Looking to play college tennis
  | By Dr. Tom Ferraro

The cost of a college education is outrageous. To go to a top ranked college will now cost you about $55,000 annually. The fact that the average annual family income is only $46,000 makes the cost of college a very serious problem. However we all know the value of a diploma from a prestige school. These elite graduates have demonstrated both intelligence and drive and therefore can demand high starting salaries.

So how do you take advantage of tennis skills to land some scholarship money? How do you put a plan together that will improve your chances of obtaining money? Here are the ten things I recommend to parents:

1) Realize that the players on court behavior, sportsmanship and demeanor as well as their performance are being observed by future college coaches. I have heard many college coaches tell me they will not select players for their teams if they fear that the player or family will be too much trouble to manage.

2) Realize that you must market yourself to be seen. Develop an email list of coaches and send them the players highlight reel, clippings and the players interest in playing for them. Do this repeatedly not just once.

3) Use all of your social capital to connect with the coaches you are interested in. The role of the parent is to have an established network of connections and then to use them accordingly.

4) The earlier you start the player out in a sport the better. Studies in learning and neurological development show that it takes about ten years or ten thousand hours to develop elite level skills so the earlier you start the better. This does not mean you push your kid into tennis but if they show an interest support it.

5) If you are serious about scholarships you need to make a commitment to tennis alone. I know many elite coaches who expect a full commitment by the player to get into their elite program. Absences from training because of conflicts with other sports are problematic on the top level where many hours of training per day are required.

6) Conversely do not overdo training. MAKE SURE there is time for rest and recovery.

7) Shield the young player from any talk of money. This will serve to make them feel guilty and add counter-productive pressure.

8) Get the best coaching you can afford. The great coaches have superior knowledge and are connected to the college scene. When they make recommendations it carries weight.

9) Make sure you spend some time teaching the player how to manage stress, anxiety and disappointment as they move up the ladder and face tougher competition.

10) Make sure that their grades are kept at the highest level possible. This means you must monitor study habits daily.

And if you are thinking that gee this seems like a lot of work you’re right it is. The competition is fierce to get to the top nowadays. When I treat these elite players I tend to see them as young professionals long before they are paid as such.

Dr. Tom Ferraro

For consultations, treatment or on-site visits, contact Dr. Tom Ferraro Ph.D., Sport Psychologist, by phone at (516) 248-7189, e-mail DrTFerraro@aol.com or visit DrTomFerraro.com.