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Countdown: Coach Roundtable on College Transfers (Part 2)
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Every year, a good number of college tennis players transfer from one university to another. Last month, we asked our panel of college coaches about the phenomenon of transferring, and they weighed in in this article. Today we have responses from several more coaches...

 

Q) Why do so many college athletes transfer? What can be done to minimize the chances of giving up on a program - and what should high school players do to ensure a good fit?

 

Gregory Wyzkowski, head coach, Seton Hall Women

A high school student can make a list of items that are important. It is great to find schools that will offer everything on their lists - but that is not always the case. Be honest and truthful to yourself regarding the things that are very important in choosing a school. As an example a student might say academics are very important yet choose a school that is not as good academically as other schools on their list.

Think about the movie the Wizard of Oz. At the end of the movie the wizard is telling Dorothy not to look at the man behind the curtain. When they did look, the illusion was gone, and the reality came to the surface. Official visits can sometimes be more illusion than reality. Find out what a normal day is like as a student at that campus. How is it eating in the cafeteria every day versus off campus restaurants. How does a student get to class, cafeteria, and training facilities? There might be excellent facilities on campus but many miles away from other student life such as attending class. How long does it take to get there? Who provides the transportation?

Try to meet your future teammates when you visit the campus. They can share unrehearsed stories of everyday life as a student. Can you see yourself enjoying that same experience? Try to make a decision based on all the real everyday facts. If you like your teammates, enjoy the school visit, the location, and feel you are capable of academic and team training schedule, then hopefully it will be the school from which you will graduate - not the one from which you will transfer.

 

Nicole Selvaggio, head coach, Moraine Valley CC Women

Just like no two serve techniques are exactly the same, I believe no two player situations are exactly the same either. There could be a number of reasons players quit tennis - from an overbearing job commitment to wanting to spend more time focusing on their studies.

Where we, as coaches, play a role in this comes from how much this reason has to do with tennis itself. If players are quitting the team because of feeling burned out or experiencing a bad team atmosphere, this is, in my opinion, the real problem. As the head coach, I strive to make my players feel as comfortable as possible in our school environment. The team culture I maintain is one of a family-atmosphere - my girls work hard on the court, but I also try to make sure that they have fun, too.

When all is said and done, however, I am in a unique position. As an NJCAA Division I Coach, my aim is to eventually get my players to transfer onto four-year universities. I believe this is very different from the transfer notion in the initial question, but it is still "transferring" nonetheless.

A lot of times, players do not want to leave a job or move away from home right out of high school. Playing at the JUCO level gives these players a chance to still play competitive tennis while working toward their degree. Even though these players are not far from home, my aim is still to provide them a good home for the two years they play for me, and then an extension of home when I help them transfer. It really is the best of both worlds - especially for players coming straight out of high school. Not every 17- or 18-year-old knows what the best "fit" is for her. Starting at the JUCO level and then transferring at the completion of an Associate's Degree could prevent players from making multiple transfer decisions if they choose a school right out of high school that was never the right fit in the first place. I cannot even begin to stress how much money, time, and stress this saves players, too! So, when it comes to down to it, the best and most honest advice I can give to high school players is to not rush the recruiting process or feel pressure to do too much right away; take the time to think about all the intangibles.

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