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View Full Version : Any former college players; help?


Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 03:43 PM
Okay I'm going into my senior year of high school, and I'll be playing D3 tennis after that. Any advice on how to prepare for it? I doubt I'll be seeing as many pushers as I do now and be playing against guys that can hit sharp angles, volley very well, and serve with good placement, which tend to be the three things that I struggle with the most. I'm from Ohio, so the competiton shouldn't be unbelievably difficult but I think it'll be a tough transition so is there anything I can do to really prepare for college other than play a couple USTAs and beg my coach for a stronger schedule (though we had a pretty touch schedule, played quite a few state powerhouses)? ;D

BU-Tennis
11-12-2009, 04:02 PM
The biggest tip I can think of, being a college player, is to not try and force yourself to be a better player. I was number one in my high school, but needless to say it isn't a very tough region. I went to play for my local D2 college and not surprisingly only played 3 doubles. But what i regret the most is I tried to play like the best players and forgot how I play myself. If you're a pusher, then you'll probably always be a pusher, or at least have those tendencies. But that doesn't mean you're not going to be as successful, its just you have to be better at what you do. Some of the top college players I saw did not hit any really spectacular shots, but they were definitely very consistent and played smart. When the opportunity arose to end the point they took it and most of the time succeeded.

Just learn at your own pace, and remember you have 4 years to become a better player. You'll really find that once you're out hitting with them every day and playing matches that you'll just improve naturally because you're beginning to learn what is working and what is not and be able to improve on those areas.

Blake0
11-12-2009, 04:07 PM
Not really a college player, or former one, but i'd suggest improving your weakness be it doubles, singles, volleys, backhands, or w/e. I'm pretty sure D3 coaches are looking for all around solid players. So be sure to be able to do everything well (in a consistent manner) under pressure and having a couple strengths (ex:serve) is a plus.

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 04:13 PM
The biggest tip I can think of, being a college player, is to not try and force yourself to be a better player. I was number one in my high school, but needless to say it isn't a very tough region. I went to play for my local D2 college and not surprisingly only played 3 doubles. But what i regret the most is I tried to play like the best players and forgot how I play myself. If you're a pusher, then you'll probably always be a pusher, or at least have those tendencies. But that doesn't mean you're not going to be as successful, its just you have to be better at what you do. Some of the top college players I saw did not hit any really spectacular shots, but they were definitely very consistent and played smart. When the opportunity arose to end the point they took it and most of the time succeeded.

Just learn at your own pace, and remember you have 4 years to become a better player. You'll really find that once you're out hitting with them every day and playing matches that you'll just improve naturally because you're beginning to learn what is working and what is not and be able to improve on those areas.

Actually, I have 6 and a half (this is my senior year, a few months till this spring and then one year til my first season, which I plan to redshirt) so I essentially have 2 1/2 years before I'll play a college tennis match. And yeah, I do "push", but I do it well and I know how to play defensively very well, I can return just about anything with good spin and pace and hit winners when I need to if I get an easy putaway, and if there's anything I've learned from sports, is that if you master your trade, you can succeed. It's just a matter of being better at what you do than your opponent at what they do.

With that being said, I've been invited to practice with a couple teams this winter, so once the players on the team get done with their practices, I can work with the coaches, so 2 1/2 years practicing indoors with former D1 players and ATP/WTA coaches will be invaluable. I know I can succeed, I just wanted some insight of what it was like.

@Blake0: I have a few strengths. College coaches I've worked with over the last month or so love my athleticism, love the way I can mix up spins and take my opponent's strengths from them, my forehand, and how smart of a person I am and my ability to learn fairly quickly (I think it took me about 2 days how to hit a 1hbh) so I have quite a bit of upside if I do say so myself ;D

Blake0
11-12-2009, 04:18 PM
Actually, I have 6 and a half (this is my senior year, a few months till this spring and then one year til my first season, which I plan to redshirt) so I essentially have 2 1/2 years before I'll play a college tennis match. And yeah, I do "push", but I do it well and I know how to play defensively very well, I can return just about anything with good spin and pace and hit winners when I need to if I get an easy putaway, and if there's anything I've learned from sports, is that if you master your trade, you can succeed. It's just a matter of being better at what you do than your opponent at what they do.

With that being said, I've been invited to practice with a couple teams this winter, so once the players on the team get done with their practices, I can work with the coaches, so 2 1/2 years practicing indoors with former D1 players and ATP/WTA coaches will be invaluable. I know I can succeed, I just wanted some insight of what it was like.

@Blake0: I have a few strengths. College coaches I've worked with over the last month or so love my athleticism, love the way I can mix up spins and take my opponent's strengths from them, my forehand, and how smart of a person I am and my ability to learn fairly quickly (I think it took me about 2 days how to hit a 1hbh) so I have quite a bit of upside if I do say so myself ;D

Oh, i'm not saying you don't, i have no clue. But all i'm saying is that college coaches want overall solid players..that are good at everything, if you are good at everything with a couple weapons, you're good to go. Then all you need to do is just go out and do practice drills like you mentioned, don't forget working out.

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 04:22 PM
Oh, i'm not saying you don't, i have no clue. But all i'm saying is that college coaches want overall solid players..that are good at everything, if you are good at everything with a couple weapons, you're good to go. Then all you need to do is just go out and do practice drills like you mentioned, don't forget working out.

I work out still =]. I do have a few weaknesses though. I have serves with good pace and spin, but the consistency is a little shaky. I struggle to return serves well on a consistent basis, and I'm an average volleyer; great reaction time and I can make those really tough gets, but over longer periods of time, it doesn't suit me. I've tried SnV to kill two birds with one stone and when I play with my friends, sometimes I let them serve the whole match to improve my return ability, so I think I'll be able to touch up those areas over the next few months while I decide what school I'm going to. I mean I can choose from 3 or 4 schools where, if I went there, I would have a spot on the team and be paying minimum/no tuition between FAFSA, academic scholarships, and coaches "putting in a good word" for me to get approved for non-academic or athletic scholarships.

