Life as a college tennis player: expectations vs. reality

Any serious activity aimed at perfection requires a demanding degree of dedication. This holds true for college tennis as well. People have similar, yet completely different experiences with college tennis. The reality of college tennis can be completely different from the expectations of some people. This article will look at the accounts of three different tennis players in different universities. The first, Yannick Weihs1 writes: 

Before going to college I definitely underestimated the level of tennis and the level of intensity. Practices are very professional and the overarching rule is to always leave it all out there.  

According to Weihs, tennis in college isn’t an easy task, as it requires one to balance out the academic aspects and the training aspects. He notes that there were times when he felt like quitting the sport, but stuck with it and prides himself for having done so. Some of the things he seems to have liked is having a group of friends with a like-minded approach to life, traveling and celebrating with them. Having practiced for 3 and a half hours every day, doing homework would sometimes feel like an uphill task for Weihs. However, if he finished his assignments in an hour or two, he would have time to play video games and watch TV shows and films with his friends. 

Leony Deutschmann, a German national, and a product of the University of Texas at Tyler shares similar experiences2 coming from abroad to study in the States. She notes that she enrolled in the US because of her passion for tennis and her desire to pursue higher studies. Deutschmann shares that her teachers were always supportive, available and understanding since they knew that she was busy with her commitments to tennis. Deutschmann, like Weihs, had an unlimited meal plan, wherein she could eat to her heart’s content at the cafeteria or stalls. Another added bonus is the access to athletic trainers and facilities meaning that the players can avail massages, swimming pools, the gym and much more, especially so after competitive matches. One of the things Deutschmann is grateful for is the friends she made and experiences she was able to have with them.  

Yet another student from abroad is Christoffer Greve from Norway, a top junior-ranked tennis players during his time. He joined the NCAA Division 1 school, Illinois State University and pursued his higher studies and also his passion for tennis here. Greve notes3: 

I remember feeling excited. The first place I saw was my dorm, where I’d be living for the following year. Everybody was an athlete in my dorm, so the atmosphere was welcoming. I was surrounded by like-minded people who liked to work out and do well in school. I felt included from day one. 

Greve shares that the schedule, although hectic, is manageable and fun thanks to the institute. He reflects on the fact that the practices would run for more than 3 hours every day, but it was scheduled in a way that the student-athletes had their own academic center with tutors and advisers. One of the things that helped Greve adapt to the busy schedule was selecting a major that he liked. It helped him stay motivated. Apart from this, he shares that his team also bonded outside the court, which helped him maintain a social life and enjoy his days at college. 

The expectations of college tennis may certainly be different from the reality that it has to offer. College tennis requires a lot of time management skills; being mentally prepared and ready to work hard will produce successful results. There are sacrifices to be made and joys to be shared as athletes in college.  

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