Getting a college tennis scholarship: 5 tips.

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by lendl1986, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. lendl1986

    lendl1986 Rookie

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    I interviewed recruiter Ross Greenstein for my blog and he offered these tips to parents and kids with the goal of securing a scholarship at the school of their choice:

    • Start early. Have your child attend practices and camps at local universities as early as 7th and 8th grade, to get to know the college coaches there.
    • Let the kids do the talking. Your kid should send out the emails and make the phone calls to college coaches. Not you.
    • Non-elite players do get scholarships. Having a major coach as an advocate can influence schools to offer you a scholarship based on your potential.
    • The #1 factor in a college’s decision? The interview. Be certain that your kid knows and is liked by the coaches and players prior to the interview.
    • The number one payoff of a scholarship isn’t money. It’s connections. College is a great opportunity to build friendships and business relationships with powerful students and alumni.

    The full interview:

    What’s the very first thing a parent should do to start the process and when?

    Ross: Around 7th, 8th, and 9th grade, go watch a college tennis match or team practice. Get a feel for the level of play and the atmosphere and get your face in front of local coaches. Camps on college campuses during the summer are another way to get the attention of coaches. Most Americans live within 60 minutes of a campus with a tennis team, so you don’t need to fly to one of the major programs to get a taste of college tennis and introduce yourself to coaches.

    In 10th grade, kids should make a list of the colleges they’re interested in. This list might change over time depending on the kid’s academics and tennis needs, but it’s good to get 5-10 schools on paper. Then put together a proper resume and email those coaches. Ask what grades and what level of tennis the coaches are looking for. Some programs have really high standards, and as your grades and tennis scores start to accumulate in your 10th year, you’ll start to learn which programs you have a realistic chance to join, and you can start to really focus on those particular schools.


    What’s the most common mistake you see parents make when getting their child recruited?

    Ross: There’s a couple.

    First, not having their kids start early. Take your kids in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades to college tennis matches and introduce them to coaches. So definitely start early. I’ve seen parents assume that their kids tennis will become so fantastic in high school that colleges will be beating down their door. And it rarely works out that way, so make those first contacts before high school even begins.

    So keep your kids on a schedule, but it shouldn’t be you making the calls and the emails. Your kid needs to be the one doing those things. It’s their job interview.


    How does a kid without a “bluechip” tennis ranking, but a lot of potential, get recruited?

    Ross: Get the attention of a local college coach who will become his or her advocate. Go to college matches and practices. Attend summer camps at college universities. Maybe coaches will give you a lesson. If your kid has a lot of raw potential, he or she will catch the eye of coaches there.

    You just need one coach who believes in you. Even if you’re not good enough to play at his university, he can get on the phone, call other schools and say “hey, I’ve got this kid I’ve been working with…great work ethic…great attitude…mentally solid…you should have a look at her.”


    What % of kids get into their #1 choice of school? And what’s the #1 factor for getting into that #1 choice?

    Ross: First, it’s about being realistic about your list of schools. Everyone wants to go to Stanford, USC, and Harvard. If your tests scores, grades, and tennis performance don’t match up then you’re wasting your time.

    But assuming you’ve chosen the schools that match your academics and tennis scores, the number one factor is definitely the interview with the coach. By the time you’re face-to-face with the coach, you obviously have the academics and tennis they’re looking for. At that point, it comes down to whether or not they like you. Do their existing players know and like you? Do they want to spend the next 4 years with you? And to pass these interviews, it’s just absolutely critical that you’ve already spent time on their courts with their coaches and players.


    What percentage of parents ever get their investment in their child’s tennis back in the form of a college scholarship?

    Ross: Virtually none. I suppose some kids have sponsors to help pay. But if the average kid starts at age 10 there’s no way a scholarship is going to offset coaching, court fees, travel fees, and other things that go into a nationally ranked junior tennis player. So you can’t look at tennis as a net positive investment of money.


    So what’s the ultimate payoff of securing a college tennis scholarship?

