When it comes to college tennis recruiting, many of the best colleges recruit players with modest skill levels. Don’t sell yourself short!Of course, Tennis Coaches are interested in your abilities on the court. While playing on your high school team can be good practice and fun, college coaches are much more interested in your performance in USTA tournaments. They can learn a lot from your USTA rating and ranking, but most coach’s will want more detailed information as well.
They get this a few different ways. A third party evaluation can provide a written analysis of your skills and a well made recruitment video can showcase your mechanics, footwork and strokes. Whenever possible, coaches will want to see you play in person. Most coaches have a few tournaments and showcases they attend to scout players and they may have a camp on their own campus during the summer. Making an official athletic visit to the college can also give the coach and the team a chance to get to know you.
2. Academic Record
While coaches want to put together a winning team, every coach will evaluate your academic record before recruiting you. Many of the best colleges in the country recruit players with intermediate level tennis skills, however those same colleges will require athletes to have a academic record similar to non-athletes at the college. Coaches will review your transcript for both the rigor of your your curriculum and grade point average. They will also require standardized test scores, either the SAT or ACT, and some of the most selective colleges will require SAT subject tests.
Every coach understands the academic statistics that their college’s admission office expects from his or her players individually and as a whole team. When they decide who to recruit, they are always trying to balance the quality of players with the quality of their academic records. What this means is that after the coach determines your skill level, the better your academic record, the more likely you are to be recruited.
3. Passion For The Game and College
No matter what your skill level is, Coaches want to recruit students who have a real passion for playing tennis. Coaches work closely with the admissions office and they know that the athletes they recruit hardest are very likely to be admitted. This is a lot of power at colleges that receive thousands of applications and admit just a small fraction of those applicants. While coaches have this power they do not want to abuse it. They want to recruit students who are serious about playing on the team and not just using their ability as a “hook” to get in to the college.
Although it can sometimes be genuine, coaches do not like when a player they recruited reconsiders their desire to play tennis and decides to “focus on school.” instead. It does not make them look good when that happens because they now need to recruit a new player to fill that slot and take a seat away from another deserving applicant. Similarly, coaches do not like when they recruit players that choose to go elsewhere. This also makes them look bad if they pushed hard to get you in and then you don’t come. When coaches interview you, they will always want to know why you want to come to their college rather than another that recruits players with a similar skill level and academic record.
4. Mental Toughness and Sportsmanship
Beyond your ability, your academic record and your desire to attend and play, coaches want to know how you carry yourself on the court. Games between evenly matched players often come down to who is mentally the strongest. Coaches want to know how you think during a match and how well you understand the game. They are looking for those with “true grit”. How you respond when you are down in a match or get a bad call is important. Do you lose your temper and focus or are you able to remain calm and adjust your strategy? And while it may be cliche to say so, being able to win and lose with respect for your opponent and the game is very important.
5. Team Fit
When coaches recruit a player, they are choosing somebody they are going to spend a lot of time with over the next 4 years. They are looking for students who are coachable and nice to be with when traveling and eating together. Relationships with coaches begin over the phone and e-mail and develop with in-person meetings. All other things being equal, a good rapport with a coach and the team can definitely help you get recruited.
Princeton College Consulting is proud to offer the premier college admission and Tennis Recruitment program in New Jersey. Our guidance is designed to maximize the probability that all students will earn admission to their top choice colleges.
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