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American College Placement Showcase

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending – and speaking at – the inaugural American College Placement Showcase held on the spectacular SMU campus in Dallas, Texas.

I had interviewed ACP director and former Baylor Men’s Tennis Coach, Matt Knoll, on the Podcast a couple of months ago, but had never met him in person. From the moment we met in the lobby of the event hotel (as I was calling to ask him a question from the hotel desk and realized he was standing right next to me!), Matt made me feel welcome. He did the same for the families and college coaches in attendance.

In addition to meeting several college coaches for the first time – including two who will be presenting at our to kick off the 2019 WTCA Conference in New York – I also got to meet several ParentingAces Parents IRL! It’s always a treat for me to meet y’all in person, especially those of you I’ve spoken with on the phone or exchanged messages with via social media.

Another treat for me was getting a private tour of the SMU Tennis Facility from SMU Men’s Tennis Head Coach, Grant Chen.

I was super impressed by the level of play I saw at the Showcase. Many of the players played for their high schools but weren’t ensconced in the USTA or ITF tournament system. These junior players were there to put their best feet forward as they performed in front of the college coaches despite sweltering temperatures and steam-room-level humidity.

The college coaches made themselves available to answer questions from the parents and players (within NCAA recruiting rules, of course) and were very specific in their descriptions of the types and levels of players they were looking to recruit.

Matt and his staff worked tirelessly to make sure the players and coaches had everything they needed from t-shirts to goody bags to name tags. A Wilson rep was also on site raffling a new Clash racquet and bag each day.

Here is some video footage of the panel from each day:

A big thank you to Matt Knoll, Sheila Bishop, and the rest of the ACP staff for bringing me out to the Showcase last weekend! A big thank you to the Tennis Parents who attended our panel and asked great questions during and after! And the biggest thank you to my parents for driving me and videotaping the panel sessions so I could share them with all of you!

For those of you interested in what the Showcase entailed, please see the Welcome Letter sent to all attending families from Coach Matt Knoll:

Welcome to the American College Tennis Showcase! We are so happy to have you with us this weekend.

I am writing to share some important information with you prior to the event.

Very Important! Please print, have your parents complete and sign, and bring with you, the attached SMU release form. Each player must have this to participate. The waiver was originally included on the Active registration site but several were signed by the minor player rather than their parent or legal guardian. We will have some blank forms at the desk.

Parking is available in garages Moody and Binkley.

Registration is at 8:00 in the SMU Tennis indoor building

Matches will be one set to 6 with a tiebreaker at 5-5, no ad. Players will be grouped based on UTR. Remember, Saturday is boys only while Sunday is girls only.

Saturday June 22. Boys Schedule
8:00 Registration in the lobby of the indoor tennis center at SMU
8:30 Coaches Introductions and Panel
9:15 Doubles
10:15 Group A singles
11:15 Group B singles
Lunch Break
1:30 Group A Singles
2:30 Group B Singles
3:45 Group A Singles
4:45 Group B Singles
Coach Meetings until 6:00

Sunday June 23. Girls Schedule
8:00 Registration in the lobby of the indoor tennis center at SMU
8:30 Coaches Introductions and Panel
9:15 Doubles
10:15 Group A singles
11:15 Group B singles
Lunch Break
1:30 Group A Singles
2:30 Group B Singles
3:45 Group A Singles
4:45 Group B Singles
Coach Meetings until 6:00

A few thoughts prior to the Showcase.
Come prepared. Make sure your rackets, water bottle, shoes, towel, grips, and other equipment are properly organized. You have full access to the locker rooms so please bring enough clothing to play multiple matches. You will be given a name tag to pin to the back of your shirt during play to make it easier for coaches to identify you. Please remember to attach the name tag to each shirt you wear over the course of the day.

Don’t be shy. Meet and talk to every coach you see even if you may not be interested in that program. It’s good to get your name out there and a good reputation goes a long way in the coaching world. You want as many options as possible during the recruiting process. Make eye contact, smile, and enjoy the process.

Recruiting Rules: Coaches in all divisions are permitted to call and speak with players in the Class of 2020 and 2021 at this point in the recruiting calendar. You may initiate telephone calls to coaches at any time. However, the Coach is not permitted to return your call until after June 15 following your Sophomore year. Division III, NAIA, and Jr. College Coaches are permitted to call any player that has started high school classes. Coaches are permitted to watch and exchange a greeting with any high school prospect. The opportunity to play in front of coaches and express your interest in their program is invaluable even if they are not yet permitted to speak with you. It’s important to be professional and to make a good impression.

Registration will begin inside the SMU tennis center at the main desk near the elevators. You are welcome to hit some balls on the courts to warm up prior to the 8:30 Coaches Introduction. Please allow extra time for parking as parking at the Tennis Center is limited and the campus parking garage is a short walk to the courts.

Everyone will meet indoors on court 1 at 8:30. Each coach will have some time to introduce themselves and share some information about what UTR level they seek and the academic requirements for admission to their school. These short introductions will be followed by a coaches panel. Serving along with several coaches on the panel is special guest Lisa Stone from Parenting Aces.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you this weekend!

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