Becoming good enough to be a college athlete is tough. Earning a scholarship to play in college is even tougher. There are lots of youth coaches out there in other sports who tell all parents and kids that scholarships are available as long as they invest thousands per year and play just one sport year-round…. In general, that doesn’t feel honest and we aren’t going to push that same message.
The most accurate thing we can tell you is that non-scholarship college tennis is a realistic goal for quite a few kids in our programs. I can name at least 12 SHS players who have graduated since 2012 who have been good enough to play at many local colleges.
Beyond that, being good enough to walk on court and play for fun or competitively with most people is a great feeling, whether you play in college or not. We will do everything we can to help you become the player that you want to be.
If you want to set your sights on playing in college, how good is good enough? On average, teams like Sherwood produce 1-2 players each year who could play at the D-III level (George Fox, Linfield, Lewis and Clark…). Some of those teams are getting very tough to make, while others are not. So, set your sights on being the #1 or #2 player at Sherwood and being able to compete with or beat the #1 players from a lot of other schools. Easy, right?
How do you get there?
The easiest way is to be very athletic and put in some time to be good. Honestly, we’ve had very athletic kids who started their sophomore year, played about 6 months per year and could have played in college.
For those of us who aren’t so lucky and aren’t as athletic, you’ll need to put in more time. You’ll need to improve your athleticism (more fit, faster, stronger) and also pick up the skills with lots of practice. You’ll want to play pretty seriously at least 9 months a year and get some professional instruction to make sure your fundamentals are solid (so you are practicing the right things).
Should families invest in tennis like they do for other sports? The term “invest” when referring to youth sports is interesting. Most of the money “invested” will not come back. But it does come back through life skills, learning how to work hard, having fun and building confidence. So, take advantage of we offer here in Sherwood, but look at options like group lessons at George Fox or some private lessons to make sure your hard work is in the right direction.
Will that work for everyone? Nope. There are no guarantees, but at the end of the day, you’ll be a lot better than when you started at a game that you can play the rest of your life. And you’ll be able to walk on court and compete with most people, which is great for both social and professional reasons.
And a quick shout out to some of the SHS players with recent college tennis experience:
Erica Lee just started her junior season as the #1 player at Whitworth
Courtney Mostul recently wrapped up a successful college tennis career at Linfield
Alec Wisthoff also played at Linfield and has stayed active in Sherwood tennis, running Monday Night Tennis in 2017
Zac Bowers got his tennis career started at Sherwood High and now plays for Southern Virginia