The “dos” and “don’ts” that could give you the advantage during your recruiting process
For any student-athlete, the recruiting process can be stressful, confusing, and simply difficult. Throw in that college tennis is an equivalency sport, which makes partial scholarships the norm, and even evaluating and comparing scholarship offers can be confusing. And if you’re confused about how to get recruited in tennis, follow these tips from the people who are experts in the recruiting process; college tennis coaches:
• Be Honest With Coaches
It’s always good advice to respond to every inquiry you receive from a coach or a school, even if you’re not interested in that college or program. That’s simply common courtesy and will help keep all your options open. However, if you’ve made your decision or know, no matter what, that you’re not interested in a particular school, be honest and upfront about your decision with other coaches. Remember that college coaches have limited time and budget for recruiting. And if they’re investing some of their time recruiting you, be honest about your intentions and don’t waste their time if you’re not interested in their school.
• Start Early
You can start assembling your recruiting profile and highlight/skills video, and then emailing college coaches, as early as your freshman year in high school. While coaches can’t contact you until before your junior year, starting early will allow you to hit the ground running and get yourself on the recruiting radars of as many coaches as possible.
• Ace Your Highlight/Skills Video
As noted above, given the ratio of tennis recruits to college coaches, most coaches need to maximize their recruiting time. And the best way to land on a coach’s recruiting radar is with a highlight/skills video. It doesn’t need to be professional quality, but it does need to show your talent and ability. Keep your primary video to three to four minutes, but be ready with additional video should a coach ask to see more.
• Make Yourself Easy To Recruit
When reaching out to a college coach, be sure to provide them with everything they need to assess you. That not only includes your highlight/skills video, but also a complete recruiting profile, contact information for you and your coaches, your entrance exam scores, and, if possible, an unofficial high school transcript. Remember that coaches are evaluating not only your tennis skills but also your ability to handle the academic demands of college. Make sure the information you provide paints the full picture of you, athletically and academically.
• Focus On Yourself, Not The Other Guys
While higher tennis rankings and ratings can get you noticed, don’t focus on where you stand. While those numbers are based on what you’ve done, most college coaches want to determine what you can do over the next four years. For all but the elite recruits, most coaches will assess you based on your “compete level” more than your ranking or rating.
• Make The Most Of A Campus Visit
When visiting a tennis program, consider everything. Yes, you want to get a feel for the tennis and training facilities, but be sure to ask questions, get a feel for the coach’s philosophy, and expectations, how the team interacts, and the school’s support for the program. Look around the campus and ask about academics and the admissions process. If possible, try to schedule a hit with a current team member. Try to determine where you might fit in the coach’s future plans and if the school and program might fit you. Finally, focus on making a good impression, be humble, and show that you can fit in with the team.
• Don’t Forget To Follow Up
After a visit, send a thank you note to the coach and, if you’re still interested in that school, reiterate why you want to attend that college and compete for that team. Even if you haven’t made up your mind, a post-visit follow-up is a good way to keep all your options open with every coach.
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