December 10, 2008

How to Join a Tennis Team

It's the end of the fall tennis season and all three of my teams are wrapping up. Thinking about the next season, I find myself talking with my team mates about where these teams are going - strengths of various players, weaknesses, who plays well together, who doesn't, who is staying on the team, who is leaving. But while all of this talk is interesting (at least I think it is), the truth is once you're on a team, it's almost impossible to get kicked off!

If only you could get on those really great teams . . .

So how do you join a tennis team in the first place? And how do you move up to a better team when you're ready?

Here are my tips for finding and joining a tennis team:

1. Talk to your friends - If you're interested in tennis, you must have friends who are playing tennis. And most likely, at least some of them are playing on teams. If you're already on teams, you know who is playing on the higher level teams. So find out if your friends are on teams looking for new players or if they know other captains who might need players. And, when you get those names, don't be afraid to "cold call" captains to find out if they have spots open - captains are always looking for players to join their teams.

2. Talk to your tennis coach or pro - Any good tennis pro not only teaches, he is also talking to his students to find out how their games are going. Are they winning or losing? And just how are their teams doing? Your tennis pro should know the teams that his students play on and he probably knows if they have openings. The great thing about talking to your pro about joining a team is that he knows what level you play at and can help you find a team that is appropriate for you.

3. Talk to the Tennis Director at your club - This is their job! If you're paying dues to belong to a club that has a Tennis Director, she better know what teams are playing out of her club, who is captaining each team, and hopefully, who is looking for new players. Have your Tennis Director give you names and phone numbers for these captains and, again, don't be afraid to cold call.

4. Play in mixers, tournaments, drills and clinics - In other words, play a lot of tennis! These events are always fun and attract people who are "in to" tennis, like you and me. Chat them up and you are sure to come across a team captain or someone who knows of a team looking for a player just like you.

5. Become a sub - This is absolutely the best way to get on a team. So offer to be a sub and don't consider it to be beneath you. Because today you're a sub, tomorrow you're the player filling in for the team member who got injured and the next day, you're the reliable player that the team needs. And if you're looking to move to a higher level team, becoming a sub ensures that you'll get the challenging match play you need to make that leap up.

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