- You’ve paid for the private lessons and the training camps.
- Your car has put on more mileage during this one season than almost the rest of the year.
- Cheering in the rain, wind, and the blazing sun has become your badge of honor.
In fact, you would undoubtedly be considered sports mom or dad of-the-year if the award was given out. But have you really focused on ALL the qualities that your athlete NEEDS to make him stand out above the rest?
Have you equipped him to be the “whole package” in the eyes of college recruiters?
And have you spent time developing character qualities?
Character Is Critical
“Well there is no question that character is a big part before you offer a scholarship to a young man—and we do our homework.”— Mike Brey
Head coach for Notre Dame’s boys’ basketball team, Mike Brey, spoke about character and the recruiting process.
And he has some credibility. He’s coached for 19 seasons and has more wins than any other men’s basketball coach in Notre Dame’s history.
Here are 2 main ways Mike Brey investigates an athlete’s character.
He admitted in an interview that looking into an athlete’s character now involves tracking them on social media. Who are they, and how they behave on this platform is a big part of scholarship considerations. He actually has assistants that will follow the social media activities of a potential recruit.
Athlete’s Reputation in School Setting
Brey also focuses quite a bit on an athlete’s reputation among the school-body.
“You need to really digest who the young man is from other people, other than the coach.”— Mike Brey
When he visits a school to look into a possible recruit, he obviously takes time with the athlete, watches him play, and talks to the coach. However, he also makes it a point to grab the candidate’s English teacher or guidance counselor to ask about his character.
Brey is interested in how this potential recruit treats other students, staff, and teachers because he understands that those behaviors can predict how well the athlete will get along with team members and respect authority.
Additionally, Mike knows that the character choices an athlete makes in high school will impact how he views the responsibility of representing his college well.
The character an athlete “brings to the table” definitely matters to recruiters when weeding through the vast pool of talent that’s out there.
A Parent’s Role
An enormous amount of emotional and mental energy is spent, focused on all the sports-specific skills an athlete needs. Perhaps scholarships are the end goal. Or it could just be a result of a parent’s strong competitive drive or unrealistic expectations.
Whatever the motivation, parents often pour unlimited financial assets and time into “making it happen” for their competitor—leaving minimal resources to commit to character development.
Unfortunately, it’s the mistake too many sports-parents make.
But the integrity you cultivate in your athlete is critical—not only for life but for the very things you’re wanting to achieve in the sports arena.
As an involved parent, you easily spot the character issues your child COULD grow in. And if you were ever blind to them, sports participation definitely brings them to the surface.
- You know if he struggles with anger or overreacting
- You notice when she obsesses about gossip or social dynamics
- Laziness or a poor work ethic aren’t usually hidden from you
- A lack of leadership or ownership is a pattern that shows up in team settings and at home
- Honesty and reliability are either valued by your daughter or not
- How well he gets along with others often starts with siblings, neighbors, and teammates
Take Steps Today
It’s really not a matter of IF you spot areas for character-growth. It’s just a matter of WHEN and then HOW to deal with it.
Here are 3 Great Places to Start:
1) Check Your Perspective
Make sure that your view of your child’s character is accurate. Ask a trusted and wise friend if your expectations in this area are realistic, and talk with them about healthy ways to work on it.
2) Read Up On It
Whether you are inclined to head to the library, a bookstore, or Google, it can be beneficial to read up on character development. Here are 3 of my favorite titles.
- Parenting With Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
- Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine
- Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
3) Connect With Organizations Like Growing Champions For Life
Our mission at Growing Champions For Life is to equip parents with the tools and strategies that make a difference in the sports-experience and in parenting. Inquire with your athletic director or sports administrators about hosting a GCFL workshop that will give you and your athlete a “leg-up” in becoming the “whole package” in the eyes of recruiters.
As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.