Question: Would you explain how parents should act and behave during showcase events when in the presence of college coaches and recruiters with regards to NCAA rules as to avoid violations?
Answer: It's very important that parents (and players) understand NCAA rules regarding contacts---e.g., what is and is not permissible, when contact can be made, what counts as a contact, and so on. Div. I, Div. II and Div. III all have different rules. For the specifics, read my book, Preparing to Play Softball at the Collegiate Level, or visit the NCAA Eligibility Center web site. You really need to understand and accept these rules because while the worst thing that will happen to you is a coach may politely brush you off and walk away, the worst thing that might happen to your daughter is her eligibility could be affected.
In terms of how parents should "behave," there are a few other things I recommend. First of all, mind your Ps and Qs. In other words, if you have trouble controlling your emotions and have a tendency to get upset about everything from poor umpiring to the travel coach's choice of who plays and when, consider sitting away from other parents and away from college coaches. Set up your chair down the line or in the outfield so you can rant and rave to your heart's content without anyone hearing you.
Believe it or not, college coaches notice these things, and they will sometimes elect not to recruit a player simply because they don't want the baggage she brings in the form of her parents. It's understandable that parents feel stressed at tournaments. Expectations are so high, and since very few parents have a realistic grasp of how recruiting works, it's easy to feel disappointed when things do go the way you want them to. But it's best to keep this stress out of sight.
The other thing I like to emphasize with parents is this. Leave the coaches alone! If a coach has specifically asked you to find him so he can talk to you, or if your player has already committed to a school and the coach indicates she would like to sit with you and chat, that's one thing. Otherwise, try to keep your distance. Don't risk annoying a coach (and jeopardizing your child's recruitment or even her eligibility) by approaching a coach and starting a conversation. Let the coaches do their job. The odds are overwhelming that if they want to talk to you, they'll let you know. And where recruiting is concerned, it's always better to be safe than sorry!
Hope this helps!
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