| By Ricky Becker

There are some “nuggets” of wisdom in regard to selecting a college that are way too simplistic and misguided. These nuggets were around when I was playing junior tennis 25 years ago and are still preached.

 
Myth #1: Go to a school that you would want to attend if you ever stopped playing tennis.
This sounds great except for the simple fact that tennis is a major part of the equation for many people. For example, you may decide that a tennis program in a different region of the country is worth making the move to because it is the best tennis situation. The tennis situation may make you happy there! However, if you were not playing tennis, you may prefer to stay closer to home. Why make a college decision assuming an injury? By using this scared logic, people should sacrifice any productive choice in favor of the safer one. What is the better school choice … a cold-weather environment with good academics where you could be a starter on a national championship team, or a warm-weather environment with good academics where you are by far the best on the team, the beaches are great and the views even better. This myth sounds like real heady advice, but cannot be a litmus test in college selection.
 
Myth #2:It is extremely important that you like your coach during recruiting.
Just as you are on good behavior when you meet the coach of a school, that coach is also on good behavior when he or she meets you. During college recruiting, college coaches are glorified salespeople. Salespeople are very rarely mean to their customers! It makes sense to find out from people how the coach is once you are on the team. But truthfully, when you think about it, 20 years after graduation, are you going to be happy or upset with your college decision because you liked or disliked your college coach? Not likely.
 
Myth #3: Asking kids on the team about the coach and school is worthless. The kids on the team are going to say whatever you want to hear.
Surprisingly, this is not always the case. Members of a team often have a lack of people to vent to. Recruits will often serve this role. You’ll be surprised how honest college students can get after one too many beverages at 2:00 a.m. in a fraternity/sorority house during your college visit. Just be sure that, as the recruit, you listen and give a sympathetic ear. Don’t join in and offer your negative impressions under any circumstances.
 
In the next issue, I will discuss three more dispelled myths. In addition, I would welcome any feedback by e-mail at rbecker06@yahoo.com that can be discussed in the next issue’s article.

 

Ricky Becker is the Director of Tennis at Pine Hollow Country Club. He independently coaches high-performance juniors and adults of all-levels year-round at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. He has coached hundreds of ranked junior players. As a player, Becker was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis Team and 1989-1992 Roslyn High School Tennis Teams, and was ranked number four in the United States in the 18 & Under Division.