Showcases, Combines, & Camps . . .Oh, My!

If your junior has his or her sites set on playing college tennis, you’ve likely been investigating the various showcases, combines, and camps available for your child to get seen by a variety of college coaches. As summer approaches, there are quite a few of these events cropping up in the coming weeks, so let’s take a look at what’s available. Hopefully, this will help you choose the right event(s) and spend your money wisely.

USTA All-American Combine

The latest offering in the college exposure space is USTA’s All-American Combine (click here for the entry form on TennisLink). This first-time event will be held June 14-16, 2017 at the new USTA National Campus in Orlando. It is open to any American junior player age 13-18. The entry fee is $349.88 (food, lodging, and transportation not included).

Per the description from USTA, the All-American Combine is designed to give American juniors recruiting exposure and knowledge of college tennis programs around the nation. Participants will engage in a number of on- and off-court evaluations over the two days, including match play in front of college tennis coaches and presentations from industry experts such as Mark Kovacs. The players’ results will count toward each player’s Universal Tennis Rating (UTR). This event will be considered a Tennis Recruiting “National Showcase” for the purposes of ratings on Tennis Recruiting (TRN). At the conclusion of the event the overall boy’s and girl’s winner will receive a main draw wild card into a USTA Pro Circuit $15,000 event.

As of today’s date (April 14, 2017), I have not seen a list of attending colleges or coaches. Stephen Amritraj told me that as they get a finalized list of coaches in conjunction with the ITA, they will be posting it – I’m assuming it will be posted on both the USTA website as well as on the combine’s TennisLink page. I will update this article as more information becomes available. In the meantime, be sure to listen to my podcast with Stephen here.

Collegiate Exposure Camps

These privately-offered 3-, 4- or 5-day camps immerse prospective student-athletes into a simulated atmosphere of what it means to be a college tennis player, including on- and off-court training plus classroom time. They are geared toward players entering grades 8-12 and are held on college campuses staffed with variety of college coaches who work with the players in groups and individually. Participants can either come each day or stay overnight. The cost ranges from $850 to $1400 (plus an additional $100 for overnight campers) depending on the length of the camp. Enrollment is limited to a maximum of 5 players per court and is done on a first-come first-served basis. The 2017 dates are as follows:

  • June 16-19,  June 23-25, June 23-27 University of Pennsylvania
  • July 10-12 Yale University

Coaches attend from almost every level of college tennis who are not only there to help the campers but who are also looking to recruit players.  Since the recruiting process now starts as early as 9th grade, the opportunity to begin exploring and thinking about the college process and college tennis is invaluable for both older and younger players. The camp is a great tool for coaches to get to know your player’s personality, see how he/she interacts with peers, and how he/she trains and competes.

For more information, click here to go to the website and click here to listen to my podcast with the founder, Tarek Merchant – be sure to listen all the way to the end for a special discount offer on Collegiate Exposure Camps for the ParentingAces community!

Ed Krass Collegiate Exposure Camps

Another highly-recommended exposure camp is the series offered by Ed Krass (click here), now in its 29th year. These camps are open to players age 14-18 and are held at UVA, Lehigh, and Brandeis universities for 2017. If you register before April 30, the cost ranges from $645 to $3300 depending on the length of the camp. If you register after April 30, the price increases $50.

The Krass camps helps players:

  • Improve matchplay strategy, shot selection and shot placement
  • Achieve better results against higher ranked players
  • Improve footwork, speed and level of fitness
  • Learn about the college recruiting process and how it works
  • Learn how to conduct a college tennis search
  • Understand the various levels of college tennis
  • Identify the profiles of specific college tennis programs
  • Network with head college coaches from across the U.S.

There are many options for college showcases around the US and abroad. The following is a list of showcases that parents have recommended along with links to their websites. Be sure to compare the dates, cost, and list of attending coaches/colleges when choosing the right showcase for your child.

