, allow your athlete to take the lead, but also know that college coaches understand that parents might have logistical questions around admissions and financial aid that a student-athlete might not think to ask. This is your time to ask those questions and coaches are more than happy to answer them.

What do college coaches look for in parents?

For coaches, extending an offer is a family decision, so the more they know about the parents, the more they know about the student-athlete. “Coaches want to evaluate both the student-athlete and their parents,” says JC Field, a former Division 1 baseball coach. “We want to know their strengths because a lot of the time we can assume their student-athlete has similar strengths.”

What is the parent’s role at a recruiting event?

College coaches understand that parents play a pivotal role in the recruiting process and often attend camps, combines, showcases and other types of recruiting events to support their student-athlete. Parents are often surprised to hear that college coaches don’t just evaluate student-athletes at recruiting events—they evaluate parents, too. To avoid jeopardizing your child’s recruiting, it’s best to maintain a mild, supportive demeanor on the sidelines and always act under the assumption that college coaches are watching.

What to ask during official visits

Official visitsprovideyour child an opportunity to tour a college’s campus, meet the team and get to know the coach. It’s also your opportunity as a parent to ask important questions that will aid the decision-making process. Below is a list of questions we suggest all parents ask during an official visit.

What does the life of a student-athletelook like?
As a parent, you’ll want to know what your child will be doing on a regular basis. What is the typical practice schedule? Does the program practice year-round? How much traveling will your athlete do? How will your athlete’s academic schedule be impacted by athletics?

What type of academic support do athletes receive?
Athletes don’t just have to be academically eligible to get admitted to the college, they must remain eligible to compete each year. Ask the coach if they offer additional services for student-athletes, such as study hours and access to academic tutors.

What are the housing accommodations?
Both you and your student-athlete will want to have an idea of what living on campus is like. What are the dorms like? Do athletes tend to live together? If it’s not already part of your schedule, ask the coach if you can get a tour of the first-year housing.

Do athletes have the same meal plan as regular students?
In 2014, the NCAA made it mandatory for D1 programs to provide student-athletes with unlimited meals and snacks, but those same rules don’t always apply to D2, D3 or NAIA programs. Make sure to ask whether student-athletes are on the same meal plan as their non-athlete peers, as well as what types of dining options are available. Some schools have even started to offer specialty athletic nutrition facilities – complete with chefs and dieticians – to help their athletes reach peak performance.

What is the college doing to create a safe campus?
Ensuring that their child is safe is a top priority for parents, especially when most will be away from home for the first time. It’s understandable to ask questions about campus safety and security – does the school have security or police officers stationed on campus? How does the school communicate with students during emergencies? Are there transportation services offered for late nights or off-campus activities?

What happens if the athlete gets injured?
It’s every parent’s worst case scenario – their child gets injured, and they’re out for the season. Though the NCAA requires college athletes to have healthcare insurance, schools are not obligated to pay for an athlete’s medical expenses, and it’s not uncommon for parents to have to cover part or all the out-of-pocket costs. If the coach has brought up the possibility of an athletic scholarship, it’s ok to discuss whether that scholarship will still apply if they’re out for part or the entire season.

Read more:How to Overcome a Sports Injury During the Recruiting Process

What is the application process?
Even with a verbal or written offer from a coach, student-athletes are still not guaranteed admission. Ask the coach about basic admissions questions, such as the minimum GPAs and test scores required, application deadlines and whether they’ll be able (or allowed) to provide feedback or review the athlete’s application before they officially submit it.

What about scholarships and financial aid packages?
Once your athlete has received an offer, it’s time to inquire about athletic aid, if it’s being offered. What’s tuition and room-and-board costs? What need-based aid, and academic or merit-based scholarships are available? What expenses will my athlete be asked to cover (i.e. equipment)?

What are the next steps?
No matter where an athlete is in the recruiting process, it’s important for parents to know what to expect and what to do next. Will there be any follow-up visits or appointments? What paperwork or admissions-related materials do families have to prepare or fill out? Are there any important or upcoming deadlines to be aware of?

Read more:Do parents go on official visits?

A Parent's Guide to Interacting with College Coaches (2024)


Are parents allowed to talk to college coaches? ›

Yes, parents should absolutely talk to college coaches. The real question is, when is an appropriate time for you to introduce yourself? After competitions or during unofficial and official visits are great opportunities for parents to speak with coaches.

Is it OK for a parent to email a college coach? ›

It's perfectly fine for parents to help you work through questions and answers for a conversation with a coach. If they want to be more involved, your parents can also check over your emails and suggest things to talk about. If they have specific questions of their own, make sure you're the one that asks them.

