Tennis Academies / Camps

Mchugh2001

New User
Hello All-
I hope this is okay to post on the College / University board...

My 15yo son is a “good” player... I think that equates to a 4.0 or 4.5. It seems like they introduced at least two new rating systems since I last played so I’m not sure about those. He can play with some power and is confident in most shots with very good pace and placement. Topspin is just good but not next level.

More context- his serve is getting some pace and strategic placement but still hits flat, and he’s now getting confident at the net. He has an excellent backhand (he’s a lefty) and very good footwork. He made varsity in his sophomore high school year but barely, and we live in a district where country club sports dominate.

Anyway, we bought a ball machine and are now wondering whether these “elite” summer camps like IMG, Evert, McEnroe, Newcombe are really worth the money and travel as we consider 2020. To me it seems that Nike and Wilson camps are pretty good. I generally believe that the coach(es) is the most dominant influence, as are fitness and nutrition. Also we will get him into 1-2 USTA tournaments per month after Fall season.

Our goal is to help him get a full or partial scholarship at a Div.II school, but with an outside chance of Div.I.

We don’t know where he can go and the coaches all tell us he can go as far as he wants... he doesn’t know what he wants either and I want tennis to be a lifetime of fun primarily, not a burden or any pressure to please parents or anyone else.

So, thoughts on these camps and their value?

Many thanks for your support and advice!
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
Some of those camps are $2000/wk. Not worth it. Are there recent college grads your son can pay to hit with? You cant make up several years of tournament experience in a few weeks of camp. Realize those camps cater to the elite players, and the top coaches will be working with them. The kids who just come in for a week or two are all put together and probably are never on court with top juniors or coaches. Forget the Wilson/Nike camps-I think those are geared more for casual middle schoolers. Depending on UTR level, I do know of some lesser known camps with great coaches that are cheaper. Does your son have a UTR? Is he a rising junior? He is behind in college recruiting as coaches can offer official visit at the start of junior year. If he is 4.0/4.5 level, he probably would get more academic $ than athletic. If he has great ACT/SAT scores and high GPA, he might be able to get on a MM D1 or D2 team as a walk on, and possibly earn some athletic in future years. Most guys who earn partial scholarships have been playing tournaments for 6-8 years. From your description, your son probably is UTR 6-8 but could be as high as 10+-until he gets actual tournament results, you dont know. Just barely making the HS team implies a 6 but in some strong regions the singles players are 10s and 11s. I would suggest buying the premium UTR membership ($100 yr?) that shows 2 decimal places and have your son look up some players he beat in high school matches. Would be good for you to have an estimate of his UTR to pick challenging tournaments for him to play but not ones where he would be blown out of the water. Another idea is to pay a high level junior to hit with him to figure out his level. Is he currently in an academy or is he just hitting with HS team, the ball machine and you?

That's great he plans to play two tourneys a month in the fall. However if he is a junior, consider adult tournaments as well as junior events-both usually count for UTR. The problem with USTA tourneys is you often have to play state/district level to get in sectional tourneys to get in national tourneys-some juniors play 20+ tourneys a year. There could be local adult prize opens similar in level to sectionals that accept all entries-less hoops to jump through, less expense and possibly the chance to play guys who played college tennis a few years back. What USTA section are you? What about UTR events? Search for local/regional events at https://www.myutr.com/search?type=events. Colleges expect to see a UTR. Next summer will be key for him-he could play ITA summer circuits on college campuses which attract juniors, lower level MM players, some d2 and D3 players (a few of the 50+ tourneys actually attracted some Power 5 players). Those are cheaper than USTA events, accept registrants in order of entry, but your son would need a UTR of 10+ minimum to get in most A draws (tourneys have 1-3 draws of 32). Also New Balance hosts a summer tournament that is only for players that play high school tennis. It used to be in Boston and now is in Calif. Keegan Smith, current UCLA player with a WC into US Open dubs, won the New Balance tourney one of the years my son played. Here is an article on the 2018 one https://blog.universaltennis.com/2018/06/26/tournament-spotlight-2018-new-balance-high-school-tennis-championship/ Also consider having him play a December or June showcase- there are two major ones: https://www.iamrecruitable.com/ and https://universitysports.com/events/ There are more coaches as the USTA national 1s in Kzoo and Boca Raton/Delray but for players without the high ranking to get in those, showcases can provide exposure and those 2 have been around awhile.

