by Elizabeth Wickham
What can parents do to help their child find their way to the right school? Recruiting is an exciting time in a swimmer’s life, but it’s time-consuming and can be overwhelming. As a parent, it’s important not to take over the process, but there are areas where we can help—and we should help. All kids are different. Some will take charge and handle college recruiting all on their own. Others need more guidance from parents and coaches.
According to Kelly Kremer, Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Swimming, University of Minnesota, “The process has changed so much during the past five years. Recruiting has been pushed earlier and earlier.” His advice is to “start the process as early as possible. Look at the academic reputation of the school as well as swimming.”
Here are three areas where Coach Kremer says parents can help:
“Parents can help do as much research as possible. Remember that everyone has different opinions and experiences, so don’t go on what one person says. Don’t wait until the junior year to start the process,” Kremer said. “Recruiting can be a confusing and scary process. Lots of parents can help their young person with research.”
TWO: Promote Independence
“As a coach, you can see a difference with kids who have more independence the first time they are away from home. During their senior year of high school, encourage kids to learn how to make quick small meals, do their own laundry, get themselves out of bed. Set their iPhones and get themselves out of bed and ready for practice. Parents can help them be ready for the transition by letting them do small things for themselves.”
THREE: Offer Advice
“On official visits, it’s exciting to visit a campus for 48 hours,” Kremer said. “What’s not to like? Advise your child to see through the recruiting and focus on how students and athletes interact with the coaches. It’s a short glimpse into what it would be like to be there. Suggest they visually put themselves on the team. They need to look more at that, not at who took you out to the best dinners, had the most fun, were the best recruiters.”
For more recruiting tips from coaches, read the College Preview SwimSwam Magazine.
What areas of recruiting do you think parents should help with?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of
Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog.