Being a Good Parent to Your NFL Hopeful

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Hello, and welcome back to the Two-Minute Drill. I’m Neil Stratton.

As the college football season winds down and the holidays approach, it’s normal to take a break to process things. While your son has been focused solely on winning on Saturdays, once December rolls around, he’s probably starting to think more about his future. That may be true for you. Just make sure it isn’t doubly true for you.

Understand that I’m not trying to dissuade you from being excited about your son’s NFL potential. That’s certainly natural. Still, make sure you’re taking your cues from your son, not giving them. Every year, I see several examples of parents who are far more fired up about their son’s football futures than their sons are. This manifests itself in a number of ways.

I’ve seen parents who launch aggressive social media campaigns, convinced that somehow they’ll create enough noise that someone important will respond. Some parents spend weeks cold-calling agents, then when they find a couple nice enough to give them the time of day, they try to play each of them off the other one. Some loudly proclaim to their social groups that their sons will be in the NFL very soon.

I suppose none of this is patently harmful, but remember, your son is a man now. It’s very possible he’s had enough. Though football is an incredibly entertaining sport that also teaches life lessons, it’s incredibly draining. The toll it takes physically is rivaled by few other sports, and four years in an ultra-competitive environment is incredibly demanding. Your son may decide he’s gone as far as he wants to go.

You can avoid pushing your son a direction he doesn’t want with a few simple rules. №1, don’t attach your own self-image to his status as an athlete. I help coach my son’s fifth-grade team, and believe me, there are parents on our team who get an immense charge out of having a son on the team. I even find myself guilty of that at times. Just remember, a little goes a long way.

One more point: once you’ve helped your son with his agent selection and maybe helped him decide on training, it’s pretty much out of your hands. Keep up with his training regimen, make the odd call to his rep, and wear his jersey to his pro day if you’d like, but don’t expect to make an impact on his draft status. That’s just crazy talk, but there are parents that believe they can will their sons into the NFL. It just doesn’t work that way.

Remember, there are more tips and insights in our Two-Minute Drill series, so tune in to all our shows for more information. You can check out even more content at our Succeed in Football blog as well as our Website, Inside the League.com. Thanks for listening.

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