I have written a lot on recruiting-do a search on jcgatennismom to see some other posts that might be helpful. My son played HS tennis and currently plays D1 tennis; most of his HS teammates went on to play college tennis- a mix of club, D1, D2, and D3. You can also private message me. I am all for helping kids who stay in high school and play for their HS team (as well as other tournaments on weekends) reach the level to play college tennis. It bothers me that a lot of players switch to homeschool and spend a lot of $ to play jr iTFs in foreign countries or even US national tourneys. With local adult tourneys and summer ITAs, players may improve their level at a fraction of the cost. Dont want to see this sport be only for the elite and country club members. There are stories of players who play(ed) for top teams who never played jr iTFs and played few junior USTA nationals. There is no longer one path. Your son needs good yearround coaching-not a week or a summer and challenging competition he is ready for. Maybe he can get away with 6-10 tourneys a year if he goes deep in most of them.

A lot of coaches will tell you "he can go as far as he wants" because they are getting paid for lessons. Figure out his estimated UTR. MM D1s and D2s do more of their recruiting in fall of sr year so he has a year to get better if he wants athletic scholarship. Now he can be offered a spot later in his senior year but it may be walk on. D3 has no athletic $, but many D3 schools have great merit and need based aid that could make them cheaper than D1 or D2 without much athletic $.
 
Last edited:

Mchugh2001

New User
Wow, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to write out your recommendations. My son is a rising sophomore so he has some time to improve, and we found some UTR tournaments about 45min away so we’re going to get started ASAP. He has a good coach and I don’t question his motives but he coaches a lot of kids so it ends up being me asking the questions and him reacting, rather than him telling or highly recommending what to do, what tournaments to play, etc.

Anyway, thanks again. This is a great start and I’ll read through it many times, and I’ll PM you if I need more recommendations.

Cheers,
Marcus
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Hello All-
I hope this is okay to post on the College / University board...

My 15yo son is a “good” player... I think that equates to a 4.0 or 4.5. It seems like they introduced at least two new rating systems since I last played so I’m not sure about those. He can play with some power and is confident in most shots with very good pace and placement. Topspin is just good but not next level.

More context- his serve is getting some pace and strategic placement but still hits flat, and he’s now getting confident at the net. He has an excellent backhand (he’s a lefty) and very good footwork. He made varsity in his sophomore high school year but barely, and we live in a district where country club sports dominate.

Anyway, we bought a ball machine and are now wondering whether these “elite” summer camps like IMG, Evert, McEnroe, Newcombe are really worth the money and travel as we consider 2020. To me it seems that Nike and Wilson camps are pretty good. I generally believe that the coach(es) is the most dominant influence, as are fitness and nutrition. Also we will get him into 1-2 USTA tournaments per month after Fall season.

Our goal is to help him get a full or partial scholarship at a Div.II school, but with an outside chance of Div.I.

We don’t know where he can go and the coaches all tell us he can go as far as he wants... he doesn’t know what he wants either and I want tennis to be a lifetime of fun primarily, not a burden or any pressure to please parents or anyone else.

So, thoughts on these camps and their value?

Many thanks for your support and advice!

For us, Newcombe was a great deal for price and quality for our son. I actually wne tmyself for a weekend and did a tennis getaway when I was picking him up. Really wonderful expereience, and my son loved it. I was somewhat surprised since they have a very rigorus schedule - up at dawn to run and exercise, light breakfast then drills and lessons. After noon lunch break and time to chill, then late afternoon match play. Evening they had a lot to keep the kids entertained and be part of the larger group.

