In a couple of weeks I am taking my son to visit some schools that have expressed interest in him as a baseball player.  All are D3 HAs, so there are no sports scholarships at issue.

I have done the college application slog before with my older kid, but without the athletics piece.  Admissions office info sessions and campus tours are familiar territory.

At each school, my son also has scheduled a meeting with a baseball coach or coaches.  My plan is to help the boy find the correct building and then go get a cup of coffee while he talks with them.  Here's the question:  Is the coach likely to want to meet me at some point?  Should I hang around the lobby of the building so my son can text me to come join him at some point if the coach wants to eyeball me?  What's the usual protocol?

Original Post

I was in the room at all of the visits my son went on. When a coach gave a campus tour I let him go without me. 

One piece of advice, think of some questions the coach might ask your son and have him practice his answers. On the way to his first visit I asked him if he thought about what the coaches might ask. He said no, so I asked a few questions about major, expectation about playing time. He stumbled with his answers, some he said he didn't know. I told him he needs to have an answer and be able to state it clearly. Coach asked him some of the questions we practiced.

 

 

Chico, on situations as you're describing, unofficial visits when coach has been in contact, I've found with my older son (2017) that coaches absolutely wanted parents along.  Twice I was going to wait, just like you, but the coach wanted told me to tag along as well.  At the point you're at, they want to see what the parents are like as much as the kid.  I think it gives them a better read on the character of the prospect.  From what I experienced, they will read you as much as they read him.  Others will have different takes I'm sure and not all coaches are the same.  This was our experience.  Let him do the talking and guide the visit, but (on unofficial visits) coaches wanted to meet parents as well.   

Official visits or when visiting on the invitation of the coach, it was different.  At that point, the coaches had the information they wanted and were only interested in the kid.  At that point, we stayed in the lobby.  But I think you'll find on most unofficial visits, the ones you initiate, the coaches will want to meet the whole family.  In fact, several coaches wanted to meet sons younger brothers as well.  Good luck!

Hey Chico, your son is a year behind mine and we were in a similar situation this time last  year, in the months following, and on into this year. Various visits to top- and next-tier HA D3s and it was a mixed bag when it came to dealing with coaches. We were very much up-front with questions along these lines so there would be no confusion as to when the parents were expected vs. our son alone. In a couple of cases, the coaches actually did the campus tour and, in most, there came a time when we would turn our son loose to go with them to hang around during practice, work-outs, scrimmage, indoor hitting, etc. (this time of year you probably won't have this option). Many also included lunch with the team, where parents were invited but hung out at a different table, with the exception of two schools where everyone was together. Heck in one lunch case we had the head of the department in our son's desired field of study, AND the coaches, AND some team members, and our son got to basically grill them all. It was very cool and I'm guessing part of the beauty of the small school experience. One visit last fall the baseball coaches provided tickets to a weekend football game and that was fun to see what a home game experience is like at a small D3. Definitely different than going to an SEC event but there was a lot of support at this particular school and it was a good time. In all cases, the "coach behind the desk" meeting included all of us but that was just our experience. Had I not been 100% sure we were invited, I would have sent him in alone. Many of these visits were a LONG way from home for us, and at expensive institutions, so I didn't really feel like I couldn't be a part of whatever I wanted but I was very careful to ask questions that only pertained to our (the parents) parts of the process. Best of luck and keep us posted!

Great advice and stories! 

It's sort of a go with the flow situation and highly coach dependent. Getting your son to prep for a job interview pays dividends. But, stumbles occur - and lessons will be learned.

(A close relative was doing his college tours and was interviewing with the football coach at Tufts. Dad was present. Early in interview, kid told coach he had wanted for a long time to play Ivy League football. Oh well! Didn't make a dent in his arc of life.)

At the end of each school, debrief son. You'll learn what he sees (and doesn't), what impacts him (may be totally different from you), and watch as his views evolve. He'll get better as it goes (just like we did in our first interviews). 

 

I would go....we did.  They know you are coming and have shown interest....it's not like you're just showing up knocking on their door.  Go with him....but let him lead the conversation....and provide the answers to questions.  It's awfully tough for a HS kid to get a feel for what a coach is thinking...especially when he's nervous about meeting the coach.  You can sit back and take it in....so that once you leave, you'll have 2 people who can remember the conversation instead of just one

Echo of above as for all HA D3 visits my 2017 and 2014 did (also had HA D1 for both, different sport for 2014) - every single one where son said he was coming on campus and met with coaches, the coaches all asked for me to be there too.  When invited back for "official" visits like overnights in the fall, son could sometimes go completely alone to all events especially if he already had support through admission/offers, or if he did not have an offer and they were going to give him one they asked for me to be there or if it was a big weekend (ie homecoming) there were events for the parents too.  

 

Thanks all.  I'm surprised so many answers suggest I should join the meetings (but I'm very glad to hear about others' experiences).  The visits struck me as sort of like an admissions interview--and a parent would never go along for that.