  • Donovan Showcase: This year’s showcases are being held at Yale and Harvard with a showcase coming in January 2018 at the Claremont Colleges in Southern California. The cost ranges from $395 to $550 with a substantial discount for Donovan Recruiting clients. Click here to go to the website.
  • I’m Recruitable: This showcase is held between the Eddie Herr and Orange Bowl tournaments in December in South Florida. For information on the 2017 showcase, click here.
  • ITA College Showcase: sponsored a showcase during the ITA Coaches Convention in Naples, Florida, in December 2016 (click here to read about it). Entry was limited to 32 boys and 32 girls currently in grades 9-12. According to TRN’s Julie Wrege, they are still in discussions with the ITA about doing another showcase in 2017, and I will post an update once I get more information. In the meantime, TRN is sponsoring a College Coaches Forum in conjunction with the Georgia Junior Open — the largest junior tournament in the state of Georgia – on Saturday, July 15th, at 7:30pm. This will be their 7th year conducting this forum.
  • TennisSmart: Former top British player, Sarah Borwell, offers a college showcase to her UK clients free of charge. If you live and train in the UK, you can get more information on TennisSmart by clicking here. You can also hear more from Sarah about her services in our podcast here.

If your child has already attended a camp or showcase, please share your experience in the Comments below.

3 Comments on “Showcases, Combines, & Camps . . .Oh, My!”

  1. Good article … certainly not all “camps” are alike and there is not a one size fits all approach to determining where (or if) you should attend and I think that comes out here. My child (class of 2018) hasn’t attended one of these nor will she. We did explore many of the offerings but ultimately decided it wasn’t the right thing for us. The guidance we received from coaches who run these “camps”, players who have attended, and parents of players is that if you are at a certain level as a player then the camps won’t help. It is important to get an honest assessment from the coaches as to the level of player attending the camp.

    As for showcases remember that there are many tournaments throughout the year that are attended by coaches. The sectional championships in your USTA region probably have many coaches in attendance, as do summer and winter nationals, clays, Easter & Orange Bowl, etc.

  2. David, you’re right in that national and sectional 1s have coaches in attendance. However, it takes a lot of time and money to play multiple tournaments to get the national and/or sectional ranking to attend Kzoo. With new options of UTR events, local ITFs or Future Qualis, ITA summer circuit, and HS matches possibly being entered into UTR, the USTA route is no longer mandatory, and summer showcases or combines may be a much cheaper option in the long run to catch a coach’s attention. The summer events are also a boon for talented high school players who cant play the top sectional events that go through Monday or any of the ITFs-only summer junior ITF is US is on grass!!!??? Unfortunately the Florida combine will conflict with some sectional level 1 championships required for national tourney endorsements. It will be interesting to see which June events the coaches and players will choose to attend, plus some of the top coaches will be in England looking for European recruits in June.

    One additional event to consider is the New Balance tournament which has relocated to California. When it was in Boston, many NE coaches attended. Now that it is in Calif, it may attract West Coast coaches.

    One benefit of showcases/camps vs the national tourneys is that coaches can have more contact with players at the camps/showcases. Players who have finished their junior year can talk to coaches at tourneys before they register or after they are out of the tourney-very limited interaction. However, the national tourneys are an excellent way to catch the attention of coaches out of section. Two of son’s top four recruiting choices were out of section colleges he never would have considered if coaches had not contacted him after watching him play at Kzoo..However, the showcases/camp are a sure thing-you register, you get to go. As far as Kzoo, there are even some top 100 TRN players who never quite made the cut in spite of their best efforts-maybe had a summer Bday that made it hard to reach the ranking needed in time.

    David you mentioned camps wouldnt help players of a certain level-that is true. I doubt any blue chips or 5 stars will attend except the combine in FL since the winner gets a Future MD WC. However, camps and showcases are probably good for younger players and then the 2-4 star sophs and juniors.

  3. I like the USTA Idea. Tennis keeps missing the mark as it tries to compare itself to other Sports. What other sports do on a routine basis is get the best kids together. Tennis thru Quotas distance and Draws leaves this to chance.

    The Combine//Showcase brings invited kids together and lets them play round robin, and skills to see what a Tournament Record in a section that may or may not have strong competition just misses.

    For example in a Florida local event held last month their were 10 of 32 kids that had National ranks higher than one of the National Selections. Yes the bottom 22 may have been a weaker event but the SEEDs were stronger…..

    Only issue is the Cost….. Just too much and I keep wondering why the Equipment, Apparel MFG don’t sponsor these events. Most Football, Basketball Combines//showcases cost the participants nothing because the sponsors pick up the tab.

    Why Tennis seems to not get Sponsorship for the Players is a parent problem, because most still pony up the cash.

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