    Ross: Relationships and networking. The education and the tennis is great, but the relationships you build with kids at schools like USC, Ivy League schools, etc. are hugely valuable. In fact, even the kids and the parents you meet at national tournaments starting at age 10 are very well connected. They own businesses, they work at the top of corporations like Adidas, Microsoft, Wilson, and Nike. You can get interesting, well paying jobs just by being friendly with the powerful people you meet in your tennis career from age 10 to 22!


    Yeah, we had a kid sweep the high school state championships all 4 years. He chose a small school called Claremont McKenna, which wasn’t known for its tennis, but more known for producing hedge fund managers.

    A lot of high school kids are realizing that their tennis sets up a great future in business. Harvard is usually at the top of kids’ lists because they know about Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and the chances to work at the biggest companies in the world.

    It’s ironic because these kids already have access to the kind of connected people they hope to meet at Harvard. They’re at junior tennis tournaments.
     
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  2. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the article.

    Just wondering though if some of the things in the article are allowed by NCAA rules.
     
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  3. Chemist

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    Nice insights from Ross!:idea: I heard that Ross could also arrange to have a potential recruit, who he manages, hit with college player off campus. We have been to so many national tournaments but never thought about asking other parents what they do, if they are the owners or board members of a big company, which college (an Ivy, Stanford, USC???) they attended, whether they are the relatives of Bill Gates.......:roll: We still get a year and half to catch up... Maybe paying Ross a few hundred $ to provide us with some leads - who the powerful people are at the tournaments:):)
     
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  4. rodrigoamaral

    rodrigoamaral Hall of Fame

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    Very good article.. also very important is how the player gets along with the team members and give him a few days to hang out with them before committing to see if there is any comraderie there..
     
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  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Having seen several juniors pass through my club over the years and get some kind of college scholarship, and having seen both those who took lots of lessons and those who were coached by their parents, I have one question. When people say that college scholarship does not provide the return on investment in the financial sense, what is being compared?

    Isn't it the case that many families can afford some lessons, stringing, tournaments for their kid on an incremental basis month after month, but would find coming up with the big money for college at the end of high school to be the main issue? And the tennis expenses are spread out and not subject to the kind of tuition fees hikes which far outpace inflation?

    If that is true, then college scholarship is a good deal, right?
     
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  6. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    For parents who look upon college scholarships as a return on investment, there is a better chance that it turns out positive for girls than boys.

    Pretty easy for each family to do their own math.

    For Ivies and D3 the return is zero for both boys and girls. (To the extent that tennis gets a kid into a school that has an academic level the kid wouldn't have otherwise qualified for, there is a whole other set of calculations I guess).

    If in-state tuition/room/board is $10,000 per year, and a boy gets .5--.7, that's $20,000--$28,000. Make that the numerator, with the total junior tennis expenses as the denominator. Anything over 1 represents a positive return, anything less than 1 is a negative return.

    If out-of-state tuition/private school tuition--rb is $40,000 per year............well anyone can do the math.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  7. Chemist

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    Agree!

    Can I guess that parents would spend about $20,000 a year (lessons, clinics, tennis gears, travelling costs etc) for at least 5 years for a kid to play D1 tennis. This is $100,000 total. We spent 50% more than this, mainly due to our "point chasing":). For a girl who plays for a private college, such as, Stanford or Duke, a full ride would be valued at $200,000:). For an out of state public school, the value of a full ride is reduced to about $150,000. However, for an in-state school, the value is further reduced to $60,000-70,000.

    A lot less money for boys:twisted:
     
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  8. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    I guess the point is the families could save or invest the money they are spending on tennis from age 10 to age 18 and they would have more than enough to pay for college.

    However, I think lots of people are paying less than the value of a 4 year scholarship when accounting for 8 years of training and tournaments. A full ride scholarship could be worth upwards of 240,000.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  9. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    What fun would that be. :)
     
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  10. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Yeah that won't be much fun
     
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  11. ga tennis

    ga tennis Hall of Fame

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    Glad your posting in the junior section suresh. I like how you give em hell on the tennis tips section.
     
