Parents Role During the Campus Visit
As a parent during a college visit your objective is to make a positive impression on the coach, have fun and continue the recruiting process. Campus visits (unofficial or official) are valuable opportunities for prospective student-athletes to make a positive impression with the head coach, assistant coach, golf team members, and athletic staff. Taking steps to prepare your junior golfer to approach these personal meetings in the most effective way can heighten the interest of a coach and potentially improve your position on a particular coach’s recruiting list.
The best visits are when the athletes take “center stage” and parents take a supportive role. Achieving this presentation style during a campus visit isn’t always easy, but the following suggestions can help you and your junior golfer “get it right” during your next campus visit.
Research the program – Before meeting with a college coach, encourage your junior golfer to research the school and golf program online. Coaches want to feel that your junior golfer has taken time to learn about their background, the golf program, and the school’s academic offerings. Most information can be found relatively easy by typing in the ‘School Name’, followed by ‘Golf Program’ using a google search. Team websites include a abundance of information including coach bio’s, team rosters, schedule, past results, pictures of the facilities, recruiting questionnaires, and sometimes even player interviews.
Dress for success – Having a professional appearance is crucial when making a first impression. Tell your junior golfer to wear nice golf apparel (or even business casual attire) and to be properly dressed.
Organize insightful questions – Talk to your junior golfer about questions he/she should ask the coach. Appropriate topics to inquire about include team training methods, the qualifying system, academic support, and the coach’s current recruiting status (for your junior golfer’s graduating class). Coaches expect that your junior golfer will ask questions, so prepare them beforehand.
Prepare for questions that the coach may ask – Coaches will want to know about your junior golfer’s academic/athletic goals, strengths and weaknesses, and practice strategies, to name a few. Help your junior golfer develop prepare for these questions and make sure they’re comfortable and confident answering them. This will show the coach that a detailed plan has been thought out.
Allow your junior golfer to take center stage – Be sure your he/she understands the importance of showing initiative, enthusiasm, and that they are independent during the visit. Confidently leading the introductions and conversation with the coach are a few key ways for your junior golfer to accomplish this goal.
Support don’t initiate – Throughout the campus visit, parents should never dominate the conversation, but should simply make comments or ask questions for clarification.
Give “one-on-one” time – If a meeting with a coach will last for more than an hour, parents should excuse themselves for a segment of the meeting to give their junior golfer some one-on-one time with the coach. Take your own tour of the campus and leave your junior golfer with the coach.
Tell your junior golfer he/she doesn’t have to be perfect – Coaches are not expecting perfection during campus meetings. Every prospect has strengths and weaknesses, and coaches are most interested in hearing about your junior golfer’s mission for improvement.
Assist with final remarks – Parents can certainly ask a coach any remaining questions that their junior golfer may not have mentioned. Also, be sure to have your son or daughter ask if the coach requires any additional information.
Show appreciation– Remind your junior golfer to show his appreciation for the coach’s time and interest in his/her abilities. Suggesting that your junior golfer send the coach a hand-written thank you note can be a nice touch as well.
In a very competitive recruiting marketplace, properly handled campus visits can definitely help strengthen your junior golfer’s position as a prospective student-athlete. Campus visits are an essential self-promotion strategy in the recruiting process, and utilizing these recommendations will enable you to more confidently prepare your junior golfer to pursue college scholarship opportunities with your best foot forward!
Best of luck on the recruiting trail!
Mike Smith is the Founder & CEO of ForeCollegeGolf and specializes in assisting junior golfers & their families through the college recruiting process. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org