Tennis Camp: Everything you need to know
Many of the country's top high school tennis players have asked themselves, "Where are tennis camps near me?" This is due to high-level tennis camps providing several benefits. The primary one is playing for hours every day. This focus on your game can only improve it. Also, those who participate generally gain confidence and a greater sense of independence, both of which are valuable in preparing for the next level. College tennis camps provide an added benefit of generally being held on college campuses, which provide a sense of familiarity with that type of environment. This benefit is enhanced if you are considering attending that particular tennis college.
A tennis camp can be organized in several different ways. Some last a few hours while others are overnight or even days long. A number of them are focused on particular age ranges; others are more varied. They can also be focused on a time of the year with some taking place in every season. Also, a few will be staffed and overseen by several college tennis coaches while others will have coaches who have a significant amount of experience in the sport but are not currently coaching NCAA tennis.
The specifics of your camping experience will vary depending on the camp. However, in general, you will be evaluated after arriving to ensure that the ensuing lessons fit your ability level and style. During the camp, you will receive instruction as well as play matches. Some tennis camps provide videotape analysis so that you can better improve your form. Team building is often incorporated, which is especially crucial to those heading to college to become part of tennis teams there.
How can I find a tennis camp near me?
How do you go about finding tennis camps near you? Fortunately, several resources are available to do so. One of the best things that you can do is check the official athletics department websites of nearby schools, as well as ones that you are considering playing for that, are further away. With D1 tennis schools, D2 tennis schools and D3 tennis schools located throughout the country, you are most likely near one or, in many cases, several.
Do also peruse sources that offer comprehensive lists of tennis camps. NCSA and Athnet are a couple of good ones. Another is the MyTennisLessons.com blog, while KidsCamps.com is a helpful resource as well.
Also, check out websites for local parks venues. For example, the City of South Bend Venues Parks & Arts provides a page dedicated to its tennis camp offerings. Of course, if you are in or near South Bend, Ind., consider tennis camps offered by the University of Notre Dame.
Major tennis camps
A few tennis camps stand out amongst the rest and should be considered.
IMG Academy has been offering tennis camps for the past few decades and has helped develop ten players who would move on to be ranked No. 1 in the world. They are designed for junior players from ages 8-18 while the skill levels of those in the camps vary. Tennis Camper specializes in summer tennis camps, which are located in 19 states and also focused on players ages 8-18. Another popular option is Rafa Nadal Academy. However, note that those offerings are only available during the summer months.
Types of tennis camps
As you research which options are available in your area or in areas where you plan to travel, take into account the types of camps that are offered. Although most of the options are summer tennis camps such as the Nike tennis camp at the University of Illinois, some organizations provide winter tennis camps like those provided by Cañas Tennis Academy as well. In the latter case, they are either located in a warm winter climate such as Miami or indoor facilities.
Also, consider if you want a day camp experience or an overnight camp one. Your budget will play a role in that decision as overnight ones do tend to cost more. However, the benefits are significant as you get to experience more of what it would be like to play college tennis, especially on road trips.
You also want to consider ones that meet not only your age but also your skill level. When you do, coaches and trainers are better equipped to help you flourish. US Sports Camps, which organize Nike tennis camps, offer several ones focused on youth players. In addition to Nike tennis events, Wilson collegiate tennis camps provide several options such as ones that are held at Brown University. Wilson also offers many elite tennis camps.
Whether or not camps are sponsored by shoe companies such as Nike tennis or Adidas tennis, tennis camps provide tremendous opportunities to develop your skills and prepare you for the demands of playing NCAA tennis. Quality ones not only help you grow physically, but they also emphasize the mental and strategic side of the sport. So much of this sport is mental, and so much of the success experienced in it is related to strategy, both within a rally and in the bigger picture.
College tennis camps, clinics and showcases
Some of the specified types of college tennis camps and similar events are prospect camps, clinics, and showcases.
In prospect camps, coaches evaluate tennis recruits. Generally, these only include NCAA tennis coaches from the institution that is hosting the college tennis camp. In most cases, about three-quarters of the time that players spend there are evaluations with the remaining quarter spent on training. Do note that they evaluate your demeanor along with other factors in addition to your ability on the court.
