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Tournament Tennis vs. High School Tennis

As a national tournament director for the USTA, and as an advisor to high school students looking to play in college, I have seen many juniors agonize over the choice of which 'master' to follow: the USTA tournament schedule, or their high school schedule. Each has a set of regulations to follow to be eligible for play/ranking, and sometimes those rules and schedules conflict.


Advantages of high school play

Nothing can compete with the attention a student gets if he/she is successful in high school tennis. Most local newspapers make a big deal out of high school competition. School newspapers, yearbooks, and student rallies acknowledge such participation - which gives tennis players a niche in high school social structure. It certainly helps on college applications. The camaraderie, the group excitement of home games and league championships can be high points. College coaches do like to see that a player knows how to work with a coach and a team; so participation is never a negative.


Advantages of USTA tournament play

The rankings... there just is no substitute for having the Sectional or National ranking (or 'standing' as it is now called) to prove to a coach that the player "has game". The number - good or not so good - immediately tells a college coach that the player has made the effort to get on the list, and is playing the requisite number of tournaments.

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