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Tennis Academies: Best Road to College Tennis?
by Annette Broersma
, 5 March 2010
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There are more players at tennis academies looking for college scholarships or placement than there are those looking to turn professional. Preparing for a professional career takes years, but often, parents look to tennis academies for a short-term sprint of improvement to help the player get the attention of college coaches. Does this work?
The Academy Experience alone is a marketing point to college coaches
When a player is serious enough - and committed enough - to spend a semester or two in intense training at an academy, it gets the attention of coaches who are looking for the 'late bloomer' who has not had a chance to focus attention primarily on tennis.
When one of my clients has no other data (no national, or decent sectional ranking), I am encouraged when they tell me that they are training full time at an academy. That is the sentence that they should lead with in their letters to coaches. That, along with a good placement video, is sufficient evidence for a coach to at least take a long look at recruiting the player.
Can a student really "catch up" with other players by focusing on tennis for a year at an academy?
This is where some players and parents can be misled. Most academies are clear about the fact that there is a good chance their results, rankings, and overall game will significantly improve in the year(s) the player is at an academy. However, they do not promise that this improvement will be enough for a player to earn a tennis scholarship. Obviously, this is up to the internal drive of the player and their basic talent for the sport.
What the academy can specifically offer is a chance for the player to get college-level training - on and off the court - which will definitely prepare them for the rigor ahead. It is imperative that parents realize the bottom line for college coaches is results in junior tennis. Results are what will assure them a spot on a college team.
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