Since The Athlete’s Guide to Sponsorship came out, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from parents of athletes hoping to make it onto teams. The book is an awesome gift for a young athlete since it handles every part of the application process, from writing emails (and finding the right email addresses to send to) to crafting a racer resume and knowing the best time of year to reach out. But a big mistake I didn’t cover in the book is one that I’m starting to see parents make: Applying for their kids.
I’ve heard the stories of parents writing kid’s college essays before, and I know it’s gotten to the point where parents sometimes even fill out job applications for them. But I didn’t think about how this could apply to athletes.
So, consider this your warning and reminder: LET YOUR CHILD DO HIS OR HER OWN APPLICATIONS.
Why? Because teams and sponsors aren’t signing on to work with parents, they’re signing on to work with athletes.
You can check your athlete’s applications before they send them, and stay involved with the process, of course—especially when contracts are involved. But the applications themselves, especially when athletes are over the age of 16, should be done by the athletes. No team manager or sponsorship coordinator wants to be unpleasantly surprised when the athlete they sign turns out to be very different than the application lovingly crafted by mom or dad suggested.
Just a friendly reminder: Your young athletes need to learn this stuff eventually, and the younger they are when they learn to email team managers and company CEOs, the better off they’ll be.
<Climbs off soapbox.>
To give your kid a leg up in the process, grab him or her a copy of The Athlete’s Guide to Sponsorship!