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  12. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I don't think I was completely fair here. There is more value that should be put in the numerator.

    That is the value of college-level coaching (ahem....anyone can fill in their own blank here), equipment, training room, travel expenses, medical insurance if any.

    I'm not crunching the numbers real hard here, but most decent college programs have a couple of hours of privates per week---at least in fall season--and lots of "group lessons"; i.e., regular practice.

    At 20 hours per week (just sayin') at $100 per hour (cause the math's easy) plus the other freebies, I think we are looking at over $75,000 per year of "stuff" parents would have otherwise paid for.

    So, to be fair, I think we need to factor this in as well.
     
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  13. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    i don't think you can count the $75k stuff that way.... because if a kid just attends college without tennis, he does not need all that extra stuff.

    the pay off is usually negative.... because getting a full ride is not a sure thing.... what about all them 2, 3, 4 star recruits, who may have invested just as much, but ending up with no scholarship at all.

    and I do agree that boys have it tough.

    girls - low hanging fruits everywhere.... daughter is already on D1 path (golf) with only 1/10 of the effort that a boy would need to put in.. if she end up going to one, instead of Ivies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
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  14. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't do anything like that. I just point out the facts. "Them" are the people who have gotten banned, come back under a different name, and gotten banned again.
     
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  15. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Good stuff. Hope others chime in too!!
     
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  16. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Also to consider is how many families would really save up the money if they did not spend it on tennis. We tend to blow it on overpriced vacations.
     
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  17. Chemist

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    I guess we are very smart in how we spend $:(. But I am sure that I am not the only parent who enjoyed more watching their kid winning points, games, and matches, than killing time sun bathing on beach:)
     
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  18. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    right, it's all about the journey.... the destination is a bonus.
     
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  19. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    College coaches can teach private tennis lessons clinics.
     
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  20. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Is that new? Are there specific restrictions or parameters such as acceptable time of year and/or age of the student. The reason I ask is I know otherwise.
     
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  21. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    This is the D2 rule. D1 is similar with additional restrictions but could not find them. I just don't have time. Would like to see it if someone can post it.

    13.11.3.8 Private Lessons.
    An institution's equestrian, golf or tennis coach may teach private equestrian, golf or tennis lessons to a prospective student-athlete in 9th grade or above, provided the following conditions are met, All other sports may give lessons to students in eight grade or below following the same procedure: (Adopted: 1/14/97, effective 8/1/97, Revised: 1/9/06 effective 8/1/06)
    (a) The coach makes lessons available to the general public;
    (b) Fees charged to the prospective student-athlete are at a rate commensurate with fees charged to all individuals;
    (c) Prior written approval is received annually from the institution's president or chancellor; (Revised: 10/3/05)
    (d) Fees of the prospective student-athlete are not paid by individuals or entities other than the prospective student-athlete's relatives or legal guardian(s); and (Revised: 1/9/06)
    (e) The institution keeps on file in the office of the director of athletics documentation of the fee charged for the private lessons and the name of any individual receiving any portion of the fee.
     
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  22. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    If you compared the total amount of money spent in the US on tennis where the parents are planning/hoping for a tennis scholarship to the total amount of money/value awarded to US kids for tennis scholarships does anyone think it would be even close? Over the years I have seen a lot of money spent and very little money received.

    Tennis for juniors cannot be about college scholarships. If it is purely financial return you are looking for tennis does not make the cut.

    That being said I think tennis is a great opportunity for many reasons.
     
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  23. Chemist

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    It's nice for kids to have a dream. Most boys playing Pee Wee football would want to play for NFL; T-ball players want to be a MLB star; so tennis is no exception - boys wanted to play in US Open. But most parents just don't know how hard it is to get even a partial tennis scholarship. The expectation for tennis scholarship may be too high, as Ross pointed out.