Clinics tend to have the reverse focus with about three-quarters of your time there is spent on training with the other quarter on being evaluated. As a result, these types of college tennis camps tend to be quite valuable for improving your skills as they generally consist of one-on-one settings. Some specialized clinics can focus on just one aspect of your game such as forehands, backhands, or volleys.
Showcases consist of competitive environments in which you will play other top players and showcase your skills to NCAA tennis coaches. Do also consider that how you play and the professionalism that you show on and off the court will often get back to coaches who have you on their lists of tennis recruits even if they are not there. Conversely, some of the most prestigious showcases will have NCAA tennis coaches from dozens of the top programs in attendance.
In the vast majority of cases, you do not need to be invited to these events to take part. However, a few significant exceptions include some elite showcases; some of those, you will need an invite to participate. If one or more interest you, contact them and see if you have a tennis resume of high enough quality to be invited.
College tennis rankings
As you proceed through the tennis recruiting process, ensure that you are narrowing your list of tennis colleges that you are considering. One way to do that is by keeping up to date on college tennis rankings. NCSA has compiled some of the most useful ones as it combines which ones are the favorites within its network with those that have been rated highly by U.S. News & World Report and have top graduation rates. These are compiled for both men's tennis and women's tennis. The lists are similar but not identical. In the top five in both are Duke University, Harvard University, and Stanford University.
Also, consider which ones have the best teams. Of course, do place quite a bit of emphasis on potential as well as current success or lack thereof does not guarantee that that is what you will experience in your time there. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association releases top-75 national rankings for both men's and women's tennis every week. Rankings are compiled for D1 tennis, D2 tennis, and D3 tennis as well as for NAIA and junior college teams.
NCAA tennis coaches
If you are at a college tennis camp such as a Stanford tennis camp or a Clemson tennis camp, it is vital to understand the importance of communicating with NCAA tennis coaches. During an exposure camp, your communication method will mainly be how you play, but it will not solely be that. Afterward, NCAA tennis coaches will often explain how you can improve your game. Not only is that information invaluable, but how you receive it and put it into action is being observed too.
College tennis scholarships
Whether or not professional tennis is in your future, playing NCAA tennis will provide you with several significant benefits. These include, if you are fortunate enough to receive a scholarship from a tennis college, part or all of your costs of attendance being taken care of. And the ability to test yourself against the nation's best is a significant plus. But, in order to get there, you should be taking part in tennis camps. They help with the tennis recruiting process as well as in other areas of your game.
You should also consider the competition that exists for these scholarships as only a small percentage of high school athletes make the jump to college tennis. Also, this sport in particular is very international in nature as about half of the D1 tennis players are not American. For example, Ole Miss' 2018-19 roster was comprised of two Americans and six international players.
What does it take to get a college tennis scholarship? Not only does it take physical talent, but you also need a high tennis IQ, solid academic records and a professional attitude. However, you also want to ensure that you find the best fit for yourself athletically, academically and socially. Although tennis will understandably be an important piece of the puzzle, it will be far from the only one.
A resource that many take advantage of is NCSA. This organization was founded in 2000 by Chris Krause, who had struggled with his own recruitment process in the 1980s before landing at his best fit: Vanderbilt University. The former football player wanted to ensure that future athletes would be a lot more knowledgeable during their experiences than he had been, and NCSA is the result of that vision.
One way that is done is by focusing on both sides, wanting coaches to find the best fits possible as well. As a result, 35,000 sports coaches are in the NCSA network, and those connections help potential tennis players improve their chances of securing a tennis scholarship. This additional focus on helping coaches also ensures that they are just as pleased with what NCSA has to offer them as tennis players are.
Since its founding, more than 100,000 NCSA athletes have reported committing to a college team in a variety of sports. Many of those have shared positive reviews and endorsements of NCSA. In fact, the organization has earned an average Google Reviews score of 4.9 out of a maximum 5.0 stars with more than 2,000 reviews going into that calculation.
It should be noted that much of what impresses athletes and their parents are the education resources that the NCSA has made available. It helps to know exactly what is going on during the recruiting process as it can be complicated. There is a lot of information that will not be presented to you unless you seek it out. If you want to find the best fit for yourself, you want to seek that out and plan accordingly.
If you would like to take advantage of NCSA's resources and extensive network, start your free profile now. Make sure to call 866 495-5172 if you have any questions about the form or what NCSA has to offer.