We are starting a little series called recruiting 101. This is a culmination of many years of scouting and input from parents, club and college coaches, as well as my own experiences.
First topic – What do you want to major in?
Many athletes are thinking, “I just want to play basketball.” The problem is that basketball will end one day. Then what will you do? The one main thing about playing in college is to get an education so you can support yourself after college. I ran into a former All American during the NCAA certified tournament this summer. She was now coaching after an elaborate college and professional career. I asked her, “What did you major in?” She said, “Sociology.” I said, “what can you do with that major?” She said, “NOTHING. I just wanted to play basketball. No one had guided me or told me to really think about a major. I went to one of the best schools in the country. Jerry, if you get the chance, encourage players and parents to really think about that because it can be huge asset to them after basketball. I missed my opportunity to get a great education with my scholarship. Now, if I want to change it, I need to go back and pay for it.”
WELL HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The first thing is for both parents and student-athletes need to talk about it.
Do you know what your parents do for a living? What do they do between 8am-5pm everyday while putting food on the table, paying for lessons, club basketball, etc? ASK THEM TODAY!!!
And a great follow up question is, “DO THEY LIKE IT?” You are going to spend at least a third of your life working. You might as well pick something you enjoy. Many people pursue Money. I can tell you that yeah it’s nice to have and we do need it, but a lot of people are miserable in their jobs. There’s more to life than money. Statistics show that people will change careers 5-7 times in their lifetime. You are at a point in your life where you can choose.
By the way, while you are doing this, don’t just stop with your parents. Ask your friends’ parents, teachers, and coaches. (By the way, not all coaches are teachers. So ask what they do). Then ask them, “What do you think I would be good at?”
It’s your responsibility to help your son/daughter through these decisions. I spoke with a parent the other day that played at a very high level. We talked about his kids and where they were going. He said “Jerry, it’s their responsibility to figure it out. I am here to help, but they need to take initiative.”
That’s great advice. But what questions are you asking to help them figure it out. Are you having those conversations with them?
I would recommend:
– Look at your child. Put on your business/work glasses and ask yourself, “If they worked at my company, what department/group would they best fit in? Business, Research, Marketing, Sales, Project Management, Customer Support, Finance…?
– Plan to have weekly/bi-weekly dates with your kids to discuss this. Take them to Dairy Queen or Starbucks and have these discussions.
As a parent, one thing I have learned is that my kids will change their mind AND THATS OK. The goal is to really get them thinking about their futures.
This is a start. Feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or suggestions as we continue our talks on recruiting.