Special from Scholarship For Athletes
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Ross Greenstein of Scholarship for Athletes talks with Scott Thielke, head coach of the Kenyon College men's and women's tennis programs. Thielke emphasizes the need to evaluate universities at all levels - academically, athletically, and socially - in order to make the most educated decision on choosing a school.
Questions and Answers Scholarship For Athletes (SFA): What advice do you have for high school athletes that strive to play college sports?
Scott Thielke (ST): The amount of time high school athletes put into their training is important. Most successful college tennis players join teams where they can have an immediate impact. Tennis is unlike most sports. When a team is ahead by a lot in tennis, there are still no substitutions. You need playing time to get better and if you are sitting on the sidelines during your freshman and sophomore years you will not reach your full potential.
SFA: At SFA, we try to explain to our clients that the recruiting process is like being on a three year job interview; is that how you view the recruiting process?
ST: During a high school athlete's sophomore year they should develop their list of potential schools. The junior year is an important year to make unofficial visits to schools on your list. Speaking with the coach while on campus and getting a sense of whether or not you will fit the program is important. The early fall is the best time to visit schools during their senior year. This allows more flexibility with Early Decision deadlines and completing applications on time.
SFA: What kind of questions should every high school student athlete ask their potential college coaches?
ST: I believe it is important for the coach to be asked questions about their own college tennis experience. Many times, a coach will handle their team the way they were handled as a player. If they tell stories about their college tennis years, it can provide you a great deal of knowledge about what your experience will be like in their program.