Choosing the College Sports Pathway
I was, maybe, 7- or 8 years-old when I picked up a tennis racket. There was no pressure. No thought of “Turning Professional” or a “going to a Good School with a great Tennis Program”. There was no end-goal. I played because I just loved it. And the more I played, the more I loved it and the better my performance was.
But fast forward a few years later, when I finally started to play consistently, the questions started coming: “Where is tennis going to take you?”, “Will you become a professional tennis player?”
If I were asked these questions today, given what I’ve experienced and witnessed, there is actually a path that every good tennis player needs to consider very seriously, in order to grow from a good to an amazing player.
And that is, by choosing the College Sports pathway. I can see you raising your brows right now, as you read this, thinking, “College sports! Really ? Why not directly turn Pro.. I am good enough? There are a lot of reasons why you should give College Sports Pathway, a real shot.
The Difference between the Junior Athlete and the Pro Athlete
The ability gap between a top Junior Player and the lowest ranked Pro-Player is HUGE.
When you turn Pro, you are saying to the world, “This is my career”. You are willing to dedicate your life towards the game and are willing to commit fully to all that is needed. You don’t have a “trial” period. Either you are a Pro or you are not. You have no chance of turning the clock back to “amateur” status for a few more years – so that you get a chance to get more training and exposure.
College Athletics – Bridges the Gap
College Athletics bridges the gap between a Junior Player and the Pro Player by providing the intensity of training and competition that are right for your age and ability. College Sports also gives you the character boost that you can’t learn from any league. It gives you the ability to juggle your academic workload with your training timetable, and the opportunity to learn to play as a part of a team.
I used to think that tennis was a selfish sport – not like basketball or soccer where the team depends on the collective skills and coordination of the individual players. Tennis is just about you. However, my collegiate tennis career changed all that. In a practical sense, it’s never just about you. A human being by nature, is a social animal. Playing sports in college will make you adjust to your team’s dynamics – building you up as an individual and part of a team.
No athlete should be torn between choosing to go to College or turning Professional. When you choose to go to college, you are walking along the path to get to a professional career. Eventually
A college sporting career contributes not only to your professional career (should you decide on it) but more importantly, to your personal growth as a well-educated, adaptable citizen of the world.