NORCROSS, GA 5/25/16

NOTE: At HIGH-TECH TENNIS, we recognize that any success we are fortunate enough to have is due largely to excellent relationships that we have developed with key tennis people… People like COACH TORREY HAWKINS @ LIFETIME TENNIS & COLLEGE SCOUT MARK DODD @ NATIONAL SCOUTING REPORT. We appreciate the opportunity to help junior players achieve their recruiting goals & we were very happy to have been invited to participate in today’s session. We sat in during the first of two sessions, along with approximately 12 BOYS ranging from rising freshmen to rising seniors. The second session contained approximately 10 players, including several females, so they likely addressed Title IX issues during that session but we were busy, capturing content for a college recruit video.

We know that many of you could not attend – so in the interest of sharing information, here are some very valuable highlights. ENJOY!
{Any errors in transcribed highlights are unintentional.}


Mark kicked things off by introducing himself, mentioning that he has been a coach/official for many years & as the Director of Tennis @ Rome-Floyd Tennis Center, he ran all the tournaments in Rome, GA. He thanked Coach Torrey Hawkins for inviting him in & pointed out that it would not have happened if Coach Torrey didn’t care about every one of the players in the room.

Mark shared that he’s been around the game for a long time but is is now in a new capacity as a College Scout for National Scouting Report (NSR), the oldest & largest college scouting/recruiting organization in the country with over 250 scouts throughout the USA & a presence in 9 different countries. NSR scouts for every sport that colleges recruit for but they have never been that big into tennis – until now.


7: There are over 7,000,000 high school athletes playing high school sports.

5: Fewer than 5% of those athletes play college athletics.

1: Fewer than 1% of those athletes play Division I athletics.

.5: Fewer than .5% of those athletes play @ a Major Conference in Division I.

.1: Fewer than .1% of those athletes play @ the pro level.

Those numbers can be pretty depressing but the good news is that the earlier you start the process, the better off you’re going to be. The players that get left out are the ones who wait until the very end. Mark shared that he recently got a call from a dad whose son was about to graduate in two weeks but they’d done nothing to prepare & wanted to know how they should go about finding a college. Clearly that player was at a huge disadvantage because he’d waited too, too long.


“I don’t need any help because my coach will take care of that for me.”

Coaches are paid to coach, not to help you find a college. Of course your coach will help you as much as he can but he’s got a lot of other players to worry about, he’s got his own life to worry about, he’s got his family to worry about…The point is that the coach will be limited so it is up to the PLAYER to accept that responsibility for themselves & understand that the PLAYER is in charge of the process.

“I’m so good that I don’t have to worry about anything. Coaches will just find me.”

Mark shared that a player named Howard, the tight end for Alabama & MVP of the National Championship game, was not being recruited & his coach contacted NSR for help. 6’5″, 225 lbs in high school & nobody was recruiting him. Same thing happened to Hines Ward, one of the greatest players in GA history. So no matter how good you think you are, do not wait. Coach Torrey pointed out that this was football – major D-I, revenue-generating sport – but the players just didn’t understand the process themselves. Just because you see or talk to a coach or maybe get a letter in the mail, that is NO GUARANTEE that you are being recruited at all.

“I don’t need to worry about recruiting until I’m a senior.”

The recruiting process is starting so early nowadays that, though coaches would prefer to wait, they cannot take the chance because other coaches are jumping on it so early. NSR just had an 8th grader commit to play softball for Alabama. Alabama also just extended an offer to an 8th grader to play college football. It is happening everywhere! Mark shared that his cousin is head coach of a Division II softball team & he has completed his recruiting through 2018 & is working on 2019. Tennis is heading that way – especially @ the Power Conferences.

“I don’t really have to go to class & when I do, I can take it easy because my grades don’t really matter.”

That is so clearly untrue. Grades make a huuuge difference because coaches love to get academic money so they don’t have to spend athletic money. When choosing between two players with similar skills, coaches will take the player with the better grades every single time because it’s one less than thing to worry about. Players have to accept that & work at it to get the best grades possible. Even a GPA of 3.5 is not as good as 3.8 – that’s just how tight it is.


