A friend was sharing some of her horror stories from her days of working at an urban high school. She said that some of her saddest days were spent trying to explain to student-athletes why they were ineligible for NCAA Division I schools or explain their financial aid award letters from Division II or III schools. And there were the parents who would become angry with their kids for not taking the ACT or SAT or for having low GPAs.
I don’t believe in filling kids with pipe dreams. We as parents and educators should give them the best possible guidance and equip them well. That said, here are my top 10 tips for parents of student-athletes.
- Nurture the student and then the athlete. The last thing you want to contribute to the world is one more under-educated jock.
- Tell your student-athlete that their grades from the first day of high school (9th grade) will be considered for their eligibility to play college sports.
- Make sure they understand that their academic success will give them more choices in life than solely being good at a sport. Academic success increases life options.
- Familiarize yourself with the academic side of the NCAA and the NAIA.
- Meet often with teachers and guidance counselors concerning your student-athlete’s academic performance.
- Work with coaches to make sure your student-athlete is aware of their obligations academically and in their sport.
- Make your child participate in their own success on and off of the court or field. Hold them accountable for their ability and eligibility to play.
- Partner with your child to assist them academically and in their sport. If they need tutoring or extra help, then get it for them.
- Pay close attention to see if playing a sport is just a hobby for your child or something they have a genuine passion for. If it is just a hobby, then you probably want to keep them disciplined academically.
- Give them some balance. Let them be kids and let them explore some of their interests too.