Talking with Tufts Coach Kate Bayard
by Tim Donovan, 11 July 2011
Special from Donovan Tennis Strategies
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Kate Bayard played her college tennis at Harvard University where she was their #1 singles and doubles player. She was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman and earned First Team All-Ivy honors four times.
head coach Kate Bayard makes a point
courtesy, Tufts athletics
Bayard began her coaching career in 1996 as the assistant women's coach at Yale
, followed by head coaching jobs at Wellesley College
and Dartmouth College
. She is entering her 7th year as the head coach at Tufts University
, where this year's team reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Tufts is currently ranked #5 in the Division III national rankings. Bayard has coached three Tufts players to individual national titles, including Julia Browne's NCAA singles crown in 2010. She is a two-time NESCAC coach of the year (2009, 2011) and was the ITA regional coach of the year in 2010.
Donovan Tennis Strategies: In your opinion, what are the two things that best determine how successful a player will be in college? Other than tennis and academic excellence, what qualities are most important for you and your program? How do you ensure that the player will be a good fit for the team?
Kate Bayard: The things that best determine success in college tennis are work ethic, how much the player enjoys tennis and loves being on a team, coachability and the ability to balance college life. The most important qualities are positive attitude, a "team-first" attitude and sportsmanship.
How do we ensure a good fit? I first see if the tennis and academic results are a potential match. Then we set up a meeting in person - or over the phone if the recruit cannot visit campus during the junior year or summer before senior year. The next step is to bring the recruit to campus. I ask the team to engage each recruit in order to really try to get to know her. I value the team's input.
The final step in determining a good match is that the recruit, the team and the coaches all feel Tufts is a nice fit after we've spent some time together. After the visit, I try to get a sense of what the recruit's experience on campus was like so I can start to process if it seems like she'd be happy here at Tufts. I feel strongly that the school and the team really sell themselves. However, finding the right fit is kind of like finding the perfect mate - you could write all the criteria down on paper, but great chemistry is intangible. Furthermore, the chemistry needs to be coming from both sides.
DTS: What are the things that impress you during a meeting with a recruit? What are things that you would advise a recruit not to do when meeting a coach?
KB: Things I like: First impression is part of it - look the coach in the eyes when talking. It's a good sign when you talk about how much you enjoy being on a team - and you give examples from your own team experience. It's nice if you're genuinely enthusiastic about the school and about tennis. It's definitely smart to ask some questions and be engaged in the conversation. Lastly, it's important to do some research about the school and the tennis team before meeting with me.
Thing I don't like:
- When parents contact me before the player does.
- When parents do the talking instead of the player.
- When the player doesn't do any research beforehand about the school or the team.