What do Tennis Coaches Seek?

Top 4 factors that college coaches evaluate when awarding sports scholarships for tennis.

What do Tennis Coaches Seek?

If you’re looking to get an athletic scholarship playing tennis for a university in the U.S., understanding what coaches want will give you a tremendous advantage over your competition. We have listed the top 4 factors that coaches use to determine who receives an athletic scholarship, and who does not:


  1. Athletic ProfileYour athletic ability is the first factor coaches will look at – they seek to find the best players possible for their college. As a potential recruit, you need to critically evaluate your athletic skills and be realistic about it. Some ways to evaluate yourself:
    • ITF Ranking – ITF tournaments are well-known worldwide and it is a great parameter for comparison. Competing in these tournaments provides a great basis for the coaches since they understand the different levels of these tournaments and gives a better idea of each player’s level.
    • UTR Rating – “What is your UTR?” It is probably one of the first questions you will hear from coaches. The UTR is considered one of the most reliable tools to indicate the actual level of a player, sometimes this indicator can surpass local competition results you had in the past.
    • Recruitment Advisors – Getting an expert who can help you to make an honest and objective assessment of your tennis level and evaluate your potential to receive an Athletic Scholarship. At USP we have more than 25 years of experience advising tennis players seeking scholarships.
  2. Academic ProfileMany players wonder “If I am seeking an athletic scholarship, is my academic performance really important?” The answer is YES! Your academic performance will be one of the main factors that coaches consider when recruiting you. It might be a deciding factor to untie between you and a similar recruit. Mainly, they look at:
    • SAT Score: A good result on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is a requirement to be admitted to the college, in order to attend and represent your university (eligibility).  The university will only consider your highest score, so we recommend taking the exam more than once. Each university has its own minimum required score to be accepted.
    • TOEFL score: The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test that measures your proficiency and aptitude of the English Language. Most universities require international students to take this test to assess their English level, just like the SAT, each university has a minimum score required for admission.
    • GPA (Grade Point Average): Universities will take into account the grade point average of your last 4 years at school. This is one of the reasons why we suggest you start your preparation as soon as possible!
    • A good academic performance gives the coach a peace of mind and security. First, it indicates responsibility and work ethic – important attributes for any coach. In addition, students with low grades are not allowed to play and represent the college in official competitions; If you have good grades, the coach will see a low risk of this happening.Finally, obtaining a good score on the exams and great grade results can award you with an academic scholarship. Consequently, this is added to the athletic scholarship, which means a greater discount on university costs.
  3. Family BudgetIt is important to be clear about college costs and how much your family can afford. The average cost of public universities is around $ 30,000 USD annually, and private ones cost twice as much. When it comes to athletic scholarships, not all sports follow the same guidelines.When it comes to tennis, full scholarships are primarily offered in women’s tennis. In men’s tennis, the most common scholarships range from 25% to 75%. Since coaches have a limited budget, the player’s affordability becomes an important factor when it comes down to finding the right college fit for him.
  4. Participate in Recruitment EventsMost coaches prefer to meet the player personally and watch them compete before making the decision to offer a scholarship. That is why we recommend players to participate in tournaments and events specifically designed to increase their exposure to coaches and maximize the possibility of receiving scholarship offers.At USP we have more than 13 years of experience conducting top-notch recruitment events. Our events are of a high competitive level and are attended by coaches from across the United States. Around 60% of the players who attend these events receive athletic scholarship offers! You can learn more in our events section: Click Here


The X Factor – Your Personality:

This is something that will be difficult to express through an email or recruitment video, your personality is crucial for the coach. It goes beyond numbers and statistics. When you join the team, you will become part of this select privileged group for 4 years, you will share memorable memories with your coach and teammates more than with anyone at the university. So it is important to evaluate you as an individual and if you will fit correctly with the dynamic of the current team.

Coaches look for true “team players” who will be there to support the team through the ups and downs and become a leader when necessary, players with integrity and values ​​that will not only add to their team but to the university as well. So be sure to use this!

It is important to note that each coach is different, but coaches will definitely evaluate these factors (and others) differently from one year to the other. However, our experience tells us that if you pay attention to these 4 factors (and the x-factor), your chances of conquering an athletic scholarship will be higher.

Remember, our job and core focus is to help you maximize your scholarship opportunities and find the best college for you.