Should a parent talk to a coach? ›

Most coaches will make a few minutes to meet with concerned parents, but these meetings should only be requested after parents have done their own observing of the situation to see if there are obvious reasons why their child is not playing much.

Is it good if a college coach texts you? ›

If you're receiving text messages from college coaches, it probably means you are on well-established on their recruiting list! Texting college coaches is more casual than talking on the phone or sending an email. But believe it or not, texting etiquette is a thing.

At what age can a college coach contact you? ›

One of the most common questions families ask is when college coaches can start contacting their athletes. For most sports, coaches can begin reaching out to athletes starting June 15 after sophomore year or September 1 of their junior year of high school.

What age can you start talking to college coaches? ›

While college coaches can't contact recruits until June 15 after their sophomore year, student-athletes can initiate contact with coaches at any time.

Is it better to text or email a college coach? ›

Always, always, always email a coach and their staff first before another form of communication. DON'T text a college coach, if you have been emailing back and forth and you are moving through the recruiting process, BUT you have never been given permission or asked if you can text them.

Do parents go on unofficial visits? ›

Parents often play a significant role during the decision process once student-athletes receive a scholarship offer. Attending an unofficial visit with your student-athlete allows you to see the campus and get a feel for the culture yourself.

What do you say when contacting a college coach? ›

Here's a quick rundown on how to write an email to a college coach:
  1. Craft a good subject line.
  2. Introduce yourself with the basic information college coaches want to know right away.
  3. Include eye-catching athletic and academic stats.
  4. Give an action item to the coach.
  5. State when you'll follow up.

What not to say when coaching? ›

Below are 5 things a coach should never say:
  • Don't Fumble! I have never coached a player who wanted to fumble. ...
  • Good job! This generation of kids is the most praised generation in history. ...
  • You are really fast! We focus our praise on their effort and attitude, not their talent. ...
  • He's a loser! ...
  • He can't do it!
Oct 10, 2019

What is coaching abuse? ›

Usually, this involves a coach telling an athlete or making him or her feel that he or she is worthless, despised, inadequate, or valued only as a result of his or her athletic performance.

How do you impress a college coach? ›

Confidently discussing your positive academic habits is another way to impress college coaches with your work ethic capabilities. Securing written letters of recommendation from your high school coaches, club coaches, teachers and notable community leaders will also impress college coaches.

How many times should you email a college coach? ›

Once you hit your junior year, it's important to start emailing and calling more often—about once a month. As a senior, you should be in communication with coaches every two or three weeks.

Are you supposed to call a college coach or do they call you? ›

Generally, it's a good idea to reach out to a college coach by email first and express interest in their team. This email is a great way to break the ice and let a coach know you'll be following up with a phone call. For some student-athletes, it might be too early to call college coaches.

What age can you get a D1 offer? ›

For most Division I and Division II sports, coaches can start proactively reaching out to recruits June 15 after sophomore year or September 1 of junior year. However, many coaches—think: Division I and some top-tier DII schools—will make scholarship offers to athletes as young as 7th and 8th grade.

Is it too late to get recruited senior year? ›

The answer is no, it is not too late to get recruited senior year. It may seem that all players get recruited before their last year of high school, but this is not the case and there is certainly opportunity for you to still be recruited as an upperclassmen.

How do you tell a college coach you are interested? ›

How to let coaches know you're interested in their program
  1. Address the coach. Always include a coach's name in the greeting.
  2. Introduce yourself. Who are you? ...
  3. Express why you're interested in the program. ...
  4. Key athletic and academic info.

What is a dead period in recruiting? ›

During a dead period, all in-person contact between college coaches and recruits is strictly prohibited, meaning coaches are not able to talk to recruits on-campus, at their high school, at sports camps or even when running into them while out.

What does dead period mean? ›

A dead period is a period of time in which a college or university coach may not, at any time, have any in-person contact (on or off campus) with you or your parents. The coach may, however, write or telephone you or your parents during this time.

Does an official visit mean an offer? ›

“When can you commit?” While getting invited on an official visit doesn't necessarily mean you'll get an offer, it certainly does happen. If this is your number one school and you have a good feeling about it, this might be the right time to lock down a commitment.

How do you introduce yourself to a college coach? ›

Your salutation should be to the specific coach by name (Dear Coach Smith). Introduce yourself as a potential candidate for his or her program. Provide academic information: ACT or SAT score, GPA, class rank, honors, etc. Provide athletic information: position, height, weight, honors, and relevant statistics.

