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Can you take away the bias on your kids’ athletic ability during the recruiting process?

Posted by | April 4, 2009 .

Parents, athletic scholarships, football recruitingI do know that parents think that their kids are the best at whatever they do. It may be in school or sports but they always feel that the son or daughter they raised is the best in whatever they do. My parents felt that way even as I struggled to get playing time on a very talented basketball team.

But when it comes to college, can parents possibly take away the bias and be able to evaluate what level their child can play at in college? My guess is that the answer to that question the majority of times is a big no. This is not a shot at parents who feel that their kid is a sure fire scholarship athlete but an honest feeling that makes it tough to take the bias out of analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your child.

Whenever I talk about starting the recruiting process, I always make sure to mention that you should talk to the high school coach and any talent evaluator that does not have any bias in the situation. For the prep coach, his answer will really depend on a lot of things. Is he a straight forward coach who is not going to feed you lines, even if the truth hurts? Few coaches are like that but that may be what you need in the long run.

The problem with parents as well as coaches taking the bias out of evaluating a kid is that few know what it takes to play at the Division I level. I have been in college sports nearly a decade and I can say honestly that I am not always 100% sure what kids will and will not get a scholarship. While some recruiting experts claim they can tell within thirty seconds of watching a kid, they are talking about the top 100 players in the country. But for other athletes who are fighting for Division I-AA and II scholarship offers, it is much tougher to tell.

A recent example of this happened when I posted player rankings for a certain sport and a certain class. I was basically told by three different parents that their son was rated too low but one in particular felt that his son should have been ten spots higher. I also know a lot of coaches who see the rankings and emailed back and fourth with him. This is a Division II college coach and he has seen these players a lot during the summer and the season. Anyways, the coach emails me and says that this kid is overrated.

So on one side of the equation, I have a parent who feels that their kid is underrated and should get the respect he deserves (The kid really was rated pretty high on this list). Then a college coach, the one who may eventually be offering him a scholarship in the next year, says that he is overrated and should fall down the list. Considering that the college coach has zero bias in regards to the rankings, I have to side with him.

This parent has been very rational when talking to me about the recruiting process and the rankings. He just really feels that his son is better than some college coaches and recruiting experts think. However, a big part of his bias has to do with how his son played during events in the summer. Considering that some may not take this summer sport all that serious, and it can be considering a glorified pickup game, that is tough to use as a real indicator.

Some parents may also use a comparison against an elite player. For example, they may feel that their son or daughter had better stats than the Division I recruit that night so they obviously are better overall. The problem with that thinking is the major recruit may have traveled the country on the AAU circuit or ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at football camps. Really, a head to head comparison is not something that should factor in.

I heard from a extremely bias AAU coach a few years back who was telling me how well this player was doing. He was a very good player who ended up with multiple low major Division I scholarship offers. But because he outscored a recruit that had verballed to Michigan, the coach assumed that he would get some major offers just from that game.

As a parent, you need to take the whole body of work into account when trying to evaluate what level your child can play at in college. If he or she plays bad games against good competition, that is likely not a good sign because the next level will be all against good competition. As mentioned, try to speak with as many straight shooters who will tell you the truth. It is important to get a real evaluation that doesn’t over hype them. I know of a recruiting service that seems like every kid rated is a low major Division I to high Division II player. In the end, most of these players end up at the Division III level.

This is a tough period because you are forced to view the weaknesses of the child you spent the last 17 years raising. Some parents are very realistic while others are not. It just happens that way. Again, I don’t have any kids at this point of my life so I can only imagine how tough it would be to take that bias away. It definitely would not be easy but is essential to targeting the right schools in the recruiting process.

Recruiting-101 has written a 51-page E-Book that helps parents throughout the journey of the recruiting process. This includes an example recruiting profile, a step-by-step time line, and much more. It is currently available for sale for only $10.00.  Find out more about purchasing the e-book and what else is included by clicking here now!

Recruiting-101 has put together a 25-page e-book on how to Produce a Scholarship Worthy Highlight Video.  It breaks down the overall process of creating a Highlight Video and gives step by step instructions for football and basketball recruits.  Click here to learn more about the e-book now, which is currently on sale for only $7.50!

For position by position help throughout the football recruiting process, Recruiting-101 has put together a 28-page guide to help athletes get a better feel for what college coaches are looking for at each spot.  Click here to learn more about the e-book now, which is currently on sale for only $5.00

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5 Comments so far
  1. Tania April 4, 2009

    There’s a flip side to this as well where parents and kids don’t think the kid is good enough to play at the college level. My son absolutely loves football, starts both sides and is a star in our small remote area, but he never even considered playing further. One person told him that there are lot of schools looking for different players than just who’s going to USC and encouraged him to put himself out there. We posted a highlight tape along with his GPA on some online sites (free) and now 7 of the 8 Ivies have contacted him or called his coach for game film. Sometimes a kid is better than he or his parents imagine.

  2. Steven April 4, 2009

    Tania
    What free sites did you post his DVD on ? I am trying to get some more exposure for my son and was looking for some outlets to post his DVD on. Thanks.

  3. admin April 4, 2009

    Some of the ones to look into include:

    Be Recruited – http://go.berecruited.com/12083 (This is an affiliate link by the way and I get paid for every sign up)

    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com

    Takkle : http://www.takkle.com

    There are a number of others that are easy to find on the Internet as well.

  4. Tania April 6, 2009

    Hi Steven,
    My son’s on berecruited, and youtube, and we sent out to some schools through http://interact.cstv.com/prospects/

    We like goBigRecruiting a lot too even though they charge to send out the profile and video. 16+ schools is $4.99 each. But a lot of schools that we didn’t even send to are seeing a blurb of him on there and requesting more info.

    Also, we filled out the online profile at scout.com and mailed in the dvd and they posted him on their list.

    This worked enough for us, now too many great schools, many that we never even heard of, are contacting him. So we’ve narrowed down by 1. top academic school 2. he can contribute quickly in football and 3. no-loans, grants only financial aid policy

    As the 101 writer says you and your son have to be able to target schools accurately by being realistic about what his talents are. My son knows he’s an AP student with a high gpa so he hoped his football is good enough to interest Ivy type schools and luckily thats exactly who’s been contacting him, as the article today said, we’re waiting to see which ones call him in May. We’re excited and take it as a good sign that 2 Ivy school coaches have called our head football coach to learn more about him and asked for full game film.

  5. Varsity Mentoring April 8, 2009

    There are so many places on the web that you can use to get exposure, and sites like YouTube and beRecruited are great,but when I have a student that wants to send a video or their profile to a coach we recommend using a more private URL or better a Highlight DVD.

    WHY? When you send your Video or Profile using these social websites the coach,scout now has access to other players thus creating the chance for them to look at other players instead of you.

    So use these sites to get EXPOSURE and use a more private URL or DVD when you communicate and exchange info.

    This is the best site on the web for Scholarship Information, thanks for all that you do for the Student Athlete