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Recruiting 101
Spring Signing Week '17: Realistic Expectations When Choosing a College
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You might not remember that first time you picked up a racket and hit a perfect shot, but it's safe to say your parents do. It was at that moment they were thinking about what you could do with lessons; whether or not you would be a tennis star; or, at least, if there was a college scholarship in your future.

It's a lot different when you are in your teens. One great shot is not good enough. By now you and your parents probably know that you aren't going straight to the pros. It's college tennis you are looking at, but just like that moment when you realized you weren't Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, you need to keep your expectations realistic when it comes to where you are going to play college tennis.

Just like it's never good for a writer to be the only person proofreading her own work, a tennis player is not the best judge of his or her own ability. When it comes time to start looking at schools you want to play for, you need to gather some objective opinions - that means opinions that are not coming from you or your parents. It's good to have confidence in yourself, but reality is just as important. As for your parents, it's always hard for people to be objective when it comes to assessing their own children, and there is nothing wrong with that. We all think our children are the best.

So, how do you come down to reality when it comes to where you will fit in college tennis? It's a combination of things. Here are some factors in no particular order:

 

Rankings

It's been said before that rankings are not a full indication of how a player is going to perform on a college tennis team, and that still remains the truth. However, taking a look at your sectional, national, international, and TRN ranking is definitely part of the formula. If you can't make it into the Top 10 of any of these, looking at a school with a Top 10 program is not going to be practical unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances (e.g., you were injured the last six months and had a high ranking before the injury).

 

Your coach

When it comes to getting you ready for a tournament, your coach should build up your confidence while working on your weaknesses. He will stand by that court and help you believe you have everything it takes to beat whomever you are playing, regardless of how much better he may be on paper than you are. When it comes to looking at colleges, you want your coach to be completely honest about what he believes you can and can't accomplish. Ask him point blank - and accept that this is someone who knows your game and your personality.

 

College coaches

No one is going to stop you from applying to a school and trying to get on a team, but do you really want to waste time (and application money) if it's not a fit? College coaches spend a lot of time watching junior players. They have a very good idea of who is a fit for their team and who is not. Ask and listen. It may be disappointing to find out it is not in the cards to go to the school of your dreams, but it would be a lot more disappointing to find out after you've gotten there and found you can't keep up with the team. Get the facts from the man or woman who knows the full makeup of the team.

 

Your guidance counselor

It's true that very few guidance counselors know a lot about the recruiting system and requirements for college tennis, but they do know about colleges and getting into them. Your guidance counselor has your full school record in front of him. Listen to what he has to say about your ability to get into schools and get the grades you need to keep up to stay there. In most schools, you'll need at least a "C" average to continue on an athletic team. Do you want a coach to give you a push into a college knowing that you'll have trouble keeping up with the academic requirements there? Cross reference the list of schools you are academically qualified for against the ones with tennis programs you are a fit for. Don't expect to achieve one without the other.

 

Nobody likes criticism or rejection, but when it comes to college tennis recruiting, you need to face reality. Whether it's going to a lower-ranked NCAA Division I school or finding a match at Division II, III, or NAIA colleges, listen to what those around you have to say. The right option might be to play at a junior college for two years while you improve your tennis and/or academics. There's nothing wrong with that option.

Consider all the opportunities together with what you have to offer. It's much better than choosing something you will be overwhelmed with and regret.

 

Commodore Meyer

We keep our Signing Week extravaganza going tomorrow with another pair of articles. First thing tomorrow morning, Colette Lewis has an article on Blue Chip senior and Vanderbilt commit Amanda Meyer. And then later in the day we get a Q&A with current WTA star and former Stanford standout Nicole Gibbs.

In the meantim, check out any article you might have missed in our whirlwind coverage - as Tennis Recruiting and GAMMA continue to bring you all the action of Spring Signing Week 2017!

 
 

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.

 
 

About Wilson

Wilson Tennis is proud to sponsor the Recruiting 101 series of articles at TennisRecruiting.net.

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

 

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More Recruiting 101 Articles

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Spring Signing Week '17: Get Recruited Faster
I get anywhere from 5-15 emails a day from student athletes struggling with the recruiting process. Ninety nine percent of the time it's because the athlete does not understand how college coaches recruit. This article provides advice and recommendations that will help athletes understand how coaches evaluate prospects - and what they need to do to get recruited faster and easier.

6-Apr-2017
Countdown: Preparing for College Tennis
As many junior tennis players are preparing for college tennis, they need to learn certain aspects of the game so they are ready to perform at the next level. Many players want to attend prestigious universities, and they need to make a plan to do so. There is no cookie-cutter plan - each individual needs to make sure they are getting what they need in their training in a variety of area.

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About Marcia Frost

After years of running College And Junior Tennis and contributing to many other tennis publications, Marcia Frost is now freelancing full time. She writes regularly on tennis for Tennis Recruiting and Stack. Frost is also a college tennis advocate and has helped organize many college tennis showcases, where she acts as a featured speaker. She has written Monthly Guides To College Tennis Planning for H.S. Juniors and Seniors and is the author of American Doubles... the Trials... the Triumphs... the Domination.

 
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Page updated on Wednesday, April 12, 2017
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