SWANZEY — On Tuesday, Dec. 29, The Fieldhouse at Homestead Mills is hosting a free seminar for high school student athletes and their parents.
The program will begin at 6 p.m. at The Fieldhouse in Swanzey at is open to all athletes in grades 8-12.
The seminar, which will be put on by Academic Coaching 4 Student Athletes (AC4SA), focuses on helping student athletes and their parents have a better understanding of what goes into the college selection process, particularly on the academic front.
“I think the most important thing is really just preparing during high school,” said Lindsay Sundberg, the AC4SA founder. “There are so many things they can do before they go to college. College goes by fast, whether you’re playing a sport or not, so whatever you can do to prepare — go shadow someone or find out a career. There are so many cool options out there.”
Sundberg was a student athlete herself, and also has experience in student services at Kansas State, NC State, Stony Brook and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“The favorite part of my job was working with the student athletes and helping them … reach their goals off the playing field,” Sundberg said.
Eventually, she decided to focus her expertise on high school student athletes, rather than at the collegiate level. She felt that she could have more of an impact on the students at an earlier age.
“When they got to college, it was definitely too late,” she said. “You’re really just putting band-aids over things that they could’ve prevented in high school.”
In Sepvt. of 2019, Sundberg decided to peruse her passion in a more organized fashion, so she started AC4SA.
Sundberg knows the Luopa family, who are connected to the Keene Junior Swamp Bats, so the Luopas got her in touch with Jim Fennell, who runs The Fieldhouse.
Fennell said this was something he has been hoping to put on for the Junior Swamp Bats for a while now, and this was his opportunity to expand it to all athletes in the area.
“I was approached by this group and when they started talking about what they do, it was like, ‘This is perfect, this is exactly what I was looking for,’” Fennell said. “So many times, all you hear about are those recruiting services that try to get kids noticed to play in school. And that’s all fine and dandy, but really the kids aren’t prepared to go to school. They don’t know what they want to do, they don’t know what schools are available, they don’t know where their grades fit in, and they don’t start figuring that out, sometimes until it’s too late.
“This is a service that starts getting them to think about it before,” he added.
And Fennell sees the benefit of the program, not only for the student athletes, but also their parents, who may be going through the college selection process for the first time.
“This process is very new for many of the parents as well, so they’re figuring it out as well. And it’s hard to help your son or daughter if you don’t know what the process is,” Fennell said. “If they don’t have the tools to understand how to do it, then they’re behind the 8-ball.”
The service is most beneficial for student athletes in grades 8-10, Fennell said.
“At that point, they’re really trying to formulate what classes they need to take,” Fennell said. “You don’t want to say, at an early age, ‘This is what I want to do,’ because things change, we understand that, but at least have a clue. And this is what I think this does, it gives them a clue.”
The program is free of charge and registration is not required, but recommended. Registration is on the AC4SA, or on The Fieldhouse Facebook page.
All COVID protocols will be enforced at the event.
“I just think this is something that is necessary, so I’m more than happy to bring it here,” Fennell said. “If two people end up using this service … and find the right college for them, that’s a success. But I think we’ll have a lot more than that.”
“We’re really excited to be able to come up there and talk to the student athletes and hopefully create an awareness of what it takes to make it to the next level on the academic side,” Sundberg said.