Having the right information at the right time will make a Junior players future a lot less daunting. Maintaining options both academically and athletically will help maximize your potential. A great way to keep all options open is to consider American University tennis scholarships.
Of course with anything this good there are rules and the NCAA rules are some of the most complicated around. So not to make a mistake or feel overwhelmed, reserve your seat at any one of the free presentations this summer. You don’t have to make your decision now about America but you do need to make sure you are on track.
I interviewed a player who had originally spoken to Tennis Smart but chose to place himself. He is a top British player who had no one to guide him through the eligibility process or advise which set up would be the best for him. Don’t make the same mistakes
Did you speak to any placement firms regarding placement
I spoke to Tennis Smart briefly before I started the process. ( Tennis Smart made it very clear that there would be academic issues but with so many coaches showing interest and promising the world, the player believed the process would be easy. This isn’t always the case)
If so, why did you choose not to use the placement firm?
Felt that is was money not needed to be spent as I knew other guys who had done it alone successfully. ( Very rare to find someone who chooses a University which covers all of their needs and meets their financial requirements)
Did you find the registration process stressful?
Not until the very end when eligibility problems started to appear. ( Something which would have been highlighted if a placement firm was used and the problems prevented. Full eligibility was possible.)
Did you get full eligibility or were their problems?
There were problems, due to school I’ve lost a whole year of playing. (Without fully understanding the British academic system, no one pre-empted the issues and by the time they figured it out, it was too late)
Did you negotiate a good scholarship?
A very good one considering the eligibility issues. (Possibilities of scholarship decreasing due to eligibility issues, another problem which can arise)
The school you chose, was it everything you thought it would be? If not, why not?
Not particularly. Wasn’t enjoying it at the start, wasn’t as good as everyone made it out to be for various reasons (program and housing) but things smoothed out and they’re a lot better now at the end of the semester.
If you had to redo, would you ask for help? If yes, how would it have helped your case?
Yes. Placed in a school fit for your needs and wants. Don’t have to worry about the process of it all as its done for you. Making sure I had someone who understands the British schooling so problems could be sorted out before they arose and I could have had my 4 years with a guarantee of same scholarship for my whole college career.
This player could quite easily have had 4 full years of eligibility but no one pre-empted the problems. Many American Universities don’t understand the British system and therefore can’t change academic timelines to prevent issues. The player also could have ended up at a school with a far bigger budget and more potential to excel. It is very difficult when you have many people selling you a product, it can become difficult to make a decision. Thats why it is important to have someone there who understands the system and also knows exactly who to trust and why to trust them.
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.
Welcome to Tennis Smart. I will be blogging and You Tubing on this page regarding Brits in college and those on the Tour. If you need to find out academic rule information, I will be updating all rule changes whenever needed. Spread the word and keep Brits in school!