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NCAA Rules Limit Winter College Practice


College tennis is a tricky deal for the motivated coach and the unmotivated player. In junior tennis, things were easy. Distractions were limited. Parents made sure kids made curfew, ate properly, did their homework, and planned their days for them. In college tennis, things are easy when you are in the playing season. You really don't have much time between class, fitness, tennis, eating, homework, and checking your Facebook. Distractions and a lack of motivation are really not factors because your coach and team will apply enough subtle pressure on you to simply not "let go of the rope."

However, every year college coaches struggle with the time period between mid-November to early January. The NCAA wisely limited practice time to 20 hours per week during the playing season (this includes your fitness, competition, and practice sessions). When the fall and dual-season are not in action, the NCAA limits every player and coach to 2 hours of tennis skill instruction per week and 6 hours of fitness from mid-November to Thanksgiving. Only 8 hours a week! Once December 1st rolls around, coaches, fitness trainers, and players are not allowed to allowed to work with each other. The players are free to do as they wish.

Now one might wonder why the NCAA would do such a thing. The reason is to protect the kids from coaches who abuse the system (# of hours on the court). Afterall, kids are in school to pursue an education and they need to be given time to study. I'm sure in many cases, coaches in the past forced boys and girls to practice without any regard for their academics (I have no proof, but I'm sure it happened).

Now that you know the history behind these rules, the time between December 1st and January 7th is a tricky time for every college coach and player. The coach is stressed out because all the gains made during the fall could potentially be wiped out without consistent upkeep to the players game. The players are stressed out about finals and might be a little burnt out from the fall season. Let's brainstorm: What are some good ways to keep the players motivated during this time period? Tournaments are not easy to come by during this time.

In the picture above, here are some potential scenarios to how many hours you would need to practice everyday for 6 days a week for 5 weeks to accumulate close to 100 hours. Most people would be surprised how many players fail to surpass 100 hours. Parents long to see their children, spoil them with turkey and sweets, and taking vacations to warm locations. Kids want to catch up with old friends from high school. There are many forces and distractions at work which can distort your tennis priorities (did I mention New Years Partying!?!). Parents sometimes do not drive the kids as hard as they used to (maybe because of perspective or maybe because they are satisfied). Parents might see the end of the road is near, so what's the point.


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Reader Comments (4)

Great question. I have no idea what the answer would be if the kid is not really self motivated. Perhaps switch to recreational tennis as a pursuit. Or, settle for just the fun of the college tennis team experience regardless of the outcomes of your matches...Best, Karl Rosenstock, The Tennis Slow mo guy.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarl Rosenstock

I think this article is right on with its points...I played collegiate tennis myself and the period in between late November and late December is always tricky, especially with Exams and all. The player needs to step up and realize the hours still need to be put in or else all the hard work done during the fall goes to waste!

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZack Rath

A lot of it comes from the player's attitude and whether s/he is willing to take ownership of his/her own game. Grabbing a team-mate and designing a workout and a schedule; having an understanding that the in-between period is not a free period. This is where the tennis equivalent of "7 years from home" comes into play...being disciplined, motivated and resourceful. Some people have it; others do not.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIni

ciao Ini, ma bucur ca am ocazia sa te contactez si macar asa!
Eu scriu articole despre tenis pe www.opentenis.ro si am aflat ca tu ai ramas in ...fenomen.
Daca vrei sa mai schimbam impresii, scrie-mi pe ghidirmic@gmail.com
Te pup, Inu
PS sotioara ta este fermecatoare, si eu spuneam lui Nina ca are aer de latino?!

December 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterghidirmic

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