RANKINGS ARE NOT EVERYTHING
Having coached in the juniors for 25 years and having coached national
junior champions (Nicole London, Lindsay Davenport), NCAA Champions
(Debbie Graham, Stella Sampras) and WTA Professionals (Kimberly Po,
Marianne Werdel), and more. I can tell you that your junior ranking does
NOT always correlate with you becoming successful at the college level
and/or the professional level. Now as head women’s tennis coach at
Bowdoin College in Maine I can tell you that the rankings of players are
only one of several factors that I do consider in my recruiting process.
Rankings are a computerized way to group players and give you an
indication of where you are at in your own age group. It’s a system that
does give students motivation and goals. It’s a system that allows
tournaments to do a better job of seedings and pairings. Yet, it does
NOT always give you a better indication of who is going to be a better
collegiate player or professional.
There are many collegiate coaches who consider rankings a huge indicator
of a junior players success. Some even require their recruits to be
ranked a certain position in order to consider them at their university
or college. I disagree with this position. I think that “results” and
“direct wins/losses” are a better indicator of their future, in addition
Rankings can be misleading. Some players are ranked higher simply
because they play more tournaments. Some have the financial means to
play more tournaments and therefore are ranked higher. Some are ranked
higher because they can afford to travel to larger and bigger
tournaments. Some players are ranked lower because they play more than
one sport, play less tournaments, live in an area where tournaments are
not as prevalent or even have suffered some injuries that have caused
their rankings to drop some.
My main point is for all juniors (and parents) to remember that rankings
do not mean everything. College coaches look for improvement, potential,
motivation, and good attitude. One of the first things that I do is to
talk to opposition coaches of junior players. I like to find out what
“others” say about this junior player. I like to look at results against
other recruits. Plus, I like to talk to the recruits to find out what
they are like as a person. No college coach wants to spend years with a
player they do not like as an individual. At Bowdoin we have players
that have improved in their years at college. College coaches want
players that are going to get better in college, not just stay the same.
Rankings do not always show that indicator.
So remember, rankings are not everything in the recruiting process. Be
concerned with your attitude, your improvement, your desire. These
qualities mean more than any computer number that comes up.
Paul “Hobie” Holbach
Women’s Tennis Coach
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