That said, you could probably do privates locally and play tourneys for the same amount each month. A bit less immersion, but still valuable.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
Since your son is a rising soph not a junior, you do have more time. I was probably too harsh about some of the tennis camps. The one @ChaelAZ mentions sounds reasonable. I know of players who have made repeat visits to Sanchez Casal and one plays for an SEC school. Inspiration Academy located in Bradenton has a great tennis director who used to be a junior Fed and Davis Cup coach for Asian teams. When you consider the Nike/Wilson camps cost $700-$950 for overnight, the boarding high perfomance camps in the $900-$1250 range are reasonable if you can afford them. The training may be $750 so you could look for a camp near relatives to save on boarding costs. For perspective, many parents spend $1200-$1500 to fly with a kid for entry fee, rental car, flight, hotel, and food to a summer National 1 and they may lose early. However there are definitely some camps that get away with charging $2000 a week b/c they are famous, e.g. IMG. I would suggest you figure out a tennis budget that also includes travel for unofficial visits to colleges. We knew one kid who was a 5 star freshmen doing great at a lesser known local academy with a low pro to student ratio. However, he and his parents got big ideas and they switched to a more expensive local academy b/c a jr Grand Slam playing kid trained there. They also spent $ sending him to IMG camp. By the time he was a senior, the 5 star player was a 3 star, and in college the player is lucky to play a few dual matches a year at 5 or 6 at a midmajor. He was top #60 in nation as freshman. Wherever your son goes, make sure there is personal attention and caring staff that challenges him-pushes him the right amount to improve but not break. Read testimonials and ask around. However, if you are short on budget, train with the local coach you trust, pay recently graduated college players and top juniors for extra matchplay before tournaments and set up free matchplay with local players of similar level. Lots of matchplay and tournament play once the basic skills are mastered is one of the biggest drivers of development. Still work with a coach for strategy, patterns, mental toughness, etc and tweaking strokes. Winning matches breeds confidence which encourages players to play more aggressively which leads to more wins-a very positive cycle.

If you havent already, get the free membership to parentingaces.com Then read this article for ideas for next year https://parentingaces.com/showcases-combines-camps-2019-update/ I dont know if it is under her free or premium content.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DEW

andfor

Legend
For us, Newcombe was a great deal for price and quality for our son. I actually wne tmyself for a weekend and did a tennis getaway when I was picking him up. Really wonderful expereience, and my son loved it. I was somewhat surprised since they have a very rigorus schedule - up at dawn to run and exercise, light breakfast then drills and lessons. After noon lunch break and time to chill, then late afternoon match play. Evening they had a lot to keep the kids entertained and be part of the larger group.

That said, you could probably do privates locally and play tourneys for the same amount each month. A bit less immersion, but still valuable.
Newks is a solid recommendation. Some can report mixed reviews. Of the numerous players who have attended that I know, all have reported positive experiences.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Newks is a solid recommendation. Some can report mixed reviews. Of the numerous players who have attended that I know, all have reported positive experiences.

And to clarify, I put my son in the Juniors Camp or Academy I think it is called, not just the summer camp. Not sure how they differentiate it anymore, but summer camp was a mix of normal camping with tennis and team building activities. The Juniors camp was tennis focused and cost a bit more. Think for my son to live there was less than $3k per 3 weeks, and included weekends and all. I looked at Casal, IMG, and a bunch of others and they were at least twice the price with less individual focus/larger classes. The Nike campus are a good deal too depending on the facilty or college you have them at. Still the best bang for the buck for us was finding a good local program and indivudal coach for my son.

That said, my son was going to play college and we had him hit with a few places this summer. Got a offer and was talking about signing, then he decided he doesn't want to play.

