Tennis in the American Collegiate System
The United States college pathway comes with many exciting and extraordinary opportunities. It allows young tennis players to further develop their skills at a high level while simultaneously gaining a university degree. College tennis includes both doubles and singles matches with the NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA as overseers of the entirety of the college tennis system.
A fixture in college tennis is a schedule of matches between two opposing teams, organised by the coaches of each respective team that is set to compete. A coach chooses six players from their squad of approximately ten for each fixture to take on the opposing tennis team. A fixture typically kicks off with three simultaneous doubles matches played as best-of-three sets, and the first team to win two out of the three doubles matches takes the doubles point. After the three doubles matches are concluded, six singles matches which are also played as best-of-three sets and count towards one singles point, are played, and the first team to win four singles points wins the overall fixture.
College Tennis Programs & Scholarships
Altogether, college tennis boasts over 1,000 programs throughout the United States, with most teams comprising 9 or 10 players per gender. Those 1,000 programs include NCAA, NJCAA, and NAIA, making college tennis accessible to players of all levels! In regard to scholarships, there are varying rules which are entirely dependent upon the division or organisation that your school competes in:
Regarding the “headcount” and “equivalency” scholarship types, headcount refers to the athletes receiving full-ride scholarships. Therefore, the entirety of an athlete’s expenses, such as their dorm room, board and tuition fees are paid for. Equivalency, on the other hand, refers to a divided scholarship, therefore, the organisation offers partial scholarships for each athlete on whichever team.
Resources at your Disposal
Once you become a college tennis player, no matter what level you decide to play at, there is an abundance of resources available to better yourself as an athlete, an academic, and as a person. The coaching staff take a holistic approach to player development – working with players physically, mentally and academically. It’s these coaches’ job to make sure you have everything you need at your disposal, whether it’s extra practice time, extra study time or even just a chat, they are there to help you to reach your ultimate potential!
Every college has athletic trainers to help with any injuries you may sustain while competing at the college level. It’s their job to help you with rehabilitation and get you back on the court as soon as possible. For example, the University of Texas spends over $1 million annually on both its Men’s and Women’s tennis programs, with state-of-the-art facilities designed to bring out the best in all of its tennis players.
There are around 1000 tennis programs in America’s collegiate sports system, so we often get asked, “How much extra does it cost to travel between competitions?”. The answer to that question is nothing!! These programs all have a budget to help players compete all over the States by funding players’ travel, accommodation and food while they are on the road. Whether by plane, bus or car, it’s all included as soon as you step onto campus.
Although popular, the collegiate tennis community is a tight-knit community where colleges help network you with fellow players, coaches and alums who can help set you up in the right direction and help you with your future career aspirations. All of these resources are designed to help you become a well-rounded individual both on and off the court, as well as making the most out of your college tennis experience.
The American college pathway has been a stepping stone for countless successful professional tennis athletes who developed their skills and honed their talent whilst competing in college tournaments. The current 14th-ranked singles player in the world and Kiwi native Cameron Norrie is a prime example of an American college success story. With spending three years at Texas Christian University and, upon his exit, becoming the first player in the college’s history to finish the season ranked No. 1 in the Oracle/ITA singles poll and still currently holding the TCU season singles winning percentage record after winning 21 matches and only losing one all at the No. 1 position. Another incredible success story lies with Danielle Collins, who competed in collegiate tennis at the University of Virginia and went on to win the NCAA singles title twice in 2014 and 2016, becoming the seventh woman of all time ever to win two NCAA singles titles. In 2022 she reached a career-high world ranking of No. 7 in women’s singles and became an Australian Open finalist that same year. Here at Platform Sports Management, we strive to create these remarkable success stories for each and every one of our athletes with an incredibly transparent approach and a high-quality service for a reasonable price, we are looking to help make your dreams come true.