Special from Scholarship For Athletes
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Many high school students are curious about playing sports at one of the service academies. Ross Greenstein of Scholarship For Athletes talks with Keith Puryear, head women's tennis coach at the U.S. Naval Academy. Coach Puryear talks about how he recruits - and he offers advice to high school athletes.
Questions and Answers
Scholarship For Athletes (SFA): What advice do you have for high school athletes that strive to play college sports?
Keith Puryear, Head Coach at Navy
courtesy, Navy Athletics
Keith Puryear (KP): I think that playing college tennis can be an extremely rewarding experience for a student-athlete. Your teammates often become your friends for life.
For most kids, this is going to be the most important decision that they will have made in their lives so far. Thus, it is important that for them do their homework and make a very informed decision in choosing a school to attend.
Try to gather as much information as possible about each school you are considering, so that you are not making a "blind choice". The four years you will spend in college could have major ramifications regarding the path of your life. So choose wisely...
SFA: Assuming that they have the academics and tennis level to attend your school, when should junior players begin to contact you or send you their resume?
KP: For a Service Academy the application process is much more detailed than the average school. Students who choose to attend the Naval Academy actually have to qualify three ways: academically, medically, and they also have to apply for a nomination from either their Senator or district congressperson. Therefore we strongly suggest that students contact us in their sophomore year - or junior year at the latest.
SFA: How important is it for potential recruits to build strong relationships with you and the players on your team?
KP: If you have a great group of teammates, it is going to positively influence your collegiate experience, and the reverse is also true. Your teammates - and coaches for that matter - should be persons that you can depend on for unconditional support throughout your career, and, if you are lucky, maybe even the rest of your life.
So building relationships is extremely important because you want to know as much as you can about the people that you will spend so much time with - both on-court and off. Do you think a team will be a good fit for you? How do the players interact with one another? Do they hang out off-court? Is the team a cohesive unit? These are some things a student-athlete should look to assess regarding this issue.