How do you get college coaches to notice you? ›

One of the best ways to get noticed by college coaches is to reach out to them. Send an email introducing yourself and asking about the recruitment process. Your overall goal is to show how much of a quality athlete you are and what you can bring to a team.

Do college coaches respond to all emails? ›

Email has become the most popular and preferred way for student-athletes to introduce themselves to coaches. So naturally, coaches get hundreds of emails a week, and most of them go unanswered. If they do reply, it's completely normal for it to take one—even two weeks—to hear back.

How do you tell if a coach is interested in you as a recruit? ›

Here are 8 common ways coaches show interest in you:
  1. Recruiting questionnaires. ...
  2. Personalized camp invites. ...
  3. Emails from college coaches, recruiting coordinators or coaching staff. ...
  4. Social DMs. ...
  5. Phone calls or texts. ...
  6. In-person contact. ...
  7. Unofficial or official visit invites. ...
  8. Verbal offer.

What should parents wear to a college visit? ›

For parents, you are not required to dress professionally – meaning you are not obligated to wear a suit and tie or a business suit or business dress. You do not want to stand out in the middle of the crowd and have all the attention around you.

Do d3 schools pay for official visits? ›

Any "official" visit runs through Admissions. They will help cover some travel costs for accepted students visiting from out of state. other than that circumstance - we do not use "official" visits and do not cover any costs through athletics.

How do you verbally commit to a college coach? ›

If you are ready to make a verbal commit right away, thank the coach for their offer and let them know you are excited to commit to the school. If you need some time to think about it, thank them for their offer and make sure you get back to them by an agreed upon deadline.

What does it mean if a college coach invites you to a game? ›

Getting invited on an official visit indicates very strong interest from a college coach. Coaches don't dole out official visit invitations to just anyone — they have a limited number to offer and the program foots the bill for your visit.

How do you ask a college coach to come watch you play? ›

Invite the College Coach to Come See You in Action

So, give a strong call to action. Let the coach know your upcoming game schedule and where they can watch you play first-hand. This could be at one of your games and/or an ID camp. You may also include a link to a video of yourself in action during a game.

What do coaches struggle with the most? ›

The typical coach/consultant…
  • Lacks time.
  • Lacks income.
  • Struggles to sell.
  • Cannot articulate their value.
  • Sells time for money.
  • Isn't aware of how amazing they really are.
  • Balances doing, selling, marketing, networking etc is a struggle.
  • Wants to help more people than they currently do.
Jul 27, 2022

What are the five rules of coaching? ›

Five Coaching Rules to Live By
  • Honor the person in front of you--and remember that it's all about the kids. ...
  • Compassion is a mighty weapon. ...
  • Listen, listen, listen. ...
  • Scaffold, Chunk and Use a GRR. ...
  • Take Care of Yourself.
Oct 7, 2018

What is inappropriate circumstances for coaching? ›

Inappropriate situations for coaching might include:  Coach or staff member is unwell or affected by personal problems  Coaching day/time is poorly chosen (may clash with peak service time)  Coaching location isn''t suitable/available  Unexpected increase in customer activity  Not enough staff to cover workload ...

How do you talk to a college coach about concerns? ›

State your concerns, listen and keep an open mind. State your concern in a straightforward and nonjudgmental manner, sticking to the facts. For example, blurting out, "Jasmine doesn't have much playing time, and she thinks you don't like her," will only put the coach on the defensive.

What does a good coaching conversation look like? ›

The three keys to any coaching conversation are to approach it from a place of positivity, collaboration and support. This means entering into a conversation with a judgment-free mindset and learning to keep your focus on the big picture impact rather than individual reactions within the conversation.

How do coaches deal with difficult parents? ›

Listen and keep calm

When a difficult parent starts yelling at you or trying to confront you in the middle of a game or even at practice, remain calm. It's easy to start defending yourself, but remember that you are here for the athletes. Try not to have these conversations in front of others.

What is Gaslighting in coaching? ›

Gaslighting is defined as another person's attempt to make you question yourself, the validity of your experiences and even your own sanity. It involves manipulation, which aims to make you question the validity of your thoughts, beliefs and memories and your overall perception of reality.

What is a toxic coach? ›

Repetitive verbal abuse, exploitation, name-calling, physical bullying, and other mean behaviors that repeatedly demean players are not only discourteous and wrong but also will eventually take a heavy toll on them. Many kids quit playing the sport they once loved simply because the coach was a jerk or a bully.

