Playing college tennis has by been the best experience of my life, hands down. I would recommend it to absolutely every young Australian tennis player as something that is well worth working towards. What many young players don’t realise, is that college tennis doesn’t have to be a ‘back-up’ plan to going pro. Many players who have played college tennis have gone on to have prosperous professional careers. It is a stepping stone towards going pro for some.
So whether or not you do in fact want to go pro, the four years you spend playing college tennis for a team not only hones your tennis skills in an intense and highly motivated environment, it places you in an environment in which you obtain so much more.
I have now lived in the US for three and a half years, I have explored many US cities, met unique, interesting and knowledgeable people, made lifelong friends from all around the world, and been inspired by some fascinating and experienced professors. But juggling the sport and study has also taught me some priceless valuable life lessons; time management, sacrifice, discipline, competition, work ethic, selflessness, teamwork and compassion.
It’s not just about hitting thousands of balls, playing college tennis is an overall experience like no other. By earning an athletic scholarship, you earn yourself an incredible array of resources, all of which are there to benefit YOU. Student-athletes are inundated with a generous supply of racquets, balls, bags, clothes, shoes, medical insurance and treatment by a full time medical staff and athletic trainer, strength and conditioning, air tickets, hotel stays and meals out when on-the-road, courses, private tutors (if requested), textbooks, academic advising, mentor programs, career networking seminars…the list goes on and it doesn’t end. Student athletes are provided with every possible means to succeed, not only on the court but in the classroom. It is another world of athletics in the USA, one that Aussies cannot even comprehend until they experience it for themselves.
This is why I would encourage all young aspiring Aussie players to get educated about the American College system, take the classes in high school you need to be eligible to get a scholarship, and practice hard, because when you get there, they are four years of your life you will not regret.