I may introduce myself when my son meets the coach, then excuse myself to exit.  If the coach wants me to hang around, he can tell me so; otherwise he can let me leave...  

I had no idea what to do with  my 2018 for HA D3 visits.  I opted to let him go alone after extensive "preflight" talk, then told him text me when the Coach would like me to go in, "I'll be 5 minutes away..".  This worked out really well, the HC liked son's confidence and appreciated being willing to talk with him alone and show him around.  I got the text to go in after 30m; HC repeated a few things for my benefit, and I covered a few things in case they weren't brought up.  Good experience.

(edit:  HC's had requested he visit and the trips had been planned for a few weeks)

Our unofficial visits were a mix - we were always on campus for them, but in situations in which our son had previous contact with the coach, he did most things on his own. If you go along, let your son lead the conversation and make sure he comes prepared (good advice above) and does his research. In our experience, coaches were definitely assessing the interactions between kid and parent(s)... :-)

We had a mix. My 2018 is a very smart, mature kid, so after the initial introductions I suggested leaving the coach/RC and he alone while I waited somewhere. IN a couple of cases that's what happened. In a couple of others, the coach insisted I come along. I really tried to let those two carry the conversation, though.

 An important part of the visits is when/if there is a meeting with the rest of the team. Parents are definitely not welcome then...if it gets to that point, then the Coach is usually quite interested in your son. 

  At most schools, parents aren't seen as the enemy, and if they are, you'd have to ask yourself why. 

   

Not your question, but I would also be prepared to discretely take very detailed notes. Commit important quotes to memory whenever possible, and write them down later word for word. Particularly important since you'll be visiting more than one school. You don't want to be wondering later... did Coach A say 32 ACT, or was that Coach B?

Inevitably, when reviewing visit details with my son and/or wife, we would sometimes have heard different things. I think this was mostly related to what we each wanted to hear.

Good Point MidAtlantic:

"write them down later word..." I would then be able to go over with son what we heard on unofficial visits. Always wondered why during each of my son's info sessions (D1 baseball player & non-athlete), why I was the one with the notebook and pencil.

I always let my guys go in alone and asked them to text me if the coaches wanted to meet with me as well.  Most of the time I ended up getting a text that said come on up.  When I didn't get a text to join them, turned out the coach wasn't interested in recruiting them.  They let us make the effort to meet with them, though, which surprised me.  Maybe they didn't like my kids' haircuts? 

Posting again with a related question:  Leaving very soon for the college visits that prompted this thread.  One school in particular is driving me nuts as the person who has to deal with arranging airfare, rental car, etc. 

School responded immediately and enthusiastically to my son's email asking to meet with the coaches while he was on campus on a particular date.  We know the school saw his videos and looked at his info online before they responded.  So after school says "yes, we'd like to meet -- and we want to be sure both HC and RC see you," son sends back a short message the next day that says (I'm paraphrasing) "Can we meet at [time]?  If not, I can change my schedule to accommodate yours--just let me know what alternative works for you."  A week goes by with no response.  Son emails again "just in case you didn't receive my prior message, I wanted to confirm that [time] on [date] is good to meet, or I can plan a different time."  Crickets from the school...

I know coaches are busy, but...  And I know it's impossible to tell anything for sure about this episode, but...  Is this sort of thing normal, or is son getting a signal that the school really isn't interested after all?  I have no reason to think they got a negative report (or any report) from his coaches or anyone else in the meantime. 

This behavior is fairly common for coaches who are interested in a player but are still looking to see what is out there. One email thru the cracks can happen, two is on purpose. I think if they were that interested they would probably be saying hey what time are we meeting that Jimmy kid?

Saw this from schools that liked what they saw from 2019, but were looking for taller guys that threw a little bit harder. Sent one last courtesy email saying that he took a visit to another school and was considering committing. That woke them up and schools that seemed to be getting cooler on him had him on campus within a week. 

I would send a final email saying - Coach, I received a camp invite to another school that I've been in contact with on the same weekend as our scheduled visit. Would love to see the __________ University campus and meet the staff but need to finalize travel arrangements. If you could confirm a time so my family can get everything sorted out on our end it would be highly appreciated. 

I don't know if you booked a flight or if you can get a refund/credit but I would hold off on making any other travel arrangements for now. The coach knows where your son lives, he knows how much of a haul it is to get there. No response, just don't show for the visit. If they get mad you have the excuse of I sent three emails. And if you never hear from them again well then you have your answer. 

Divide and Conquer...get lots of information about everything to do with the school.

For unofficial visits (local and far away), my son would meet the Coach and try to schedule time with Admissions either on his own or through the Coach.  I would try to meet with a Financial Aid officer.   I had many financial related questions that I wanted to get answered as I had two more kids in the queue. 

If your son needs you, he can text you.

PABaseball, not what I was hoping to hear; but thanks for the voice of experience.  Fwiw, this is a HA school, and I would expect that they are just getting serious about 2020s (need to see Jr year grades).  Could be they already have all the Ps they want lined up, but that would be surprising...  Makes as much sense as anything else I can come up with though.

