Any student athlete who goes to college and competes in tennis along with working toward and achieving a degree gets the best of all worlds. In our society today an education is a requirement. If a student can work toward that goal and along the way play one of the greatest games ever created then they are blessed.
After college tennis can continue and provide benefits for individuals in all walks of life. The health aspect along with the “socializing” associated with tennis can provide contacts in both work and social settings. It is truly a “lifetime” sport.
At Concord our priorities are academics, athletics, and social. These translate in life to work, family and fun. The plan is the same, the words have changed but the results can be ever so exciting.
Come play tennis at Concord University.
Athens, West Virginia 24712
The big complaint surrounding college tennis today is in regard to the number of international players on the teams. I honestly believe that most college coaches, especially small colleges, try to recruit American players. One prominent coach is Jody Davis of Coastal Carolina and of course Luke Jensen of Syracuse. Those are two division 1 programs but most coaches like me, in small Division 2 schools, would give their best to put American kids on their team.
I think that the hold-up is this. Most international kids market themselves better than most American kids do. They prepare videos and resumes and they contact the coaches first. Nothing feels better to a coach as when a recruit expresses their desire to be a part of their team. So here are 4 of my suggestions to the aspiring American junior who wishes to play college tennis:
1) Build a resume. There are many formats of resume out there. Make sure you get one that is easy to read and highlights your accomplishments without too much “fluff”. Coaches are busy people so don’t waste their time. Make it short and sweet. Make sure you put down all your tennis accomplishments and also your GPA and SAT scores. It will eliminate a lot of questions very quickly and the coach can then determine whether you will fit with their school.
2) Produce a video. With the technology these days, it is rather easy to come up with a video of yourself. Make sure you do two things on the video. First, make sure you film yourself playing matches or points. Secondly, stay away from too much editing and staging of the process. A match video works best. Send a DVD or even a link to your website or you tube video.
3) Contact the coaches of colleges that you are interested in. Do not send out mass emails. Take the time to write out a thoughtful email or better yet, a handwritten letter. I have deleted many emails in my life but I am yet to delete a handwritten letter from a recruit! Specify why you would like to join their particular program. And why you would be an asset to their team. Attach your resume along with the video.
4) Feel free to call the coaches. Coaches are free to receive all the calls they want from recruits but they are only allowed to make one phone call per week to each recruit. Do not be bashful. Ask the coaches if they are still interested. Ask them if you will fit in the team. Ask if you can come for a visit. If you like the school enough, show up to a match. Watch the team play and react to different situations.
Along with this, here are 4 things not to do when attempting to market yourself:
1) Don’t make your parents do the work. Do it yourself. Build your own resume. Write your own letters. Make your own phone calls. Nothing makes a coaches’ heart jump more than a phone call from a recruit and nothing annoys a coach more than talking to parents who are trying to sell their kids.
2) Don’t play the recruiting game. If you find out that a particular school is not for you, let them know so as quickly as you can. Don’t drag them along.
3) Don’t ask for a full ride or any scholarships at the beginning of your conversations. Get to know the coach and the players and the school. After you have built a relationship with the coach and you are admitted to the school, then comes the time to decide about financial aid. Coaches have limited money and they aren’t going to give out free money to a stranger. They must feel comfortable with you enough to where they want to have you on their team for four years!
4) Don’t play yourself up. That’s the job of your resume. Be humble. Coaches have many contacts and resources to really find out how good you are. If they are interested, they will know how good you are especially in Division 2 when you can have a try-out. Your job is to find out whether the school and coach is a good fit for you.
So, basically, my advice to all you young guns out there is to be proactive. Do not live in a fantasy world that some college coach will come along and offer you a full ride. Scholarships are out there but there are not many full rides, especially for the guys. Do your best and be proactive. A coach cannot recruit you if they don’t even know you exist! All the best!
Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach
300 E College Avenue
Hartsville SC 29550
(843) 383-8076 (office)