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Recruiting 101
Spring Signing Week '17: Realistic Expectations When Choosing a College
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You might not remember that first time you picked up a racket and hit a perfect shot, but it's safe to say your parents do. It was at that moment they were thinking about what you could do with lessons; whether or not you would be a tennis star; or, at least, if there was a college scholarship in your future.

It's a lot different when you are in your teens. One great shot is not good enough. By now you and your parents probably know that you aren't going straight to the pros. It's college tennis you are looking at, but just like that moment when you realized you weren't Rafael Nadal or Serena Williams, you need to keep your expectations realistic when it comes to where you are going to play college tennis.

Just like it's never good for a writer to be the only person proofreading her own work, a tennis player is not the best judge of his or her own ability. When it comes time to start looking at schools you want to play for, you need to gather some objective opinions - that means opinions that are not coming from you or your parents. It's good to have confidence in yourself, but reality is just as important. As for your parents, it's always hard for people to be objective when it comes to assessing their own children, and there is nothing wrong with that. We all think our children are the best.

So, how do you come down to reality when it comes to where you will fit in college tennis? It's a combination of things. Here are some factors in no particular order:

 

Rankings

It's been said before that rankings are not a full indication of how a player is going to perform on a college tennis team, and that still remains the truth. However, taking a look at your sectional, national, international, and TRN ranking is definitely part of the formula. If you can't make it into the Top 10 of any of these, looking at a school with a Top 10 program is not going to be practical unless there are extreme extenuating circumstances (e.g., you were injured the last six months and had a high ranking before the injury).

 

Your coach

When it comes to getting you ready for a tournament, your coach should build up your confidence while working on your weaknesses. He will stand by that court and help you believe you have everything it takes to beat whomever you are playing, regardless of how much better he may be on paper than you are. When it comes to looking at colleges, you want your coach to be completely honest about what he believes you can and can't accomplish. Ask him point blank - and accept that this is someone who knows your game and your personality.

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Page updated on Monday, March 11, 2019
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