What are negative coaching Behaviours? ›

Similarly, Gearity and Murray (2011) identified four themes of negative coaching behaviors: having poor teaching skills, showing uncaring behavior, being unfair, and inhibiting mental skills (team cohesion, self-doubt, distraction, and demotivation).

Can a parent talk to a college coach? ›

Yes, parents should absolutely talk to college coaches. The real question is, when is an appropriate time for you to introduce yourself? After competitions or during unofficial and official visits are great opportunities for parents to speak with coaches.

Can a college coach text you? ›

There has been a lot of ambiguity around texting college coaches in recruiting, with many athletes asking: Can college coaches text recruits? The answer: Yes, they can!

What to say to a college coach if you are not interested? ›

I am honored that you think I could compete for your team. I have completed the difficult task of narrowing down my list of schools. Because I have such great respect for you and your program, I feel I must inform you now that I am looking elsewhere to go to school and compete. Thanks for your sincere interest.

Why are coaches opening my emails but not responding? ›

Coaches aren't allowed to respond yet

You're sending perfectly worded emails to coaches, but you still aren't hearing back. Why? It might just be too early for the coach to contact you. Per NCAA rules, most D1 and D2 coaches aren't allowed to directly communicate with recruits until September 1 of their junior year.

When should you start reaching out to college coaches? ›

While college coaches can't contact recruits until June 15 after their sophomore year, student-athletes can initiate contact with coaches at any time.

Do college coaches talk to each other about recruits? ›

Long story short, there are strong relationships among coaches, and they will speak with each other about anything from the weather to a potential recruit that may be a great fit at a different school.

Can parents talk to college professors? ›

In college, it becomes the student's right to decide who sees their educational records. And parents are generally discouraged from communicating with professors on behalf of their children, outside of a few special circumstances.

Do parents go on recruiting visits? ›

As the parent of a high school athlete being recruited, you are probably wondering if you can go on an official visit with your child. Parents are absolutely allowed to accompany a high school athlete on an official visit. An official visit is defined by the NCAA as a visit sponsored by the college or university.

Can you talk to other college coaches? ›

You must have a permission–to–contact letter in order for you or your son to contact other coach or member of another college's athletic staff.

What not to say to college professor? ›

Telling your professor that you are taking their class because you heard it was easy or because it's required is the same as saying to them that you don't care about their course and don't plan on putting in any effort. It's inconsiderate, and your comment could come back to bite you.

Can a college call your parents? ›

Colleges do not keep parents informed of their child's academic progress due to the fact this would be a violation of the privacy act. As a parent, you can have your child sign permission to allow you to have contact with financial aid, the bursars office etc.

Do colleges notify parents? ›

Federal law (FERPA) generally prohibits a school's disclosure of grades without the student's consent. However, schools may, but are not required to, disclose academic information to the parents of students who can be claimed as dependents under federal tax laws.

How do I know if I am being recruited? ›

How Do I Know If I Am Being Recruited?
  • Receiving information from a college admissions office. ...
  • If you get invited to a camp. ...
  • If a college coach watches you at a tournament or college showcase. ...
  • If a college coach looks at your profile on a recruiting website.

How do I get my child noticed by college recruiters? ›

10 Steps to Help Your Child get Recruited by a Coach
  1. Be Good at the Sport. ...
  2. Become Familiar with the NCAA Rules and Regulations. ...
  3. Find Role Models. ...
  4. Get a Head Start. ...
  5. Get the Best Grades You Can. ...
  6. Create a Resume to Send to Coaches. ...
  7. Write a Cover Letter. ...
  8. Make a Video.

How do you know if a college coach is interested? ›

How to know if a college coach is interested in you
  1. Recruiting questionnaires. ...
  2. Personalized camp invites. ...
  3. Emails from college coaches, recruiting coordinators or coaching staff. ...
  4. Social DMs. ...
  5. Phone calls or texts. ...
  6. In-person contact. ...
  7. Unofficial or official visit invites. ...
  8. Verbal offer.

How do I ask my coach for an unofficial visit? ›

To set up your visit, call the coach and let them know you're interested in seeing the campus. Ask them what dates they would be available to meet you and your family. Some recruits lean heavily on their high school or club coach to help them set up unofficial visits with college coaches.

Can a coach block a transfer? ›

Coaches cannot fully prevent athletes like Lunt from transferring to any university they want. But if a coach does not grant an athlete a release, the player must forfeit any scholarship opportunity, pay his own way to the new university and sit out the next season.


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