    There have been some really good discussions about the benefit for kids to play tennis,
    - it's a life-long sport; a fun game; developing good health; stay in shape; like golf, it provides great opportunities for networking and connections - for kids as well as adults
    - tennis players are generally nice kids from respectable families; most excel academically; well behaved in classroom; they may be a group of kids least likely to smoke, drink or do drugs, or being a teenage parent
    - tennis allows our kids to develop friendship with other kids hundreds or even thousands miles away
    - tennis training allows our kids to develop good time-management skills that would benefit them in college and and beyond
    - like other sports, tennis builds self-confidence, improves mental toughness and independence
    - tennis can really help develop a strong parent-kid relationship:); so don't yell at them after their tough loss!
    - tennis is one of the best extracurricular activities that our kids can show a college admission officer
    - tennis help our kids getting into elite schools
    - for girls, getting tennis scholarship is realistic - a huge bonus
    - I am not quite convinced on this, but Ross thinks our kids will have a good chance of meeting their future employers or sponsors at tournaments:-?
    - But I am more convinced that a tennis boy and a tennis girl would make a better and happier family:)

    So, parents, just continue to spend $$$ on privates, tournaments, equipment... We are now talking about the return of our investment way beyond tennis scholarship, it could have something to do with our grand children:grin:
     
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  24. Chemist

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    Tennis coaches can run camps. Talked to a former D1 coach, who stopped giving privates to a blue chip after he became a 7th grader. Seems like 8th grade is the magic number for a D1 coach.
     
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  25. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I agree but, majority of the parents opposed to the proposed tournament changes cite that exposure to college recruiters will be destroyed if the changes are adopted. What do you say to that argument? In your opinion, is that on target?
     
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  26. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    NCAA rules define a "prospective student athlete" as someone who has started ninth grade classes. Many NCAA rules prescribe what may and may not be done in respect of prospective student athletes............for all sports.

    So, for example, while a coach can text your eighth grade kid every day........if the coach is creepy enough.......the coach has to stop texting for a few years once the kid gets in ninth grade
     
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  27. Chemist

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    Getting recruited is an easier way of getting into an elite college. The money, even 0.25 ride would be worth as much as $40-50K. The proposed changes in national tournament schedule would adversely impact many kids, especially girls. For girls, 3 stars have chances for $. These girls need to play these national events to be seen by coaches.
     
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  28. Chemist

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    I may be wrong, but seem to recall reading something about NCAA to eliminate the restriction on coaches contacting potential recruits? I think the effective date is around June.
     
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  29. drfrankfree

    drfrankfree New User

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    I have to weigh in on this. As far as boys go,I can unequivolcally tell you that if you are looking for any return on your investment from a tuition perspective, then you will most likely be disappointed. Most boys, even 4* star boys will get little to no tennis money at the fully funded programs. There are more than enough 5*s and foreigners to take up the big tennis money. At smaller D1 programs, some D2 and NAIA programs, and occasionally JUCO programs there is more money available. However, you will most likely NEVER see a financial return worth crowing about.
    However, it is so much more than that. My son is winding down his junior career. He has played since he was 10 years old. At 14 he decided he would like to get serious about training and traveling. He enrolled in a distance learning program for high school and the journey began. Over the past 4 years, I have spent nearly $70,000 on lessons, clinics, equipment, clothes, hotels, tournament fees, food, gas and God knows what else. I have sacrificed countless weekends to travel to such exotic places as Greenville MS, Taylors SC, Huntsville AL, and Rome GA. I have sat on metal folding chairs in the wind and cold. There have been rain delays, unbearable August heat waves, and who knows how many Subway sandwiches. And the end result......
    My son will attend an out of state university and play upper level Division 3 tennis. That's right D3. No tennis money. None. He had several lower level D1 and D2 coaches that really wanted him and some would have even given some tennis money. But it just wasnt the right fit at those places. In the end, he had to make his own choice about where was the best fit for him. I say that because it's very easy for parents and players alike to become so fixated on making D1 that they lose sight of the big picture. There is no glory in being the 14th guy on a 14 man roster just so you can say you play at "State U". Just as it makes no sense to go to some middle of nowhere directional school that just happens to be the 7th best team in the conference just so you can say you play D1. My son has friends who have done both and these situations will inevitably lead to burnout. Remember, college is an experience. It's not just books and essays. It is about making friendships, meeting contacts, and developing into a productive member of our society.
    So what do I have to show for all of this time, money, and effort? More than I could have ever imagined. The memories and experiences I have made with my child over the past 4 years have been the single greatest blessing of my adult life. We have shared the incredible highs of victory and the tearful hugs of defeat. The lessons that he has learned over this time have been invaluable to his development. Independence, discipline, and organization are all skills that will serve him well in his future endeavours. Watching him handle adversity and occaisional disagreements with others have been a perfect training ground for life and offered many teachable moments. He has matured into not only a great player but a great human being. That, at least to me, is worth every penny.
    In closing, it CANNOT be just about a scholarship or other financial reward. To minimize the experience to just that shortchanges the incredible journey that tennis can lead us on and all of the other wonderful things it can offer outside the lines.
     
