What is the end game for college tennis? What's the point?


I am not debating the merits of tennis development.
I think it's a great thing to tackle complex challenges,
and have greatly enjoyed my own journey over the last 2 years.

Everyone in this thread immediately got defensive and reactive to a simple question.
"To what end?"
What is the point of spending 15 years and $500k dedicated to this holy grail of "playing in college" only to abruptly give it up at age 22 ?

A very fair and rational question.
That hostile reaction actually speaks volumes.
Seems like once you're on this train, you don't question anything,
you just keep gunning for the next stop on this race to nowhere.
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It’s just one of life’s great mysteries like why start a thread when you can’t form a coherent argument? Why make outrageous unfounded claims just the get a reaction? Why ask questions to an online community that can easily be answered by a google search? Why spend your time trolling online when you can be doing something productive?

I guess the answer is some people just like it.



I would posit that the 'Playing in College' being the holy grail is the problem, or any other form of ROI that parents might seek from their 'investment' in their child's activityies. You've invested money and time in tennis, because it was valuable to you, some would say that you've gone overboard because there's now where for you to go with tennis. I think that's wrong headed, if you want to improve, and have the resources to do so, then have at it. As far as playing college then quitting, there are numerous driving factors, some have been mentioned on this thread. But, it's easy to see that if a person has been pushed, perhaps beyond their own motivation, they're going to quit an activity at the first available opportunity. Two of my younger brothers were swimmers, both swam at Div 1 schools, one even went to Olympic trials, neither of them has been in the water since their last day of eligibility. It's not just tennis, maybe when you've been doing something full on for a long time and you get to the place where you don't feel that you have anywhere to go but down, you have a hard time continuing...
You raise an excellent interesting point that I have thought about myself.

I used to think what is the point of learning tennis in middle age?

There are no scholarships to be awarded,
no dangling carrot of a professional career,
no crowds cheering for me,
no nothing. Just the pursuit of excellence for its own sake.

The more I got into this game, I wondered "too bad I did not do this as a kid."
But, that thought quickly passes since I had absolutely no interest in tennis as a kid beyond batting a ball once in a while.
There is no way I was capable of learning the way I can now.

So, I think, my time is now, and we don't get to choose when that time comes.
Just embrace it when it arrives. I have the time, the interest, the money, and the body to play this game now. Not when I was 6 or 12

Your last sentence is very true, and why I've come full circle and am glad to be an adult tennis learner.
If I mastered tennis, I would have moved on like all others.
As a middling adult, I have dozens of players to hit with,
and I will never master the game as a junior does.


Hall of Fame
I am in awe of these juniors

So, serious training begins by age 9, if they are playing competitively at 12.
It takes at least 3 years to gain real skills, I would imagine.
As for people who do not spend $80,000 a year,
what is a typical junior training week? How much is a more normal monthly budget?
I know one guy who spend about $40,000 a year. That comes to about $3500 a month.

How does one make it onto the top 100 national juniors ?
What if you're good, but do not play tournaments?
Is the list distorted ?

Comments on your questions-answers are longer because lurkers read this forum, and I dont want parents/players who cant spend $40K or even $20K to be discouraged. If a player has talent, passion, and great work ethic, player may get results spending half the time and a quarter of the $ that others spend. The two biggest expenses are training and travel though there are expenses for racquets, strings, etc. Looking at the 5 stars for the class of 2020, the number of junior USTA/US jr ITF tourneys played in a year ranged from 5 to 24. Obviously the guy who reached 5 star status playing 5 tourneys vs the one who played 24 had significantly less travel expenses. Players can reduce their training expense if they schedule their own matchplay instead of paying to play practice matches during academy sessions. The cheapest scenario would be to attend tennis academy 2 days a week for drills in a small group setting (4-8 per pro) and conditioning (or do latter on own) and then do 2 days of matchplay on own with tournaments a couple of weekends a month. However some high performance academy may require 4 days of attendance per week (assuming Mon or Fri at tourneys). When I say academy, I mean a facility where where local pros primarily work with juniors-could be in a neighborhood, at a club, or facility owned by pros used exclusively by juniors. The travel is the biggest variable in costs with a single out of town tourney costing $400-$1500+ depending on # days, fly vs drive, etc. Local small group training could range from $600month-$2000+ depending on number of hours and fees per hour. However, the most expensive pro at the fanciest facility is often not the best-parents are paying a lot of overhead.

Looking at two players-both top 100 fall of their sr yr (high 4 stars ranked in 70s)- who went on to play for Power 5 colleges, one guy only played 10 tournaments between Mem Day of his soph year through Labor Day of his senior year and none were national 1s. The other guy played 24 including 4 national 1s that often cost $1500 per event (between hotel, entry fee of $130+, food, flight/gas, etc and even more if coach attends). The one who played less tourneys plays 2 on a team ranked around ITA 30 while the guy who played 24 tourneys and plays 5 on a team ranked around 50. It's not how much $ you spend and how many tourneys you play. A player can spend a lot less $ if he is really prepared and goes deep in a few high level sectionals and/or nationals.

Players have to play some tourneys to have a ranking but USTA tourneys have expensive entry fees and to get in the top tourneys, players have to play a lot of sectional and/or national tourneys to gain endorsement. A player is not "good" unless he/she proves his/her skills can hold up under the pressure of competition. There are UTR events with much cheaper fees, and juniors can choose to play men's opens, ITA summer circuit etc close to home without all the USTA hoops to jump through. Lists and rankings can be distorted as all talented players dont have the same opportunities. There are players who have traveled around the world on parent/USTA PD dime and reached top 10/20 world junior ranking who have lost to 4 and 5 stars who went to regular high schools. Smart players pick the tourneys with the best competition close to home to save $ and improve rankings.

Once again, serious training does not have to start at 9. My son played neighborhood tennis at 9 just because it was convenient, and he looked no different than the kids who dropped the sport at 10. At 9 the rec players only practiced on hour a week and then played a rec match on Saturday. Even at 11 when he went to his first real local academy, he trained 2 hours twice a week and set up matchplay on other days. He didnt seriously train until 8th grade-10-14 hours a week. Yet he reached top 50 in nation as a senior in high school. Our original goal was not for him to play college tennis, but to get better in a sport he loved and hopefully make the high school team as a freshman-not easy as team was a top team in state. We didn't even consider college tennis until he turned 16 and then we added some national tourneys. The key is how much the player wants it-the player needs to drive it, not the parent. If the player really loves tennis, every hour of practice will be a quality hour, and the player can accomplish more in 3 hours than a homeschooler might full day.


Yet again, is "contacts" just another unchecked assumption that everyone just nods in agreement?
Has anyone ever verified this? Does anyone know someone who got a job from a tennis teammate?

I know ex-D1 players. They have not used this mythical contact network to get anything.
They are not even living in the same city as one other player from their team.
Tennis has literally zero effect on their adult lives. They want nothing to do with tennis.
Obviously the percentage isn't in the 90% but many college players, especially accomplished ones go on to coach college or build a decent junior coaching career. Both of our Volunteer assistants (former players) this year will have collegiate coaching jobs next year based on what they showed this year in their knowledge of the game and the connections they made with coaches while playing. Additionally the connections may not be directly to another person but rather just that they played a collegiate sport so their perspective employers or grad schools know they are highly disciplined and determined to succeed.