LeeD
11-12-2009, 04:28 PM
Just play as if you're gonna turn pro at 20.
6 daze a week, minimum 3 hours each, play matches and all the tournies around you. Play guys a level above, so be nice and supply balls. Play all your teamates now. And don't forget to train your body too.....

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 04:36 PM
LOL! My teammates could really care less about tennis honestly. I'm the only one that takes it seriously. In fact, I've arranged a team meeting for Monday after school and I doubt half the team will show. As for tournies, cash is pretty short so I can't really buy in to them, but I do practice every day and get matches when I can, although they're in shorter supply nowadays seeing as it's 50 degrees every day in my town.

SourStraws
11-12-2009, 04:48 PM
OP, how long have you been playing for?

S.S.

Rambler124
11-12-2009, 05:31 PM
Good match play drill for you if you need to work on serve consistancy from a mental standpoint (Just overall fun imo as well):

Find someone to play singles with. You serve one full set. Your opponent is the returner and has 10 "Free" points he can use wherever he wants. So it could go like this:

Game 1: You win two points in a row to go up 30-0 and your opponent decides to use 4 points here and takes the game from you.

Game 2: You go down 0-30. Win the next point 15-30. Win the next point 30-30. Opponent decides to take two free points here and goes up 0-2 in the set.

This make sense? Its a hell of a lot of pressure and makes it a lot of fun to work on your serve. I suppose you could do the same thing while working returns as well?

Anyways, just an idea.

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 06:01 PM
OP, how long have you been playing for?

S.S.

About a year now. It's not a very long time, I know, but I figure I have 2 1/2 years to practice before I'll even play a college match and I'll be more than ready given my practice habits and (like I said) I learn fairly quickly. I'm almost on par with a teammate of mine who's been playing 6 years (he's not exceptionally good, but he played 1st singles last year and me and him split sets quite a bit), so I think I can make a contribution to a college. Obviously not D1 or D2 but ive gotten to a low 4.5 level with multiple hours of practice every day and I still have a lot of room to improve.

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 06:04 PM
Good match play drill for you if you need to work on serve consistancy from a mental standpoint (Just overall fun imo as well):

Find someone to play singles with. You serve one full set. Your opponent is the returner and has 10 "Free" points he can use wherever he wants. So it could go like this:

Game 1: You win two points in a row to go up 30-0 and your opponent decides to use 4 points here and takes the game from you.

Game 2: You go down 0-30. Win the next point 15-30. Win the next point 30-30. Opponent decides to take two free points here and goes up 0-2 in the set.

This make sense? Its a hell of a lot of pressure and makes it a lot of fun to work on your serve. I suppose you could do the same thing while working returns as well?

Anyways, just an idea.

Yeah I get it lol. 10 points is a lot tho thats enough to take 2 1/2 sets! Id have to fight the urge to dink serve him haha.

Rambler124
11-12-2009, 06:06 PM
Yeah I get it lol. 10 points is a lot tho thats enough to take 2 1/2 sets! Id have to fight the urge to dink serve him haha.

10 points. Not 10 games.

Falloutjr
11-12-2009, 06:23 PM
10 points. Not 10 games.

I know i meant to say games I'm slow tonight haha

ttbrowne
11-12-2009, 07:22 PM
The coach wants strong players but he also wants to see how you can overcome your weaknesses and still win. D3 players still have a lot to work on but it doesn't mean they can't play smart.

goran_ace
11-13-2009, 10:18 AM
Play as many tournaments as possible and then also matches regularly against adults. See if you can join or at least be a sub in a men's 4.0 league at your club.

Kick_It
11-13-2009, 08:38 PM
1) Matchplay

Play as many competitive and high level matches as you can; you've got to get used to playing and winning under pressure and in a variety of circumstances. You should be winning in top level age group juniors and competing in men's open tournaments.

2) Develop sound/solid efficient footwork patterns for court coverage

3) Work on your conditioning and fitness.

Rambler124
11-14-2009, 02:46 PM
When I got ready for college I did exactly what has been stated here. Played.

Matches, matches, matches.

Worked on a few strokes and technique but really worked my mental side of things by working with what I had and adding some more match toughness to my game.

At Division 3 you will see it all. Pushers, hackers, scramblers, big hitters, and guys that you swear should have been playing D1 as well. So playing pretty much anyone will get you in shape for that kind of tennis imo.

alidisperanza
11-15-2009, 09:05 AM
Didn't really get a chance to read most of the post but the best thing you can do is train... and train hard.

Get your physical endurance, agility, and footwork at the best it can be. These are things you can do by yourself and don't need a team or partner to accomplish.

Start speed work with a jump rope, it will really help you out. try 10 minutes than up it to 15 then so on so forth until you can get a good 25mins of consistent rope work. It will work wonders and also is very calming.

Take the time to hone skills that you can work on by your self. Serve hundreds and hundreds of balls. This is a free weapon for you. Grab a basket of balls and work out your serve so that the risks of double faulting are minimal. Then slowly up the speed of that serve till the gap between your 1st and second is marginal. Practice different types of serves in all different conditions. Playing out doors is a craps-shoot depending on the day. Get used to serving in the sun.

Chances are if you're serious about tennis you'll get a real great opportunity playing for a school. If you have a good coach he'll work on maximising your strengths and minimizing your weaknesses. You'll be playing tennis every day and will meet team-mates that love the sport as much as you do.

best of luck!