Originally Posted by donnymac10s
Points 1 and 2: I disagree. I don't believe that college coaches stereotype players based on nationality. The fact is that with a lot of tournaments being played, they form an opinion based on direct observation and conversation with people (other coaches) who are familiar with the players in question. Also, it's more expensive (and riskier) for a college coach to consider a foreigner. From my experience, this is usually last resort after all other suitable US candidates are reviewed and discarded. Regarding point #3: I agree - that's where things should be (and currently are) equalized. Not allow older foreigners to compete against HS graduates. Also, I believe that there are more foreigners in college tennis than other sports because college tennis is truly a global sport (unlike baseball, football or even basketball). If it's not soccer, foreigners don't usually care about other sports.
"I believe, wholeheartedly, that there are numbers of TALENTED, DRIVEN, HARD-WORKING American junior tennis players who want to play college tennis if they are given the opportunity." Help me understand this: are you saying that they must be given the opportunity AND THEN they will start working hard? Sounds a bit backwards to me...
Coaches choose players for what their perceived ability of the recruit's success will be at the collegiate level, irrespective of their junior ranking. That means that players with more than junior experience will have an advantage. That also means that bigger stronger players will have an advantage--the average pro tennis player is now 6'2". For whatever reason, the players competing at the Futures level who are bigger, are frequently non-American, for whatever reason. I can easily speculate, but that is another subject. However, that is a fact. They are also more disciplined, mature, and focused than most American players on the circuit, and many, have to win to earn money for their families back home to put food on the table. That's real, and much more real life than fulfilling the dream of being a "great" tennis player, which is usually the mindset of most American players on the circuit. Recruiting that player over an American junior, is a no brainer. When I was coaching DI, and I received the scouting reports, which were almost exclusively international players, the first thing that I would look at was height and weight. If the player was under 6'0", but over 5'10", I put him in the review pile. Any smaller, and his report went into the trash. Many coaches do that as well, which, is also another reason why international players get a better look.
Many academically inclined students take a "Gap Year", and do something before college. Princeton, actually has a Bridge Year Program. Why many American parents don't do this, IMPO, is illogical, especially since it is a known fact that many of the excesses and negatives associated with bad behavior on college campuses occurs due to the immaturity of incoming freshman, which are bad habits carried throughout their college careers. If I were still coaching college tennis, I would certainly recruit an American junior who took a gap year and played men's open and/or Futures events over the same ranked junior straight out of high school. That kid would be stronger, faster, accustomed to grown men as opponents, far more independent, disciplined, and focused, and less apt to follow the crowd, indulge in binge drinking, or rush a frat--something every coach abhors. I have recommended this to many of my players and advisees, and personally, had my own son follow said advice. That led to him getting Futures WCs, recruited to a ridiculous amount of colleges, attending the college of his choice, showered with money, and very mature and ready for his first day in class, without being neither academically--as a prep school kid he never went to bed before 1 AM--nor athletically burned-out, and he was not a high ranked junior, mostly because of his academic course load.