Special from Scholarship For Athletes
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Ross Greenstein and Scholarship For Athletes caught up with Derek Mills, coach of men's tennis at Santa Clara. Mills comments on how junior tennis players should approach the recruiting process - as well as his coaching philosophy.
Questions and Answers
Scholarship For Athletes (SFA):What advice do you have for high school athletes that strive to play college sports?
Derek Mills (DM): I would advise players to make a list of schools that they are interested in and email those coaches by the end of their sophomore year. Also, work on developing weapons in your game and keep a positive attitude at the tournaments.
SFA: What information should an athlete know prior to making their initial school list?
DM: Try to be realistic. I think this is a big key for all the athletes. If you are looking at a school that is ranked then make sure you are able to fit that level of competition. Check out the rosters to see if you know anyone on the team so you can compare levels to where they are at. So many times athletes reach on their school choices and end up making a bad decision. Then they end up quitting or transferring - no one wins in that scenario.
SFA: Assuming that they have the academics and tennis level to attend your school, when should junior players begin to contact you or send you their resume?
DM: Junior players should reach out at the end of their sophomore year.
SFA: How important is it for potential recruits to build strong relationships with you and the players on your team?
DM: This is very important. These are the guys that you will be friends with for the rest of your lives. You end up spending so much time with your teammates you should definitely see if it is a fit for you socially.