Parents Playbook:​​​ 7 Rules to Take Your Athlete From College to Career

There is a lot you can do to affect the career success of your athlete, regardless of whatever height they achieve or however long they play. This handy MINI-BOOK for parents provides seven rules to follow, helpful suggestions for using them, and interesting stories along the way.



Rule 1:
Parenting an athlete is a contact sport. Get Involved!
Rule 2:
Learn the basics of how to be a great parent counselor.
Rule 3:
Quit pushing college as a “back-up” plan.
Rule 4:
Have the granddaddy of all career discussions. Sooner is better!
Rule 5:
Visit Campus Career Services together. Sooner is better!
Rule 6:
Find out what skills employers are looking for. Be prepared!
Rule 7:
Be smart about social media.


Athletics offers an excellent foundation for success in life. But success doesn’t happen automatically. It requires as much practice as sports themselves.

Parents are uniquely positioned to be career counselors to their kids, and this pocket-sized mini guide the perfect way to help them get started.

 What People are Saying:

“Why don’t all colleges have this information available” — Parent with 3 kids in college

“I am anxious to work with you on developing an outreach program for parents” — Troy Kase, Director, Career Services and Internship Programs

“I know of a number of NBA athletes who sponsor basketball camps and who are looking for help with the educational/career component to what they do.” — Milt Barnes, NBA Scout, Minnesota Timberwolves

“These concepts could be of tremendous help to our community.” — Clearance Wilson, Director, NAACP Williamsburg, Virginia

Discover why athletes like Ervin “Magic” Johnson were able to make a successful transition to business and how your athlete can be positioned to do likewise.


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Here's a taste of what's inside:

Rule #1 - Parenting an athlete is a contact sport — Get involved.

“Never mistake activity for achievement.” — John Wooden, 3-time basketball All-American and 10 time NCAA basketball championship coach…

The life lessons we attribute to athletics do not happen automatically. Coach Wooden was right: participation is not the same as achievement. If it were, why do so many athletes fail in other fields? The crossover from athletics to life is learned behavior that requires as much practice and application as your athlete’s sport…

Getting the most out of the life lessons athletics has to offer and developing your child into a fully functioning adult is your job, not the coaches. Others can help along the way, the responsibility remains with you…

Rule #4 - Quit pushing college as a "backup plan".

Positioning a college degree as a back-up plan presents an interesting dilemma. In many respects, it is good advice and deserves to be emphasized as athletes grow into their sport. Be aware thought that the timing of such advice can be problematic and, in the heat of battle, less than helpful…

One way for parents to help their kids get the life lessons out of sports is to discuss it with them. When they are old enough ask ‘what to you personally want to get out of this season?’…

Keep asking it as the seasons and years go by. Their answers, like their bodies, will continue to mature...

Rule #5 - Visit a campus career services center together.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any way you choose.” — Dr. Seuss

Responsibility for providing your athlete with adequate counseling to get from college to career falls to you...

No one expects you will have the full range of knowledge required to be a professional career advisor. You do not have to. The expectation is that you will help your athlete make sound decisions and learn valuable lessons along the way. To do that you need help. That’s why a visit to a career services center is ‘mission critical.’

About Bill Holland

bio_billhollandBill was a Big Ten scholarship football player who raised and coached two successful sons. He’s an award-winning college professor, business executive, nationally recognized career management guru, author of four books on career management and the principal founder of College to Career Catalyst, LLC.

"As a scholar athlete, award-winning professor, senior business executive, and author, I have seen just about every angle of the ever-changing job market. With decades of real-world experience in all aspects of the transition from college to the workforce, I have been able to provide timely insight to parents and their students.

The career success of your athlete is my passion. My objective is to get a copy of this book to as many parents as possible at little or no cost to them. We are currently working with numerous communities, universities and other institutions toward that end."