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Are you a high school tennis athlete with collegiate dreams? Then it's imperative you start playing in USTA sanctioned tournaments—especially if you're not currently playing in a yearlong program. (Proactively recruit yourself: here's how.)
The USTA (United States Tennis Association) is the governing body for tennis in the United States. From the professional ranks all the way to amateur players, the USTA is the authority on the game. College coaches from Division I down to NAIA look at a player's USTA ranking as a baseline requirement before seeing him or her in action. (Work on your skills with tennis training drills.)
For athletes not familiar with USTA events, points are awarded based on how far you advance in a tournament. The further you advance, the more points you receive—and points build up your ranking. Depending on the tournament, points go toward sectional or national rankings.
Success in USTA tournaments can be vital for coaches when they determine how to allocate their tennis scholarships.
A higher ranking shows coaches that an athlete is playing and succeeding against high-level competition. Coaches also use USTA tournaments as a tool to gauge athletes against other potential recruits.
Think of it as a résumé of sorts. As you continue to play in tournaments, seeking out tournaments with better competition will continue to enhance your standing. If you are not actively participating in USTA tournaments, you are putting yourself further behind your competition in the race for the limited number of tennis scholarships that are available.