Go figure. :confused:
 

atatu

Hall of Fame
My kids went to Newks over the summers and my older son actually was there for a semester and he went to high school in New Braunfels. Overall, I think it's a great camp, especially the summer sessions, the boys always had a lot of fun and made some friends and they hit a ton of balls. Going there full time is another story but for the summer I'd say yes I recommend it. My younger son also did a Nike Camp at Southwestern University and it was horrible and a complete waste of money.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
That said, my son was going to play college and we had him hit with a few places this summer. Got a offer and was talking about signing, then he decided he doesn't want to play.Go figure. :confused:
Playing college tennis is a big commitment-NCAA calculates D1 players of nonrevenue sports spend 30+ hours a week on their sport-there are a lot of hours that are not countable in the 20 hours/week NCAA allows. Players really have to have a passion for the sport to put in all those hours, and even loving the sport, most are tired when May rolls around. Fans dont realize players are either taking exams and writing papers early or late around the NCAAs; I remember Riffice being interviewed about one of his big May NCAA singles wins and being asked what he would do to celebrate. He couldnt celebrate b/c he had to finish a paper.

Your son is mature to realize what he really wants-maybe he wants to join a fraternity, do a semester abroad, or just have more time for a social life as well as academics. You are a supportive dad not to push him to take the offer. For most reasonable parents, we dont see tennis as an investment or look for a return on our $; it is enough to see their joy after a hard won victory, their increased discipline, their growth in mental toughness, their ability to problem solve and strategize, etc. Even if they take a break from the game, it's worthwhile for their gain in maturity and self-confidence. @TimeToPlaySets wants to view the tennis experience just in terms of dollars and cents. He does not realize the journey itself can be priceless. Even in the journey, there are multiple paths-each player and parent has to find the right one for their family-there is value in rec jr tennis, high school tennis, UsTA/ITF jr tennis, club tennis, college tennis, the Future circuit, etc. I know there are experiences my son would have never had or cool people he would have never met without tennis. The myth too is a player has to be homeschooled to do all of the above-lots of D1 players and even some on pro circuit who went to regular high school...
 
Playing college tennis is a big commitment-NCAA calculates D1 players of nonrevenue sports spend 30+ hours a week on their sport-there are a lot of hours that are not countable in the 20 hours/week NCAA allows. Players really have to have a passion for the sport to put in all those hours, and even loving the sport, most are tired when May rolls around. Fans dont realize players are either taking exams and writing papers early or late around the NCAAs; I remember Riffice being interviewed about one of his big May NCAA singles wins and being asked what he would do to celebrate. He couldnt celebrate b/c he had to finish a paper.
I do take issue with that statement. University of Florida is not the same as Harvard or MIT. That's the same University of Florida where the late Aaron Hernandez and Cam Newton attended. Cam Newton got dismissed from University of Florida and landed at Auburn. I don't think Hernandez ever graduated from UF either.

Let not kid ourselves. Writing a paper is not the same as preparing for an exam in quantum mechanics or thermal dynamic. I am assuming that Riffice is not majoring in STEM. I am not diminishing Riffice's accomplishments but let just be honest about it.
 
A

Academykid01

Guest
My kids went to Newks over the summers and my older son actually was there for a semester and he went to high school in New Braunfels. Overall, I think it's a great camp, especially the summer sessions, the boys always had a lot of fun and made some friends and they hit a ton of balls. Going there full time is another story but for the summer I'd say yes I recommend it. My younger son also did a Nike Camp at Southwestern University and it was horrible and a complete waste of money.
Newks is a solid recommendation. Some can report mixed reviews. Of the numerous players who have attended that I know, all have reported positive experiences.
Hello All-
I hope this is okay to post on the College / University board...

My 15yo son is a “good” player... I think that equates to a 4.0 or 4.5. It seems like they introduced at least two new rating systems since I last played so I’m not sure about those. He can play with some power and is confident in most shots with very good pace and placement. Topspin is just good but not next level.

