If you want to play college tennis, you need to get on coaches' radar as early as possible. Here are some ways to make the process easier.
1. Make a list of schools with tennis programs that interest you as a prospective player. Start at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) website. The ITA has rankings, results and news from all divisions of college tennis. For more information, visit the websites of the individual schools.
2. Establish contact with the coaches at schools on your list. According to NCAA rules, coaches are not allowed to contact players until after their junior year of high school. But that's way too late to begin the recruiting process. You need to get in touch with coaches sooner. Email is the preferred method. Keep it to a simple introduction at first.
3. Start a résumé. Your tennis résumé is different from one you would create for a job. Include your height, weight, whether you are left- or right-handed, your current coach's name and your high school. Also include a list of your tennis victories, highlighting important tournaments or wins over opponents ranked higher than you.
4. Enter your profile at Tennis Recruiting.net. This is a site coaches use to find information on players. It is a must for anyone who wants to play college tennis. You can start your profile at any age. The sooner the better. Once your profile is posted there, you'll be able to look back at all your tournament results.
5. Play as much as you can. You don't want to play to the point of injury or exhaustion, but it's important to get out on the courts and burnish your skills. College tennis is a year-round sport. The coaches are watching and making notes on players who show that they can stay fit and play all year.
6. Keep up your grades. Never forget that your goal is to be a student-athlete. You need grades good enough to get into the college of your choice. By your sophomore year, you should sit down with your guidance counselor and make sure you are taking the classes you need to get into college and are on the right track with your grades.