American university tennis scholarships are becoming a reality for many British players. Something which wasn’t fully understood a few years ago is now firmly in the mindset of the majority. Whether it’s players who want to turn pro, get a free education, simply enjoy the team aspect of tennis or are purely following the sunshine! There truly is something for everyone. Which leads us to the next obstacle, how do we find whats right for me?
We are all different. Every player has a slightly different twist on what they are looking for. Indoor tennis, balanced schedule, play #1 on the team, pay little, great academics, laid back coach. How do you find the place that meets all or most of the criteria you are looking for? How do you wade through the 800 college teams and find the one that is the best fit for you and equally important has an open spot on the roster, scholarship, and interest in you?
Choosing the best placement firm for your particular situation is the first step in a successful college tennis recruitment process.
How best to do that?
Ask around and talk to players who have used different firms in the past. There are a lot out there , some good and some bad, so you want to make sure you find the right one for you. Talk to the firm and ask specific questions, get a read of how much they really know about tennis and in particular British tennis rankings/ratings. Some cover every sport and every nationality, do they understand your unique goals, strengths, and limitations as a player and student?
How will a balanced schedule help me as a tennis player? Should I look for the strongest conference with the strongest schedule or will that slow my development? What coaches would you recommend and why? If I have an eligibility issue will you work with the coach to fight for a waiver? How can you sell me if I haven’t yet reached my potential but clearly have ability? Will you write an assessment of my game? Will you be honest with my choices or get me to sign anywhere even if its not the right fit?
Do the coaches trust your judgment of a players game? What pastoral care do you offer when I’m over there? If I want to go pro what would you advise with placement? Can I speak to you on a daily basis if required? Do I only look at ranked teams or are the rankings misleading? If my rating is low because I live in an area with few tournaments and I haven’t played ITF’s because I cant afford it, how can I sell myself? What technical/tactical things do coaches look for in videos?
If a UK based coach recommends a firm to you, check if they are working on commission for the firm they’ve recommended. Why are they recommending the firm to you? For the commission or because they trust the firm will do a good job?
Make sure to do your homework and ask questions, if you do, the NCAA hurdles you jump over will be a little less daunting.