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  30. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    Right, if the coach is going to recruit the private lesson student then rules will come into play. My son has trained with a college woman's team coach. No conflict. That coaches contacts on the men's side of college tennis are deep. So that relationship was super helpful.
     
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  31. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    NCAA passed a proposal that eliminates restrictions on methods and modes of communication......such as number of texts/phone calls/emails. But no change to the rules about when these communications may take place.

    http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Latest+News/2013/Division+I+streamlines+rulebook
     
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  32. Chemist

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    Oops, I misread the rule changes:oops:

    What is the current rule about emailing coaches? My son is a junior. He started to email coaches. One coach answered his initial email, but was silent afterwards. We are wondering if coaches are not allowed to answer his emails until July 1st. Should he continue to email coaches about his academic progress and tournament results?
     
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  33. Chemist

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    Nice!:) So that D1 coach we know made a right decision to step aside early so that he would have a chance of recruiting his former student in 5-6 years.
     
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  34. Chemist

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    Great post!:) Nice to know I am NOT the only crazy father who is "wasting" $ on his kid:) Yes, like you, GA and many other parents, I cherish every minute that my son and I have spent in this long journey:)
     
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  35. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Recruits may contact coaches by any communications means they choose, anytime.

    Coaches may send written materials, including responses to emails anytime after Sept 1 junior year. If you call a coach and you get the voicemail the coach may not call you back. [EDIT: prior to July 1 before senior year] If you call a coach and you get thru to him/her, bingo! The conversation may continue.

    Recruits may try to schedule unofficial visits on-campus at any time. Coaches may respond to written requests for unofficial visits. During these visits there may be in-person communication with the coach.

    There is a loophole the size of the intergalactic black hole in all of this. If the subject of a communication from the coach is a "camp", anything goes.

    Coaches should be kept apprised of athletic and academic updates. Need to walk a fine line here........to show that there is interest, without being a nuisance.

    Except for the elite players, if a coach sees that a recruit has listed more than five schools (the max number of official visits) on TRN as "high interest", or has listed most of the schools in that coaches' conference, the coach may think the recruit is trolling and hasn't really thought things thru yet. This becomes more of an issue the older the recruit gets. Probably not an issue for a soph, but by mid-junior year................

    I know there are a lot of different opinions about this, but I recommend that by the end of junior year, non-elite recruits list no schools on TRN, or maybe no more than a couple of diverse choices. I think the risk that the coach will be turned off by being dragged into a recruiting war exceeds the reward that the coach is happy that a recruit has listed his school on TRN.

    The real way to express interest in a school is to let the coach know personally and privately. Listing a school on TRN is just for show...........my opinion, your mileage may vary
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  36. INTO10s

    INTO10s New User

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    Amen drfrankfree. Been there, doing that. I am with you 100%, its more then just about getting scholarship
     
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  37. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Coaches are absolutely allowed to communicate via emails with your HS junior. Those who do not reply are either not interested, have no positions available or disorganized. As most of participants read emails on their phones these communications can be quite lively.
    Coaches are allowed to offer private lessons to the potential recruits - it just has to be setup properly - form some kind of official clinic/club/camp open for all (see adfor's post above). If recruit is a member of such club the communication restrictions can be further relaxed (calls/texting is allowed I believe).
     