Chico - reread your most recent post....

I'd have your son (phone) call the coach directly to get information and make sure he is still in that RC or HC capacity at the school.  I've seen this before with D3 coaching turnover especially as many D3's season is over.  Good luck!

fenwaysouth posted:

Chico - reread your most recent post....

I'd have your son (phone) call the coach directly to get information and make sure he is still in that RC or HC capacity at the school.  I've seen this before with D3 coaching turnover especially as many D3's season is over.  Good luck!

Chico, was just about to say the same thing. It could be a lot worse. Had a friend getting ready to drive 10 hours to attend a weekend long camp and were expecting an offer from PC at the end of it. Googled _________ University baseball to get the address of the field to find the closest hotel. First thing that came up was a headline that the PC took a new job halfway across the country. Never booked the hotel, but guess who didn't get a camp refund. 

We found once the visit interest was confirmed, it became a text message world.  My son followed up with texts and ask that the coach call him or text a reply to confirm the day and time of the meeting.  It frustrated the heck out of me because I could not analyze the information exchange  but I knew that is part of the coach's evaluation with the player.  I just took it as long as they are responding to texts they are genuinely interested.

2019 was scheduled to go to camp and receive an offer and the coach called him and said I have sent you a refund for the camp before I left.  The HC has retired (which rhymes with fired) and I'm no longer the AC/RC.  Son responded that he would be very interesting in knowing when he got a new job. He did do a great job of helping my son get recruited and actually is a big reason son is going to P5.  All coaches are not like this guy and some are just scrambling to get something else and don't have time or remember to contact those they were recruiting.  Texting is the way of the new world.

We drove about six hours to a game and unofficial visit that son had arranged with coaches. Halfway there it started raining, but we decided to go ahead with the trip.

Next day, the PC met us as arranged for tour, etc., but seemed to feel the whole thing was a pain in his behind. Later that afternoon (when we were touring with admissions) we saw him with another recruit. Seemed much more cheerful. We figured he was done with our son.

Fast forward six months, they restarted communications, invited us for an official visit (although son had not committed), we did the whole football game, dinner with coaching staff, etc. It was one of my son's top schools at the time, but a better fit came along.

When he called the coaches to tell them he was going elsewhere, they hung up on him.

Recruiting is a weird world and manners don't seem to matter much — although son ended up at a school where everyone has always been extremely courteous and I hate to be superficial, but that mattered to us.

Just to update this thread:  My son's first college visits all went well.  He met with several coaches and all were positive about his prospects.  All the schools asked him to forward an end-of-year transcript and to keep them updated about summer baseball.  Being a pitcher makes things a little easier, since they are almost always in demand.  Still a ways to go, but it appears son is fishing in the right ponds.  

As for the question I started this thread with: The visits played out in just about every possible fashion.  At one school, the coach came down from his office to meet my son before I could make my exit from the building, and that coach asked me to stay for their meeting.  At another school, my son met with the coach on his own, then son texted me to join them for a while after that.  And at a third school, son went to coach's office by himself, but coach asked him to call me in for the entire meeting.

Based on my limited sample size, for future visits I think son will stick with the plan of going to coach's office on his own and introducing himself.  He will let coach know I am nearby and let the coach decide how he wants to proceed.  That worked well so far, anyhow.  There is not going to be any scholarship money or other financial aid at stake, and every school my son met with is one where academically I'd be happy to see him enroll.  So to my mind, the baseball decision is almost exclusively my son's to make (with a little parental guidance, of course).  The boy rose to the occasion very well.  I was proud of the way he handled himself.

Thanks again to all who offered advice in this thread.  It was extremely helpful.

Well done Chico!   Well done.

So, there are no athletic scholarships however there is money available through grants and academic scholarships.   While the bar may be high for academic scholarships at a HA, you've got to ask to find out at the various schools he's interested in.   If he is a highly desirable student use that as leverage.  Typically, they will want you to apply ED to secure it if he qualifies.  Good luck.

PABaseball posted:

Glad they worked out, exciting time. 

Any luck getting in contact with the other coach? Might be helpful for other parents to see how that played out. 

My son did finally get an email from the coach who had been MIA for a couple of weeks.  As it turns out, that email arrived literally a few minutes before my son was going to try texting the coach (and then calling if texting didn't work).  The email arrived just before we were scheduled to visit the  school in question--son was going to do a campus tour regardless, but was beginning to think he wouldn't be meeting with the coach. 

If there is a lesson here, I guess it is that you shouldn't assume the worst.  Coaches are busy, get a lot of emails, some may not be great at keeping organized...  Son had emailed with this school a few times and they had seemed definitely interested.  He was able to schedule a meeting and it went well.  That particular coach asked son to text from now on for contacts.  Another coach asked son to stick with email.  The moral of the story, I think, is to be persistent and flexible.  

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