Parents – 5 Ways Your Behavior Matters to College Coaches

What if I told you that college coaches spend as much time scouting the parent’s behavior as they do the ballplayer? Would your behavior help or hurt your daughter’s chances? Discover 5 ways your behavior as a parent really matters to college coaches.

We asked 150 college coaches during our recent Pitching Summit about the influence of the parent’s behavior on their recruiting – and guess what they said…

Parents seem like they’ll do anything to get their daughter on a travelball team and make sure she plays in front of as many college coaches as possible. Anything to try and get a scholarship. For both parents and players there’s a ton of peer pressure to always play good, never make a mistake and impress the scouts. One bad day and everyone feels their plans could go up in smoke.

Pressure to get a scholarship is piled on top of an already prevalent culture of overbearing parents who want to do everything for their kids. It starts from a desire to “help” their kids, but ends up hurting them by limiting their kids’ ability to think, talk and act for themselves. Skills they’ll ironically need if they eventually do play college softball.

This over-controlling behavior also shows up on the softball field when players let their parents carry their equipment for them, answer questions for them, and basically do everything for them expect for pitch, hit and throw. And while I’m not trying to judge any parent on how they raise their child, I would like to change your perspective on how a parent’s behavior DOES impact your goal of trying to help your daughter get a college scholarship.


At our recent Pitching Summit, we asked the 150 college coaches in attendance one simple question:

“Has a recruit’s parent’s behavior ever kept you from recruiting that player?”

What do you think their answer was? A resounding 96% said YES! That means in just our sample audience, 144 college coaches actually stopped recruiting a player simply because of the way their parents behaved.

No parent wants their behavior to hurt their child, so it’s great to know that how you’re behaving in the stands, in the parking lot, on the phone and at the snack bar actually can impact your daughter’s chances of playing college softball – both in a positive and a negative way.

Let’s look at 5 Ways that a Parent’s Behavior Does Matter to College Coaches:

  1. They WILL stop recruiting your daughter based on your behavior – Making excuses for your daughter’s mistakes, being overly aggressive or acting like a crazy-person in the stands are all warning flags to college coaches. Coaches know they’re recruiting the parents as well as the athlete so do your very best to be neutral. Love your daughter, support her efforts but avoid becoming the show.
  2. They’ll notice if your daughter carries her own equipment – While this might seem too ridiculous to even make this list, it tells coaches a lot about a player’s personal responsibility. Nobody is going to carry her equipment for her when she gets to college, or make sure she has her glove, cleats and water bottle – those are all things she’s responsible for bringing herself. So when a coach notices a player get out of her car and just start walking toward the field, assuming her parent/s will start carrying all of her “stuff” it’s a warning flag. And coaches want to avoid recruiting players with warning flags.
  3. They’ll notice if she says please and thank you – How your daughter talks to people on her team, at the ballpark and in her life is a big indication for a college coach how she’ll talk to them once she’s at their particular school. Coaches want good, thoughtful and kind people as part of their team. Selfish, rude players are not what any coach wants to stake their team’s season or their own personal career on, so encourage your daughter to be polite by saying please and thank. All the time, to everyone.
  4. They’ll notice if your daughter can talk for herself or do you always talk for her – You might think you can answer a question better, or faster or more accurately than your daughter can but if the question was asked to her then let her answer it. Too many parents answer too many questions for their kids so their kids quit thinking. They even quit paying attention. College coaches want to see how well your daughter thinks for herself, can she express her own thoughts, is she an independent thinker. Remember, that college is part of the whole college scholarship thing, and to go to college you need to know how to think, act, talk and behave on your own. So allow your daughter to talk for herself. Sure, she might answer some questions wrong, she might take a little longer to respond than you would, or she might not be sure of her answer – but the mere fact that you’re standing back and letting her do it herself will go a long way with college coaches!
  5. They’ll notice if you’ve raised her to be a great, supportive teammate – And finally, while the pursuit of a college scholarship might seem like an individual sport, your daughter is actually trying to become part of a college TEAM. Teams involve a group of individuals acting in a cooperative and supportive manner to achieve a common goal. How well your daughter supports her teammates is a HUGE thing coaches look for. Does she get mad when teammates make mistakes, or does she immediately go over and offer support? Does she keep her head up and continue cheering when she’s not in the game, or does she search for you in the stands to complain? Does your daughter work on her “teammate skills” as much as she works on her own individual playing skills? These are all things that college coaches are constantly watching for.

College coaches sit in the stands during games and listen to everything parents are saying. Are you a parent who’s constantly complaining about your daughter’s playing time, how bad the umpires are or how much you disagree with the coaches? If so, then college coaches aren’t likely to recruit this type of behavior. College coaches watch for warning signs of selfish behavior and they also look for glowing examples of great teammate skills. Which one will your daughter show on the field, and as importantly, which ones will coaches observe from you in the stands?

There’s nothing easy about being a parent, and you want your child to succeed more than anyone does. So be aware of how your behavior is being watched by coaches, and do your very best to be a loving, supportive parent to your child, as well as to the other kids on your daughter’s team.


Jackson Murphy

Graphics and Web Designer

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