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Recruiting 101
Fall Signing Week '14: How Young is Too Young to Start Recruiting?
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When it comes to college tennis recruiting, one of the biggest fears parents have is starting the process too late. They are afraid there will be no more room on the teams and all the scholarships will be gone by the time their child is recognized.

Everyone wants to get their child in front of coaches before it's too late, but how young is too young to do this?

It is true that coaches are looking at filling their teams for a couple of years into the future and not just the following season. The competition in recruiting for college tennis affects coaches as much as it does players. That said, practicality has to come in to play.

I am not exaggerating when I say I have received at least a hundred letters that read like this:

My child has been taking tennis lessons for years now and his coach says he is the best player he has ever seen. I want to make sure he gets a college scholarship so I am considering sending him away to a tennis academy to make sure he gets the training he needs.

Can you tell me which academy you think will be best? Of course, he may end up turning professional instead, but I want to give him a good chance at a scholarship. Also, can you please give me the contact information for the coaches at Stanford, Virginia, Southern California, and any other teams you think might be good enough for him to play on?

I appreciate your help. He is 11 years old now and I'm afraid we may have started this process too late.

Letters similar to this have come across my computer from parents of players as young as eight and I know these parents are serious in their requests. Yes, it's gotten that competitive out there that parents worry about being in the forefront of recruiting, but it's not going to do anyone any good to start a process that is futile.

Do you remember what you were serious about at 10? I can guarantee it wasn't going to college and playing college tennis. Even the most talented and dedicated player at that age can easily decide a year later that they prefer soccer.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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