USA TODAY High School Sports has a weekly column on the college recruiting process. Here, you’ll find practical tips and real-world advice on becoming a better recruit to maximize your opportunities and play at the college level. Kyle Winters was a standout high school pitcher who tossed seven scoreless innings in a major tournament during his senior year. That performance against some heavy-hitting future MLB draft picks helped Kyle earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of New Mexico. However, Kyle opted to play professional baseball and was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round and played seven seasons for various minor league teams. Kyle is just one of many former college and professional players, college coaches and parents who are part of the Next College Student Athlete team. Their knowledge, experience and dedication, along with NCSA’s history of digital innovation and long-standing relationship with the college coaching community, have made NCSA the largest and most successful athletic recruiting network in the country.
Looking to play college tennis? Attending college tennis camps can help you perform at your peak and give you the exposure you need to get discovered by coaches. To help you save hours of research time, NCSA has compiled a list of every 2019 men’s and women’s NCAA DI, DII, DIII and NAIA tennis camp in the country. This definitive list includes the state, school, date, division level, name, age/grade level and cost of each camp.
What are the three main types of tennis camps?
Prospect camps: One-day prospect and exposure camps spend around 75 percent of their time on evaluation and 25 percent on training. In most cases, only coaches and athletes from the host school will be in attendance to lead drills and get to know recruits. If you’re already on the coach’s radar, attending a tennis prospect camp can be an important next step for your recruiting progress. Keep in mind that coaches are evaluating more than your skill on the tennis court. They also want to make sure you have the right attitude and approach to thrive in their program.
Skill camps and clinics: Tennis skill camps and clinics spend around 75 percent of their time on training and 25 percent on evaluation. This category covers both basic beginner camps and advanced camps for elite players. The camp schedule will typically focus on improving key tennis skills: serve, forehand, backhand, volley, overhead and short game. Instructional sessions will cover singles and doubles tactics. These camps typically range from 1-4 days and often include meals and room/board. Tennis coaches from 5-10 programs may be on hand to lead drills and training sessions.
Team camps and showcases: These camps place the highest emphasis on match play and evaluation. Team camps and showcases typically feature singles and doubles competition between high school and club teams. The most prestigious team camps and showcases often draw college coaches from 20-30 tennis programs or more. While these camps can include a few drills and instructional sessions, the focus is primarily on teamwork and competitive play in a high-pressure tournament setting. Looking to cast a wide net and get evaluated by multiple coaches at once? A showcase or team camp could be your best option.
Which 2019 college tennis camp is right for you?
If you are serious about playing tennis for a particular school, you need to get evaluated by the coaching staff. Your best shot at getting evaluated in person is by attending a tennis camp. You can either sign up for that college’s camp or find another camp where their staff will be working. It’s not uncommon for Division II, Division III and NAIA coaches to volunteer at major Division I tennis camps.
Three keys to a successful tennis camp experience
You’ve researched your options, made your choice and registered for a camp. Now how do you make sure you ace it? Here are three keys to getting the most out of your tennis camp.
Be prompt. When it comes to college tennis camps, early is on time and on time is late. Double check registration and start times and give yourself plenty of time to get warmed up before things get under way. You don’t want to miss any drills or instruction time.
Be prepared. Double check your bag to make sure you have all your equipment. Bring your racket, shoes, plenty of water, cap/visor, towel, sweat bands, tape and anything else you think you might need for tennis drills and tournament play. If the camp is overnight, you’ll need to pack extra clothing, toiletries and bedding. Check the website — many tennis camps include a packing list.
Be positive. College coaches are looking for recruits who are coachable and consistently demonstrate a positive mentality. They’re evaluating your body language and attitude in addition to your skill on the court. Staying positive and giving your best effort at all times will show coaches your mental toughness.
Follow up after the camp
After the camp is over, make sure to follow up with the college tennis coaches you met. Thank them for the opportunity and ask for feedback on ways to improve. Keep the conversation going by sending updates whenever you have something noteworthy to share — a new ranking, highlights from your last match and your latest academic transcript are all great reasons to press send.
Read more: How to email college tennis coaches