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  38. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    There are new rules going into effect in August that significantly relax a lot the restrictions on communications.

    http://m.ljworld.com/news/2013/jan/25/new-ncaa-recruiting-rules-aim-common-sense/
     
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  39. Chemist

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    Mr. Bill and Klu, Thank you so much for your advice. Looks like it is a good idea to remove "school interest" from the TRN NOW. We will go to watch a few dual matches near home in the spring. I am not sure if it's a good idea to talk to the coaches when they are visiting other schools?
     
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  40. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Really meant it when I said your mileage may vary. Just something for folks out there to consider about listing schools on TRN.

    If you are going to see some duals involving schools your kid is interested in, maybe he should send an email to the coach a week or so before to say he would like to introduce himself.

    Earlier the better before the match starts to actually shake hands, of course, and maybe under any circumstances your kid would want to avoid introducing himself to the losing coach after the match!
     
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  41. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Actually I forgot that your son is interested in the Ivys. Yes it may be more productive to remove schools of interest and put there killer academic stats instead. Some of the schools may be waiting for your son's test scores/gpa and test score/gpas of higher ranked recruits. From our experience different coaches have different recruiting styles - some talk to all high-ranked kids even before they have any scores and some wait.
    I do not think coaches can legally talk to recruits outside of THEIR campus until July 1sr after Jr. year.
     
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  42. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    You are correct, but a hello-how-are-you-my-name-is initiated by the recruit is ok. Same thing applies at a tournament that the kid is playing in, if any college coaches are in attendance. I think your point should reinforce the expectation that the coach will not say much more than pleasantries
     
    #42
  43. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    Thanks again, Mr. Bill! We did notice that quite a few top dogs never listed the school interest until verbal.

    We already met coaches from four Ivies at last year's Kalamazoo and Winter National. So, some of the re-introduction may be easy.
     
    #43
  44. Chemist

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    He will take ACT next Saturday and SAT perhaps in Mobile, Spring National if he gets his wish. We hope he will have all the stat by July. He is really preparing himself well academically. We will just say hi to coaches when we see them in March.
     
    #44
  45. jma

    jma New User

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    Hey Chemist -

    If your son if interested in the Ivys and you have time over the upcoming President's Day weekend, you might want to consider watching the upcoming ECAC tennis tournament at Cornell http://www.ecac.org/championships/i...ll/2012-2013_Declared_Teams_Forms-Mtennis.pdf

    Many of the Ivys are there and it gives you a good idea of how the coaches interact with their players, as well as the level of play.
     
    #45
  46. NoCalParent

    NoCalParent New User

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    We also found the summer camp route was a great way to get to know college coaches and vice-versa. Some of the college coaches were more involved on court than others, but it was great for our kids to get to know the campus and players on the teams who are frequently counselors.
     
    #46
  47. Chemist

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    This is such a great idea!:) We may spend Saturday there. It takes 4.5 hrs to drive over.
     
    #47
  48. Chemist

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    Brown had two camps last summer that were in conflict with tournaments. But my son played campus showdowns at Yale and Princeton. Really good experience!
     
    #48
  49. jma

    jma New User

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    Another opportunity for juniors to be seen by college coaches

    Those interested in Ivy tennis might also want to look at a new tournament showcase this summer. The info is past the section on the Yale Showcase.

    http://www.donovantennis.com/showcases/index.php

    I don't know more than what's posted, but it's good that DTS and others are increasing their efforts for college coaches to see a wider range of juniors compete ...
     
    #49
  50. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    I would take the "we" out of that statement and plan to say hi. Let your son stand on his own. I have heard many coaches complain about helicopter parents in the recruiting process and how awkward it is to tell parents to go away at a tournament. They hope they know better.
     
    #50

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