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Letter of Recommendation Program

BEN'S LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION PROGRAM:
UPDATED: 5-24-18

The time to think about a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) is well in advance of the time you need it.  LOR is a critical component of the selection process used by universities, employers, scholarship committees and others.  

Here are some things you need to know about Coach Ben's LOR policy:

1)  Paying your monthly bill has nothing to do with the quality of your character and this is the primary reason Coach Ben has standards/requirements around LORs.
2)  Coach Ben does not owe anyone a LOR; an LOR is earned not purchased.
3)  Coach Ben WANTS to give your his best raving review and LOR; this is true for EVERY swimmer on the team.
4)  LORs say something about 2 parties:  The subject of the LOR and the person who wrote the LOR.  Most do not realize that the reputation of the author is on the line any time an LOR is submitted.  One bad LOR can result in a coach/program being put on the Do Not Call List.  Schools/Coaches do not want to waste money/time/resources on kids coming from programs where there has been a bait and switch (good LOR, but in reality the swimmer has very little to offer).  Submitting a false/bad LOR puts future kids at risk and that is not fair.
5)  Ben does his best to write a thoughtful LOR, but there are no guarantees (actual or implied) that go along with a letter from Ben.

 

If you would like a LOR  from Coach Ben you must apply.  Here are some of the rules/notes (more may be added subjectively at any time):

1)  Swimmers must apply to be in Ben's LOR program.  Application must be in writing (email request is fine).  Ben will discuss entry into the program with each applicant prior to approval.
2)  Swimmers must be in Ben's LOR program for a minimum of 3 months before an LOR will be issued.
3)  Swimmers in Ben's LOR program must submit a monthly attendance report each and every month (by the 5th of the month).  Swimmers must also record their DAILY attendance with Coach Ben on a DAILY basis so Coach Ben can verify the monthly attendance report to be accurate.
4)  Attendance must be 80% or higher.  There are no approved absences other than with a doctor's note. 
5)  Measured practices include Mon-Fri (PM) and Sat (AM) each week.  2 weekday AM workouts can make up for one missed PM workout.  Sunday workouts can make up for one missed workout.  PM workouts include both dryland and swim.  A missed dryland session can be made up by performing a dryland workout at home.  A weekday AM workout can also make up for a missed dryland session.
6)  The goal of all participants in this program is to get a home-run review.  With this in mind, participants can meet with Ben at the end of each week to get a progress report.  Ben will review strengths and weaknesses with the swimmer, so appropriate adjustments can be made.
7)  When requesting a LOR (after 3 months in the program), participants must give Ben 14 days advance notice and a specific due date.  Please include the following in your request:
A)  Your name
B)  Your age
C)  Current grade in school
D)  How long you've been on the team and how long I've been your coach
E)  Your GPA
F)  Extra curricular activities/clubs/associations/honors/hobbies/employment/etc.
G)  The name of the person or organization for which you need the letter.
H)  Where to send the letter to (email/address/etc.)
I)  Other requirements of the letter (if any).

8)  Note this is not a binding contract.  Coach Ben can remove a swimmer at any time and an athlete can opt out of the program at any time.  If Coach Ben removes a swimmer from the program, the participant will be notified in writing.  Possible reasons for removal would be for things such as behavior issues, falling off the attendance requirements, poor work ethic, etc.
9)  Swimmers must participate in one meet per month to be considered.  Swimmers must include the name of the meet they attended with the attendance records submitted each month.


ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS/NOTES:

  • College coaches care about more than just performance results.  They care about the character of the individual.  College coaches are trying to build cultures of excellence.  Who you are is just as important as how fast you are.  
  • College coaches want to know what your strengths and weakness are.  They want to know if you are coachable.  They want to know if you are a good teammate.  They want to know what you will bring to their university.  How will you add to their team/environment?  You should be able to answer this question.
  • 80% attendance is a "B" grade.  This is the minimum requirement for my LOR program and swimmers should be shooting for a "A" which would be 90%.  Some swimmers have asked if they can sub other sports/activities for recorded workouts to meet the attendance requirement.  The answer is "NO".  My letter of recommendation is for swimmers going into a college swim team where athletes must attend all workouts.  College programs don't care about track or piano or water polo or anything else...they are looking for committed swimmers.
  • Please remember this program is completely optional.  No one is taking anything away from you if you do not participate.  This is like taking an honors class in school; you choose to do it.  The only difference is that with an honors class you might WANT to do it, but you might not meet the requirements to even have the option to try.  With my LOR program ANYONE can participate.