In a day and age where a college degree is as important as having food on the table, it has become an incredible financial burden on families. The average annual cost for a public university is $15,460 and private universities is $32,405. Parents and kids everywhere are searching for any advantage, any way to get a leg up and lessen the blow of college tuition. College scholarships are as competitive as they have ever been, and some more than others.
Tennis is not as mainstream a sport as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and others, so it remains one of the best ways for a child to earn a scholarship. With hundreds of programs nationwide and multiple scholarships available at each one of them, if your child is a serious player, getting them to take the next step to playing college tennis could alleviate a heck of a lot of strain on your pocketbook.
Number of scholarship programs for men and women’s college tennis by division:
NCAA Division I
NCAA Division II
NJCAA Division I
There are 595 scholarship programs for men’s college tennis and 767 scholarship programs for women’s college tennis. That’s a lot of money floating around to supplement (or replace) your college fund! However, these scholarships are still incredibly competitive and if your child shows promise from a young age, you want to handle their development the right way. Here are 3 quick tips to foster your child’s talent and help them maximize their potential without burning them out:
Support them, don’t push them
This may seem obvious but if your child shows real talent from a young age and you think they have scholarship potential, it is imperative that you encourage your child and support them however you can without pushing them too hard. Many parents have seen this type of talent and seen dollar signs, pushing their child so hard they lose their love for the game. The work required to become good enough to earn a scholarship is titanic, and if the child doesn’t have the passion and drive to want to put in that work, then it is all for not. Love them, support them, and give them every opportunity that you can, and you are setting them up for the best potential outcome.
Let them play multiple sports
If your child shows huge promise on the tennis court at a young age, do not make them quit all their other sports! Other sports will help them developmentally in many ways, and also will likely lead them to love tennis even more. Over 80% of professional athletes played other sports growing up and most will tell you it helped them in their respective pro careers. Take Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, for example: both were elite soccer players as well, in fact could likely have gone pro, and credit it for their fabulous footwork.
Don’t desensitize them to losing
In the age of participation trophies and coddling, the value of losing seems to have been lost, or at least minimized. Losing is an inherent part of life and is a huge part of a child’s (especially an athlete’s) development. Losing, and losing well, can help in the long run much more than it hurts at the time of the loss. Empathize with them but stress the lessons that can come out of it and they will be stronger for it in the future.
There is no model for creating the perfect tennis star from a young age who will inevitably get a scholarship and then hit the ATP or WTA Tour. However, with your support they can go far! You can mold them at home as great people but leave it to a certified teaching professional to help mold them as players and competitors!
PlayYourCourt has phenomenal coaches all over the country who can help your child become the next Roger Federer or Serena Williams on your local court. Check out the great coaches in your area by clicking HERE. With the right mix of parental support and coaching, tennis could be the best shot for your child to get money for college!