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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Coaches Q and A: How Do I Market Myself to College Coaches?

With college tennis championships in full swing, today we have Andy Brandi of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida providing advice on getting the attention of the college programs you might like to join. Before joining the HSTI, Brandi was a long-time coach of the University of Florida women.

Today's question: How do I make myself visible to coaches before the start of my senior year and what makes me attractive to those coaches?

Andy Brandi responds:

It is almost time to begin the final year in the recruiting process for juniors in high school. July 1st is the first day coaches can call you.

By now, you have received letters and emails from schools and their programs. Your job was to select 5 to 7 of those schools as your choices to become a college player. For those who did not get letters from schools or did not get letters from the schools they would like to attend, I have the following suggestions:

1-Send an e-mail to the coaches of those schools you are interested in. Send information about your tennis, tournament results and rankings. Let them know you would like to go to school there.

2-Send a video. If the coach is not familiar with your game, a video can show your ability. The coach can then decide if you are good enough to be a part of their program.

3-Visit the campus.You can take unofficial visits during your junior year, meaning you pay for the trip.

4-Lastly, you may call and talk to the coach. Remember that you can call them, but they cannot call you until July 1st! Do not leave a message because they cannot return the call! (Coaches are allowed to return emails during your junior year.)

One thing that you must be is realistic. Be sure that you are good enough to play at the schools you are considering.

Coaches are always looking for individuals that can help their programs. Ability, rankings, tournament results, big wins and talent are the obvious traits they consider. They are looking for players that will be coachable, good students, model citizens and team players. Bear in mind that coaches do recruit players whom they consider developmental projects. If you have the potential, they will consider you.

If all this fails, then your last resort is to contact a recruiting service. They will find you a school for a fee. Bear in mind that it will not be one of your top choices. It might be an obscure school.

Their job is to find you a school. They will fulfill their obligation by going to lower division I or II schools that you might not be interested in. To me this would be the last resort. You can find a school of your choice if you are realistic about your ability and your academic qualifications. Do the research.

Be smart in your decision. Remember this is a major decision that will impact your life for the next 4 years. Good luck!

Do you have a question for Andy or Harold? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line.


Anonymous said...

This is not for top players.

I knew a guy from my junior days who was having trouble getting coaches to show interest in him. My the middle of his senior year he still did not have any scholorship offers so finally he hatched a plan to go to them. He sent letters to 130 college tennis coaches. 6 replied. The other 124 just blew him off, not so much as even a phone call or letter back saying no thanks. However, the plan worked. He eventually talked to those six coaches that showed interest in him and got his scholorship because he took the initiatitve to go after them. Sometimes thats what needs to be done.

Even though 95% of them didnt even reply to him, the important part is that a couple did, and all you need is one to want you. So dont be afraid to be the agressor in recruiting. I hope that helps someone.