College Tennis

Playing College Tennis is a dream for most junior tennis players. In this article I want to take a closer look at the college experience to help players and parents get an idea of what it is all about.

Combining Education With Tennis Ambition!

Divisions

College Sports is divided into divisions. What division a school is in depends on how much money they want to put into their sports programs.

The NCAA is the major athletic association and its schools are divided into three Divisions. The schools putting the most money into sports are in Division I. Usually they provide lots of scholarships and have big athletic complexes. In Division II there is still considerable money given out in forms of scholarships but the athletic program and complex is quite a bit smaller in general. In Division III no scholarships can be awarded and it is basically for schools that want to have a very inexpensive athletic program.

In addition there is also the NAIA. NAIA schools are smaller schools and oftentimes the eligibility requirements are not as strong in the NAIA. Therefore you can find sometimes find some of the strongest players in college tennis on NAIA teams!

The size of the school and the sports program does not necessarily tell you how strong their tennis team is though. Some Division II and NAIA schools are stronger than some Division I schools!

Scholarships

If you are a good tennis player, you can get a scholarship in return for playing for a college team. If you are a very good player, that could mean getting a top-notch education at a school like Stanford for example, which would otherwise cost a small fortune!

The amount of scholarships a school can give to tennis players on their teams depends on the division that the school is in.

Men’s Tennis:

  • Division I: 4.5 scholarships
  • Division II: 4.5 scholarships
  • Division III: 0 scholarships
  • NAIA: 5 scholarships

Women’s Tennis:

  • Division I: 8 scholarships
  • Division II: 6 scholarships
  • Division III: 0 scholarships
  • NAIA: 5 scholarships

Since women’s tennis is classified as a head count sport, all the scholarships offered are full-ride scholarships. In men’s tennis on the other hand, the coach can split up the scholarships between a large number of players. He can for example give one player a 50% scholarship and another player a 70% scholarship.


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College Coaches

The coaches are the ones responsible for recruiting players and managing the teams. If you want to play Tennis in College, I believe it is very important that you look for a coach that you believe you can get along well with.

Coaches of course differ a lot in personality as well as in tennis knowledge. From my experience most college coaches focus on managing the team, motivating players, and getting them in great shape. It is rare that coaches will try to make major changes to a tennis players game in college!

Eligibility

In order to be allowed to play for a college team, every player needs to meet certain eligibility requirements. Schools basically want to know that you will perform academically as well as athletically. This is in their own interest because if a college tennis team for example does not meet certain academic guidelines, then the NCAA will reduce the number of scholarships available!

Therefore it is really important for schools that certain academic standards are met by their student-athletes!

If you want to play in Division I or Division II, then you need to be certified by the NCAA Eligibility Centre. In general athletes have 4 years of athletic eligibility which they need to complete within 5 college years!

Professional Tennis versus College Tennis

A lot of very strong junior tennis players hesitate about playing college tennis because they want to follow their dream and try to play link: professional tennis.

The reality though is that there are very few juniors who should even be thinking about pro tennis. Nowadays the average age in the Top100 in the men’s game is something like 26 or 27 and most players don’t reach the Top100 until they are about 22 years old.

Also playing college tennis has become a great option for players who might have pro level talent but are not quite ready for the pro game. Going to college allows players to mature as a person and to have a few more years to work on being ready for the grind of the professional game!

So unless you are as successful as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic were at the age of 18, then I suggest you consider playing for a college as your primary option!

NCAA Championships:

Winning the NCAA championships is a dream for most college tennis players. College Tennis is known for its great atmosphere with a lot of cheering which is quite unusual for tennis in general.

Especially the atmosphere at the NCAA tournament is quite intense and even some players that went on to a successful professional career have said that their greatest tennis memories are from their college years!

USC Winning The 2011 NCAA Championships
What A Great Atmosphere!

If you want more information and possibly advice on what it takes to play College Tennis, I highly recommend you check out Wamsports.com by clicking on the link below. They are experts at consulting in this area!

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