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Commitment Profile
Spring Signing Week '17: Austin Barr Commits to Williams
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Austin Barr may be the perfect recruit for the Williams College Ephs. He is a fierce competitor and he loves being part of a team.

Austin Barr is heading to Williams
"My most exciting tournament was any given year of Team Cup", says Barr. The 155-pound right-hander played high school tennis for three years, Team Cup for seven years and has also played Zonals! "A team championship has always been my biggest goal."

"My favorite team experience was the 2015 Team Cup Tournament where I played on the Northeast Ohio Team. We went in as the 4th or 5th seed and made it to the finals. It was really memorable for me because it was the closest any of the tennis teams I have played on came to winning."

Austin has been very successful this year playing doubles with his brother Tyler - who is a sophomore at MIT - and his sister Chloe - a sophomore in high school. In the spring, Austin and Chloe qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association's (OHSAA) state championships. "This is the only chance I'm ever going to have to do doubles with Chloe," said Austin in the Chagrin Valley Times. "It was just an easy decision for me. There was no way that I could pass this up."

This past summer, Austin and Tyler followed up by winning the Men's Doubles at the USTA's Midwest Section U.S. Open National Playoffs. Tyler is a sophomore at MIT who had a record of 13-4 in singles - playing mostly No. 3 singles. "The competition and the people we were seeing were definitely more experienced than what we had in the high school season," said Austin in another Chagrin Valley Times article. Tyler added , "It was really fun to go in and play together. We had a good time, played well and ended up winning."

 

Early Sports Career

Golf was actually Austin's first sport. He started playing golf at age three, but the pace was too slow for him. Between the ages of eight and twelve, Austin played baseball. The team aspect of baseball was something that he loved, but he wanted to play a sport where he was active all the time. Austin started playing tennis at age eight and fell in love with it almost immediately. At age nine, he played his first tournament and his first USTA tournament at age ten. At age eleven he travelled to a tournament for the first time and soon after, at age twelve, Austin went to Zonals - his first USTA National Tournament.

Barr is a huge fan of team tennis
© Scott Gerber, Ohio Tennis Zone
In the beginning, Austin spent most of his time on the ball machine and hitting with his older brother Tyler. "He took to tennis right away," according to his dad, David Barr, "From the very start he was always aggressive in his ball striking. Austin has always had an amazing focus and determination to improve every minute he is on the court. Even as a youngster hitting on the ball machine, he concentrated on every single ball and held himself to a high standard."
 

Determination

"I knew from a very young age, if I was going to have success in a sport, it was going to have to stem from great practices and never taking a point off," said Barr. "No matter what the score is, whether I'm playing a tournament match, practice match or hitting on the ball machine, I treat every shot the same."

His personal coach, Rich Mostardi, related a story to me about a high school match Barr played against the defending state champions. Austin lost the first set and was cramping up - first in his legs and then in his hands. He still managed to win the second set, and - with the match tied 2-all and everyone looking on - he fought hard and won the match tiebreaker. "He never gave up mentally or physically. He knew people were depending on him, and he stepped up to the plate."

 

Keeping It Real

While Austin and his family have worked hard at making his tennis game great, they have also kept it fun. Tournaments are experiences - they go to movies, ride Go-Karts, and have dinner with friends. Austin remembers his first travel tournament, in Cincinnati, as being like a vacation. "I remember my dad took me, and it was more like a vacation than a tennis tournament. They had a basketball court at the tennis facility, so between matches I would be playing basketball, and then my dad would take me to Dave and Busters for dinner. I can't remember too much tennis from that weekend - but I can remember almost everything else."

"Going to tournaments with Austin has always been a ton of fun," added David. "Over the last three years, I have had at least ten parents of other kids go out of their way to tell me how much they admire Austin for his fairness with line calls - and the respect he gives to his opponents."

Coach Mostardi always knew Austin would be a great player. "He had a great game, a fantastic attitude, and outstanding sportsmanship qualities. Austin is a great college tennis prospect because he is hard-working during practice, listens closely to instruction, and he is able to apply [what he has learned] during his matches. He is committed to his studies and tennis - and is able to find a balance between the two."

Barr does work hard to balance his tennis and his academics. He was named a National Merit Commended Student, and he scored an 800 on his Math SAT. He spends about 21 hours a week on court and two-to-three hours a week in the gym. "I have always thought that the best way to get better at tennis is to play tennis," he said.

When he is in the gym, Barr focuses on shoulders and legs. Currently Barr is working on beefing up his serve for the college tennis game. "I want it to be more of a weapon and more reliable than it is now."

 

College Tennis - The Ohio Massachusetts Connection

Williams already has two strong players from Ohio on the team. They had reached out to Tyler a few years back, but he ended up at MIT - also in Massachusetts. Tyler has done very well at MIT.

The college tennis experience will not be new to Austin. "I have been to four of Tyler's college matches. The thing that struck me most about college tennis is how good everybody is. Everybody playing has a strategy, and they are very methodical in executing it. It's also impressive to see the different ways college kids can play - and how many different shots they hit well.

"The doubles is definitely my favorite thing to watch. The pace of play is so fast and the movement, serve placement, and just everything that goes into the strategy is incredible. The team atmosphere in college tennis is also awesome and something that I've wanted to be a part of since I started playing tennis."

I asked Barr about playing against his brother's team, and the possibility that he may even play against his brother. "I think that there is a good chance that MIT and Williams will play [maybe multiple times] before Tyler graduates. MIT has a great team with a lot of great people and fantastic players - and so does Williams. If we do end up playing MIT, hopefully it's in the finals of a tournament. As far as playing Tyler goes, that would definitely be weird."
 

More about Austin

Austin qualified for the OHSAA Championships in all three years of playing high school tennis, twice as a singles player and this year with his sister Chloe as a doubles player. Austin is ranked 3rd by Ohio Tennis Zone. He has a UTR of 12 and is a 5-star recruit. His father, David, owns the Wembley Club in Chagrin Falls, and his mother Kelly runs the Wembley Academic Club for homeschooling families. Austin was homeschooled by his mother. Three years ago Ohio started allowing homeschool students to play high school sports.

 

One More Today

We are already two articles into Monday, but we have one more in store ... Come back at 6pm Eastern / 3pm Pacific for a look at 5-Star senior Hada Chang who has made a commitment to the University of Denver for Fall 2017. Check out that one - and all the great content we have in store for you this week - as TennisRecruiting.net is your online home for Spring Signing Week '17, presented by GAMMA!

 
 

About GAMMA

GAMMA is proud to sponsor the Countdown to Signing Day series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.

Greatness is a Unique Path at GAMMA

GAMMA is a privately owned company with over a 40-year history of developing innovative products for players of all levels. Best known for GAMMA high performance irradiated tennis string, today GAMMA markets and sells an entire line of over 5,000 products including GAMMA racquets, strings, racquet accessories, tennis balls, grips, vibration dampeners, Ball Hopper® ball baskets and teaching carts, court equipment, and 10 and Under teaching aids.

Connect with GAMMA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube - or on their website.

 

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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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Page updated on Friday, June 16, 2017
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