| By Clark D. Ruiz II

I recently participated in the inaugural Long Island Tennis Expo, hosted by Long Island Tennis Magazine at Farmingdale State College, and the USTA College Showcase held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Both events were well-attended by hundreds of families with the intentions of having their children play collegiate tennis. The two most surprising things I learned from speaking with a multitude of parents at both locations was that many, if not most, were not aware that help was available to them through the use of a college tennis advisor. In a time where children grow up, from a very early age, using subject tutors, SAT tutors, private tennis coaches and trainers, the thought of seeking help with one of the biggest decisions a tennis family faces had not been considered. Just from an economic standpoint alone, utilizing a college tennis advisor makes a great deal of sense. It’s the logical last step in a process that starts when your child first picks up a racquet at four or five years old. Misinformed decisions can be extremely costly, not to mention could lead to a terrible collegiate experience. It’s one thing if you have gone through the process with a previous child and feel comfortable enough with the process you employed to use it again for a second or third child. However, if this is your first go around with the collegiate experience, you should strongly consider hiring a college tennis advisor who can help you navigate the process efficiently and arm you with the key questions and information needed to uncover the best fit, both academically and athletically.

The second thing that has most families the most confused is when to hire a collegiate tennis advisor … sophomore year … junior year … senior year? In my opinion, the earlier you start the process, the better. By starting early, one leaves open the option of making adjustments to the players’ tennis game, rituals and regiment, in preparation for the college game. It also allows for the planning of specific tournaments, as well as type of tournaments that can make your child more appealing to a college coach. It is much less stressful to work on the player’s package (cover letter, athletic resume, registering with the NCAA, player DVD) without worrying about studying and taking SATs/ACTs, college applications, etc. Proper planning takes a great deal of time and effort. The less time you have, the more apt you might be to not look under every stone. With proper planning, your child can know where they will be attending school before the holidays of their senior year. Many players have said that during their senior year, the period from the holidays to the end of the school year, there was sense of calm having the stress related to getting into schools behind them. Remember, the more time you have to monitor the schools on your short list, the better the possibility you have to discover something about those schools which can be the determining factor in your final decision.

As a final note, during the course of the two events, a number of parents with children who were seniors expressed that they wished they had known about me and the services I provided a few years earlier. They acknowledged the amount of stress and anxiety they had experienced in the search, and how I could have relieved them of that part of the process. For any of you starting the process or considering whether hiring a collegiate tennis advisor is right for you, I suggest you utilize my “Ask the Advisor” portal at Advisor@AdvantageTennisStrategies.com. Feel free to e-mail me any question you may have related to college tennis or the process of finding the right school. E-mails received are answered within 24 hours. Oftentimes, the answer to one question provides all the clarity you need to make the right decision or leads you in the right direction. You don’t have to go at it alone, help is on the way. 

Clark D. Ruiz II

<p>Clark D. Ruiz II is founder of <a onclick="window.open(this.href,'AdvantageTennisStrategiesLLC','resizable=yes,location=yes,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,status=yes,toolbar=no,fullscreen=no,dependent=no,status'); return false" href="http://www.advantagetennisstrategies.com">Advantage Tennis Strategies LLC</a>. He may be reached by phone at (917) 991-0088 or e-mail <a href="mailto:clark@advantagetennisstrategies.com?subject=Re%3A%20Long%20Island...@advantagetennisstrategies.com</a>.</p>