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Recruiting 101
Why Division I?
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If you talk to most people about college athletics they think of Division I sports. Even people who do not follow sports know about March Madness and the BCS Championships. Top juniors dream of playing Division I college tennis. So what do Division I college coaches have to say about Division I tennis?

 

Bruce Berque - University of Michigan

Division I tennis, especially at the highest levels, is the best option for those prospects who have made a great physical, mental, and emotional investment in their tennis, and want to pursue it at the highest possible level in college with respect to level of practice partners, training resources, and competitive schedule.

 

Tim Smith - Marist College Men

Although there are vast differences in Division I programs, Division I tennis allows student athletes a much greater opportunity to play many more competitive matches in dual meets and tournaments. Funding additional full time coaches, better facilities and more matches, provides those student athletes that want to compete at the next level with a real advantage over the other divisions.

 

This fits in nicely with what John McEnroe had to say:

I have always been a big believer in the advantages that U.S. college tennis players get. They get the chance to play a lot of matches, have consistent practice routines, and they can work on improving their fitness, all of which are readily available at all top programs in the U.S. In the pro game now, on both the men's and women's tours, the top players are competing longer and longer. With Roger and Serena playing at the highest level into their 30s, there is no need to rush onto the pro tour anymore.

 

Katarina Petrovic - Florida International University Women

D-I programs offer more flexibility with class choices; undergraduate major choices; as well as great academic athletic support for the student athlete. I believe that the level of competition is higher and more challenging than D-II or D-III. Student athletes who play D-I level competition have a greater chance of succeeding at the next level ( TP, WTA).

 

Andy Christodoulou - Siena College Women

Contrary to the common belief, NCAA has stronger initial eligibility academic requirements at the Division I level than it does at the Division II level. In general, you are competing and practicing at a higher skill level and at a higher intensity level than you are at Division II or Division III schools. This translates into "marketability" in the real world and has a bigger price tag to it. Employers understand that playing at the highest skill level possible, grinding it out, pushing yourself to improve and stay competitive will shape that person for the real work environment. Along with the higher level of competition and expectations also comes the highest level of academic support and care for the student athletes.

My advice to all the prospective student athletes is to play at the highest level they can and challenge themselves, and only then they will reach their full potential on the court and in the classroom - work hard and play hard.

 

The bottom line is that most - not all - of the professional tennis players that played college tennis from McEnroe to Isner came from Division I schools. If your ambition is to be a touring pro, your best bet, by far is Division I tennis.

 
 

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About Peter Green

Peter has taught tennis in the Albany, New York area for more than 15 years and is currently employed at Sportime - Schenectady. He is also an Assistant Coach at Sage College. He has coached for the Eastern Section at National Zone Team Championships for most of those years. His work with junior players includes anything from 5-year-old beginners to nationally-ranked juniors as well as working with adult players. Peter is a regular contributor to the Times Union (Albany) Tennis Blog.
 
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