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How Can I Get the Coaches to “Find” Me?

March 17, 2008 02:13 PM

By Dede Allen
February 2008

Question:  What can I do to make my interest known to a college coach?

Answer:  It’s nice to think that every college coach will know who you are and come running after you.  Unfortunately, that is NOT the case for the majority of tennis players.  All coaches dream of recruiting a top 20 player!!  However; if you do the math there are only 20 top 20 players.  Of that group, say 50% are recruitable seniors, that leaves 10 recruitable top 20 players.  There are approximately 1500 schools who host tennis programs – I’ll let you do the rest. 

Yes, everyone knows the top kids.  How can you come into focus on the coaches recruiting radar?  First you have to let them know that you are out there.  Be proactive.

Players are allowed to write letters of interest and ask for brochures – some start as early as sophomore year.  Coaches are allowed to send only certain material out to prospective student athletes.  One of the items will most likely be some type of player profile/interest form – fill it out and send it back so the coach can add you to his/her database.

Coaches don’t wait until recruits are “recruitable” (summer after your junior year).  They start doing research early on.  When I was with the USTA, I would send the coaches the national lists of 16’s and 18’s – some even wanted the 14’s (not very many though). They will start “profiling” their top choices.  Sometimes the coaches will just send out letters in bulk just to test the waters and see who responds.  In many cases this may or may not represent a strong interest in you, by the coach – they are just fishing.

• It is generally advisable to respond to these letters of interest only if you are truly interested in that particular school. 
• If you have not been contacted by a school that you have a definite interest in attending, you should write to that coach expressing your interest and requesting information about their program

 In your correspondence you should include the following:
• A well-written cover letter (yes, find out the coaches name BEFORE you send it off), briefly explaining your desire to play at that particular school (do research and learn something about the school, coach and program before you send the letter).
• A professional looking tennis resume highlighting your academic standing, community service as well as your tennis results and rankings - include a detailed player record sheet, highlighting significant wins.
• The resume should be no longer than 2 pages in length.
• The academic information is important to a coach since it may offer some ideas about your fit in the school as well as potential academic scholarships.

Coaches look at everything – ACADEMICS and ATTITUDE play a key role.  If you don’t have the grades to get in and a good attitude, it won’t make much difference how good of a player you are.

If you have specific questions for Dede, please email her at dede@ddasports.com. Answers to your questions may appear in next month’s column! 







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