The Role of High School Coaches in the Summer

Many high school coaches have limited access to their student-athletes in the summer due to specific rules within high schools or states. Some coaches have formed club and travel programs in an effort to work with their student-athletes throughout the summer. Other coaches are more hands-off during the summer months. Whatever your situation, if you want to assist your student-athletes with the recruiting process, there are ways to be involved.

It is understandable, however, if you would like to take a break from students and student-athletes while on your summer break. You work hard every day and need to refresh as well as anyone. But you do have the choice to stay involved if that is your desire. There is no right or wrong choice. Do what’s right for you.

For those student-athletes and families who do not want your help, I consider that a mistake unless you have made it clear that you do not want to help with the recruiting process.

Although this is a choice made by some student-athletes and coaches, I think the best chance for your student-athletes to find the right fit in a college experience is when you, the parents, the travel coaches, and the college coaches work together as a collective group. I know that, sometimes, relationships make this a tough challenge, but for the sake of the athletes, I would hope all could get on the same page and help.

If families do not want your help, though, let them know you are there if they run into any issues that would require your opinion or assistance. Then at least they know you are willing to help.

I would caution you to not assume your athletes don’t need your guidance for the sole reason that they are playing travel sports. You could always ask to be sure.

Many high school student-athletes do want their high school coaches to be involved in the recruiting process, even if they don’t voice it and even if they are playing travel sports. Many have good relationships with their high school coaches and trust their opinions.

Man in sweatshirt and weight gloves looking down at mobile phone

If this is your situation, here are some ways to stay involved:

Stick With Them When School Ends

Just because they don’t see you every day at school or practice does not mean a message or call from you wouldn’t brighten their day during the summer. The opportunity to play college sports is one that brings angst, awkwardness, confusion, and pressure.

In one Find My Team poll, the majority of student-athletes listed their high school coach as their most trusted source for help with the recruiting process. That is a credit to the hard work and dedication that high school coaches invest in their student-athletes.

Voice Your Support

Communication is key. Let them know you will support and encourage them and that you’ll help them with tough decisions that come up during the recruiting process and throughout the summer.

Being a support mechanism for them and their parents will alleviate a lot of stress and bring about confidence as they deal with the recruiting process.

Gymnast in purple uniform flipping above balance beam

Follow Them When You Can

Many tournament and event organizers post scores and brackets which can be accessed online. Your student-athletes might share them with you.

If you work at a high school that allows you to watch your athletes play in the summer, you could show up to watch a competition or two.

If not, you could get the schedule ahead of time and then send messages of support when you know the events begin or end. Encouraging quotes sent to help them play well this summer might also be helpful. You know what works best for your athletes.

Share Important Information

If your athletes have leadership capabilities, think of ways to bring them into the decision-making process for next year. Give them ownership to help you prepare for next season.

Think of ways they can improve, and let them know you have some ideas.

If you know which colleges your student-athletes are interested in, you could follow those programs closely and share any good (or not so good) information you discovered.

Share information that could help them with the recruiting process, or their major area of study. Sometimes, you can find summer or fall events designed for high school students or athletes that you can share with them and their parents about the recruiting process or other areas of interest.

Woman sitting and working at a small desk on a laptop

Summer Check-Ins

Check in with the students to see how their summer is going. Are they running into any issues? How are they playing? Maybe they left the season with the goal of being more aggressive or confident. They probably set these goals with you, or because of you, and therefore are easy conversation starters during the summer, even if they occur via text messages.

Are your student-athletes set academically for next year? Do they need certain classes to fill core courses or other requirements? Do they have the ACT or SAT testing dates, if they plan on taking them? What other academic issues come to mind that you could help them with?

Be Present

Let your athletes know you are willing to make calls for them, take them on unofficial visits if they need help getting somewhere, help them figure out a recruiting rule, or help them formulate an email to a college coach.

Let their parents know as well. Some parents can’t afford to take off work, or they have multiple children and therefore can’t take time away from their families. Some parents don’t understand the recruiting process enough to help. Let them know you will be an advocate.

The bottom line is: try to be present. Your student-athletes will appreciate it, even if it takes them 20 or 30 years to tell you. Your work makes a difference. Sometimes students don’t realize it until much later, but, eventually, they will.

If you are in a situation where you want to help your student-athletes but are unsure of how to do so, reach out to Find My Team. We’re here to help. Schedule a free session on our home page.

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