More context- his serve is getting some pace and strategic placement but still hits flat, and he’s now getting confident at the net. He has an excellent backhand (he’s a lefty) and very good footwork. He made varsity in his sophomore high school year but barely, and we live in a district where country club sports dominate.

Anyway, we bought a ball machine and are now wondering whether these “elite” summer camps like IMG, Evert, McEnroe, Newcombe are really worth the money and travel as we consider 2020. To me it seems that Nike and Wilson camps are pretty good. I generally believe that the coach(es) is the most dominant influence, as are fitness and nutrition. Also we will get him into 1-2 USTA tournaments per month after Fall season.

Our goal is to help him get a full or partial scholarship at a Div.II school, but with an outside chance of Div.I.

We don’t know where he can go and the coaches all tell us he can go as far as he wants... he doesn’t know what he wants either and I want tennis to be a lifetime of fun primarily, not a burden or any pressure to please parents or anyone else.

So, thoughts on these camps and their value?

Many thanks for your support and advice!
I am a year round academy student at Newks, and would be more then happy to comment on the camps/academy here.
 

TW Staff

Administrator
We have a podcast episode coming out tomorrow with Mark Weil, the founder and director of the Weil Tennis Academy! I'll post it here when it is available but hopefully something in there can help!

I also was an academy kid and went to the Weil Academy my junior and senior year of high school -- happy to answer any questions and help offer perspective!

Michelle, TW
 

TW Staff

Administrator
Said podcast I alluded to above:

ITUNES: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/talk-tennis/id1475845728?l
SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/show/7aCFGNA2VnSOJus9qM2jrx
STITCHER: https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=453304&refid=stpr
Tennis Warehouse: https://www.tennis-warehouse.com/podcast/

Mark Weil tells us all about how he dreamt up the Weil Tennis Academy...an academy that even Grigor Dimitrov has spent time training at! Founded in 1997 in Ojai, CA Weil was the first full-time boarding school and academy on the West Coast. He talks to us about his passion for tennis, why he created what he did and all the ups and downs in between. Learn the traits he looks for in players and his best, and worst moments as the founder and Director of the Weil Academy.

Michelle, TW
 
Mark Weil tells us all about how he dreamt up the Weil Tennis Academy...an academy that even Grigor Dimitrov has spent time training at!
I thought Dimitrov spent his Jr. years training at Sanchez-Casal tennis academies in Spain, no? They had Dimitrov poster everywhere in ASC spain. How long did Dimitrov spend his time @Weil Tennis Academy?
 

TW Staff

Administrator
I thought Dimitrov spent his Jr. years training at Sanchez-Casal tennis academies in Spain, no? They had Dimitrov poster everywhere in ASC spain. How long did Dimitrov spend his time @Weil Tennis Academy?
@bobleenov1963

I'm guessing he may have visited Weil before he was full time at Sanchez Casal? We used to have a Bulgarian Coach at Weil that I am sure he came out to visit.

That must mean I'll have to get Grigor on the next episode to find out ;)

Michelle, TW
 
I listened to the podcast and it is an interesting conversation. It looks like Weil academy is geared toward college and not ITF/ATP challenger circuit.

I've never been to Weil Academy but I've been to both Sanchez Casal in both Spain and Naples Florida and, IMHO, I can see why Sanchez Casal attracts better talents than Weil. Sanchez Casal has much better coaches. By that, I mean SC has ATP coaches that coach GS champions and those coaches were GS champions themselves like Emilio Sanchez, Pavel Slozil (Steffi Graf's coach). SC has guests come to the academies all the times, like Tomas Smid, Ivan Lendl, Judith Murray, etc... It is hard to train to be a future GS champion when the coaches are not GS champions themselves. That's why Andy Murray and Dimitrov trained at Sanchez Casal when they were young.

Weil is more suited for kids who are looking at college while SC is more geared toward ITF/ATP. That's my thought.
 
Top