Countdown: Transitioning to College Tennis
by Tim Donovan, 25 March 2014
Special from Donovan Tennis Strategies
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Over the winter break, DTS was able to catch up with three freshmen college tennis players. We asked a former 4-star men's player in the Patriot League (Division 1), a former 5-star women's player in the Ivy League (Division 1) and a former 5-star men's player in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (Division 3) to take some time to reflect on their initial college - and college tennis - experiences. We asked them about the transition from high school to college both academically and athletically, how their expectations of college tennis are being met, and what advice they would already be able to provide to the high school seniors who will be entering college in the fall. Here is what they had to say:
Questions and Answers
(1) How has the academic transition been for you from high school to college?
Ivy League Player: The transition from high school to college studies has definitely been a challenge in terms of the workload and expectations of the professors. Time management has certainly been key in making sure that I complete assignments thoroughly and on time, especially given the time commitment of playing college tennis. I have found the work to be very enjoyable, however, because the classes I am taking are extremely interesting.
SCIAC Player: The academic transition from HS to college has been manageable, but definitely difficult. Despite getting solid grades, I had to work extremely hard. The work is just different. Essays are longer and more in-depth, and an overall higher quality of work is expected. The work also tends to flow in cycles--there will be weeks where you have a ridiculous amount of work (on these weeks you spend most of your time in the library and get very little sleep), but then there will be weeks where you have virtually nothing. Overall, while manageable, it's important to be prepared to have to work extremely hard throughout various times of the semester.
Patriot League Player: The academic transition was extremely difficult for me but that was in part due to the lack of preparation I received from my high school. Having 3 hours of practice a day and 2 days of lifting a week made time management the most difficult thing, but also most important.
(2) Is the tennis experience what you expected? Why or why not?
Patriot League Player: Although the fall season is very different from what I anticipate in the spring, it was pretty much what I expected. Being on a team and having all the support during matches, and being able to contribute by cheering even when not playing, makes the experience far more exciting than junior tennis.