On Sunday, coaches, parents and players from gathered at the Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco, N.Y. for the USTA Eastern College Showcase, the 33rd year of the one-of-a-kind event.
“College Showcase Day was huge this year! We had increased attendance from both players and coaches over 2018,” said Julie Bliss-Beal, USTA Eastern’s Senior Director of Competition. “We are beyond thrilled that our 33-year-old event continues to forge connections between young players and college coaches—it goes without saying that one of our biggest objectives with College Showcase Day is to support the development of tennis on college campuses. But beyond facilitating these introductions, we also want to help players and their parents better understand the recruitment process.”
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For three decades now, the event has helped bridge the gap between high school tennis players and college coaches, and has provided an invaluable resource for information and advice on how to navigate the recruiting process.
“With that goal in mind, this year we added two phenomenal guest speakers: Brian Ormiston, who works in collegiate tennis at the USTA, manages the recruitment materials on USTA.com and serves as the USTA liaison to the NCAA; and Elizabeth Guy, who trains top athletes within the USTA development program,” added Bliss-Beal. “Their presentations really added value to the event—I know that for a fact because multiple attendees approached me to say just that!”
Guy, a strength and conditioning coach for USTA Player Development, conducted a number of different on-court clinics, demonstrating how to teach drills that help players perform a proper warm-up to practice and matches, as well as ones that help with multi-directional speed.
Off the court, Ormiston, USTA’s Collegiate Tennis Manager, gave a presentation to players and parents on all the steps that high school players should take, both academically and athletically, to prepare for college tennis. Ormiston was joined by multiple college coaches, including Ilene Weintraub, the women’s tennis head coach at Columbia.
“The showcase is a great event to give both coaches and players exposure to the world of college tennis,” said Weintraub. “On the panel, I tried to help clarify some of the NCAA recruiting rules and regulations, give families a suggested time frame for when to contact coaches and what tournaments to play, and give players some tips on how to manage the challenges of balancing competing at a high level and continuing to do well in high school.”
In addition to the on-court clinics and seminars, there are networking opportunities throughout the day as players could meet with and talk to coaches about their respective programs and what they are looking for in student-athletes.
After more than 30 years, the College Showcase Day continues to grow each year, helping ease the daunting process that is college recruiting for high school athletes, and allowing coaches from all levels of college tennis to meet and connect with hundreds of local players.