Every day, hundreds of US-based college tennis coaches use Universal Tennis Ratings (UTRs) to assess the level of players from all over the world, including you. UTRs have fast become the standard by which a college coach determines if a prospective recruit can play at their team’s competitive level. (You can learn more about what UTRs are all about at www.universaltennis.com and what people are saying about the system here.)
But it works both ways—you can increase your chances of finding the “right fit” with a college tennis team by using the UTR system.
1. Sign up for a Basic UTR subscription. It’s free, and you can get it at www.universaltennis.com
2. Understand your UTR, and how to describe your level of play. Look yourself up on the Universal Tennis system, and make note of your significant match results. Need some help answering “What is your level of play?” Then check out ‘The top 5 questions coaches ask’ article here.
3. Look up the UTRs of players on the college team you have an interest in. We suggest you compare your UTR against the UTRs of starters (probably the top 6 rated players), as well as the UTRs of non-starters.
Take into account how long you have before entering college, as your UTR will go up the more competitive you get. Ask yourself some tough questions. Is it realistic for you to earn a starting spot? Or a spot anywhere on the roster? Could you earn a walk-on spot? Doing your research before writing to coaches will save you – and the coaches – a lot of time.
4. Start communicating with college coaches. Once you find a fit, send the coach an email expressing your interest in joining their team, with your UTR in the subject line. The coach will know immediately if you’re at a competitive level that could help their team.
5. If being recruited for a starting spot on the squad is not realistic, tell the coach your UTR and ask about the coach’s policy for walk-ons. Do they offer a walk-on tryout tournament? Ask the coach if the size of the team roster is limited due to indoor practice space. Does the college have a club tennis team? If so, why not ask for the contact info for the club tennis captains?
The USTA Tennis On Campus program provides an option for those that wish to play recreational collegiate tennis through college club tennis teams and intramural tennis programs. Get more details at www.tennisoncampus.com
Revving up your college search
Although the free version of UTR allows you to compare your rating with other players, including those that currently play on college teams, the advanced tools bundled with a Premium UTR subscription do all this much more easily.
Here’s how to use some of the power tools found on the Universal Tennis system:
1. Sign up for one of the Premium UTR subscription options found at www.universaltennis.com (For this article, we’ll be using tools available with Preimum Plus UTR subscription.)
2. As soon as you sign into the Universal Tennis system as a Premium Plus subscriber, you’ll notice that your UTR is more precise. You will now be able to see UTR values with two decimal places, and notice how your own UTR changes from day to day — hopefully in an upwards direction as you continue to improve your tennis game.
3. Search for college teams that are at your UTR level. If you hope to be starter on your new team, why not look at schools where your level is within the range of a college team’s top six players. You can quickly do this search by using the UTR system’s Advanced Search. If you have a UTR of 10.25, adjust the Power 6 UTR Spread to search for teams between 10 and 11.
The UTR Power 6™ Rating calculates the sum of the six highest, most reliable player ratings for each college team. The Power 6™ Rating and the Power 6™ UTR Spread are great measuring tools to help you prequalify for college teams of interest based on your competitive level fit. However, UTRs and their order of ratings do not imply nor compete with college tennis player or team rankings, as these rankings are determined by different factors. Also, the Power 6™ UTR Rating does not imply nor suggest an actual college team lineup.
4. Fine tune your search of schools by selecting where you might like to play. There are search filters for division (NCAA DI, DII, DIII, NAIA, NJCAA, and California CC), conference, state, and city.
5. Have a favourite college search you wish to use in the future? Then save it to your Universal Tennis system dashboard. Players’ UTRs will fluctuate based on how well they compete. In some cases, new players within the team’s roster may not have a 100% reliable UTR. Those UTRs will change as players get more matches processed by the Universal Tennis system. You can quickly see updated UTRs with your saved searches when you return to the Universal Tennis system at any time in the future.
6. Of course, you can also save all your favourite college teams you want to follow to your UTR dashboard as well.
You can learn more about the latest Premium Plus UTR features here.
Starting off with a free Basic UTR subscription is easy, and happens at www.universaltennis.com/free-registration.aspx
If you discover other ways to use the Universal Tennis system to assist with your college recruiting efforts, please share them with others by adding your comments below this post.
[Photo: Cal Athletics]