There’s good tennis all the way around but what separates the schools is usually how many sports the schools offer.

DIVISION I – There are just 4.5 scholarships available for men’s tennis. That is why many coaches “blend” the academic money + athletic money. Also, there are not that many teams that are fully-funded so the 4.5 might be just 2 or 3 scholarships per school.

DIVISION II – There are just 4.5 scholarships but most are not fully-funded for tennis.

DIVISION III – NO athletic money for scholarships but if you’ve got the grades up high enough, you can get a really good academic package & most of the NSR players who end up @ Division III end up with better packages than those who go Division I.

NAIA – Totally different from NCAA as far as rules; pretty much a free-for-all. There are 5 scholarships but most are not fully-funded for tennis.

TOTAL MEN’S TENNIS TEAMS IN ALL DIVISIONS IN USA: 950 <including junior college>.

If you’re a good player, coaches will want you…IF THEY KNOW ABOUT YOU. So how does it work???


1. IDENTIFICATION: They have to know about you & there are many tools that might help them find you. Rankings,, UTR. These are just guidelines but in the end, coaches want to see you play. HIGH-TECH TENNIS CAN CREATE A VIDEO THAT WILL HELP YOU GET NOTICED BY THESE COACHES!!

2. EVALUATION: They’ve got you listed as a potential recruit & now they begin to review your video, they’ll try to see you, they’ll evaluate your rankings, stars, etc. ALSO I guarantee they will Google you & they will check your social media presence. You have to take responsibility for that. DO NOT TAKE A PICTURE OF YOURSELF HOLDING A RED CUP because even though you may be drinking water, everyone will assume it’s full of alcohol.

3. COMPARISON: They might be interested in all 10 players but they’ve got just one spot so they’ll compare players against each other. Anything in the world can happen here – maybe your social media, your behavior on the court & word gets around. Coaches call officials & ask about players. Even JULIE @ HIGH-TECH TENNIS gets calls from coaches who say “tell me about this kid!”

4. OFFER: This is what you want but will it be the offer that you need?


Are you coachable? Do you have a game plan? How well do you handle yourself, particularly after a loss? What kind of character do you have? How is your attitude before, during, after a match? How hard do you work? How do you interact with your coaches & with your parents?


  • SAT: Take it early – even in your freshman year – Take it OFTEN. The better your score, the more academic money you might be able to get.
  • ELIGIBILITY CENTER: If you plan to play Division I or Division II NCAA, you MUST register with the Eligibility Center. If you plan to play NAIA, you MUST register with the Eligibility Center.
  • GET STARTED: Just do whatever you have to do to GET STARTED. Several years ago, when HIGH-TECH TENNIS contacted parents & coaches who had already been through the recruiting process & asked what piece of information they wish they’d known: #1 ANSWER – BY FAR - START EARLIER so players should take advantage of that advice.
  • EMAIL: Do not send an email to a coach unless you’re sending a video. If you’re sending an email to a coach, be sure it comes from the PLAYER, not the parent & if you’ll be playing in an upcoming tournament, let the coach know that.
  • COLLEGE SHOWCASE: Might be helpful, depending on your goals but use good judgement & ask lots of questions before you go so you understand who will be there, etc.
  • RESTRICTIONS: NAIA or Division III coaches can respond to a player at any time. Division I & II CANNOT respond until 9/1 of junior year (D-I) or 6/30 before beginning of junior year (D-II).
  • OFFICIAL/UNOFFICIAL VISITS: Take as many unofficial visits as possible, even if you have no intention of actually going to that college. Just see what you like, see what you don’t like, big campus, smaller campus, older campus, newer campus, big city, out in the middle of nowhere. Go see something, even if it’s just a community college. Get more experience so you can make a better decision. Official visits are unlimited for NAIA, D-II & D-III but limited to just 5 (D-I) & coach will INVITE YOU. Be sure you understand what the coach is paying for during your official visit.

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