You’ve heard of it, but you don’t know if you should? Is it really worth it? Chances are you will live the best experience of your life. Here are 7 reasons why you should probably give college tennis a shot.
Put simply, universities allocate scholarships to athletes so that they will compete for their teams while completing their studies. The number of scholarships varies according to the division (I, II, III, NAIA), and, in tennis, more scholarships are allocated to women. Full scholarships will cover all of your academic expenses, in addition to accommodation and meals. In some universities, tuition only is worth over $60,000 per year!
In addition to getting free schooling, all of your tennis expenses will be covered. This means you will train about 20 hours a week and travel to matches and tournaments… all for free! Usually, the team will also provide you with all the equipment you need (clothing, rackets, shoes, strings, overgrips, etc.), as well as services (physiotherapy, fitness training, injury prevention, etc.).
Most coaches organize one-on-one sessions outside of team practice hours, and the tennis courts are usually always available for the team. There's always a team around you that cares about your development as an athlete.
If English isn’t your first language, don’t stress! You will improve your English very fast, without even realizing it, just by being fully immersed in the environment. It may seem intimidating at first, but your university has all the resources to help you if needed. At the end of your 4 years, you will most definitely be completely bilingual, and it is a skill you will keep for life!
The employment scene is more and more competitive. Playing college tennis in a US university will give you an edge against other work candidates. Employers highly value college athletes because they know that they have had to develop time management skills, discipline, hard work, stress management, team work, etc. Also, in a lot of countries, having a US education will make you stand out, and your English skills will be recognized.
Did you know that about 60% of college players are international students? In the course of your 4 years, you will meet people from all over the world. They will expose you to different cultures, languages, and ways of thinking. It will open you up to the world like nothing else, and you will have many opportunities to travel abroad through contacts and friendships made in college.
The BEST part about college tennis? You make friends for a lifetime. More than friendships, your teammates will become family. You will get to know them as if they were your brothers and sisters, learn about their cultures, their language, and most likely get an open invitation to visit them in their home country.
In fact, many professional players first played college before turning pro. That is the case of John Isner, Kevin Anderson, James Blake, Danielle Collins, and many more. Top university programs will sometimes feature former professional players or professional coaches that know exactly how to prepare you for the pro tour. Also, it is a fun and affordable (read: “free”) way to make the transition if you are not quite ready to go pro just yet.
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