Jordan Belga blog: Advice on the college recruiting process

July 21, 2018 03:38 PM

Jordan Belga is a recent graduate of the University of Florida, where he received his B.S. in Sport Management along with a minor in Business Administration. Belga has been involved in tennis for 13 years and was a star junior player, with highlights that included being ranked No. 1 in the Boys' 12s and representing the U.S. in the World Junior Team Tennis competition in the Czech Republic. In college, he competed for the Florida Gators and helped lead the men's team to the SEC Tournament championship. Belga has received a coaching fellowship with USTA Player Development and will be writing a blog from the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., about his experiences this summer. In his latest entry, he gives suggestions to junior players who are going through the college recruiting process.

By Jordan Belga

Hi guys! I am here and well in Atlanta for the BB&T Open. Arrived here late Thursday night with Coach Carlos Benatzsky, along with one of our young Americans and my good friend, Noah Rubin. I am looking forward to watching the qualies start on Saturday and will be rooting for all our American guys here. With this blog, I’d like to touch on the importance of the recruiting process for young junior players looking to make that transition to college tennis.

As a former collegiate player from the University of Florida, I can personally relate to my experience in the recruiting process, and I would be kidding myself if I said it was not stressful. The stress of finding a school that would be able to meet my standards for developing as a player and having a balanced education was sometimes overwhelming. You are making one of the biggest decisions of your life to choose a school that will guide your future. Now, I can go on and on with all the details, but I’m going to list out the three main important factors that I believe are critical when going through the recruiting process:

1. Understand and know what you want. Someone once said, “You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.” For all the young players going through the recruiting process, I would highly suggest understanding your needs for yourself as an individual from both a tennis and academic standpoint. These needs would include the style and philosophy of a coach, the level of academics, the culture and dynamics of a team and even the level of the conference the school is in. I understand that a lot of players in this stage have no idea what to expect, what they are looking for or even what they want. However, it would speak to coaches if you can establish your own self-understanding and ambitions of what you want in a program.

2. Communicate and be professional. It can be a bit intimidating when communicating with college coaches. The pressure of making a first impression and performing well with results is certainly overwhelming. In relation to my first point, understand what you want and communicate it with authenticity. Do not be afraid to email and call coaches to ask about their vision for you in the program, go on unofficial visits or get suggestions on the tournaments to play. The more consistent you can be in establishing a relationship with the coaches, the more knowledge you’ll gain on how they are. In terms of professionalism, coaches are always observing how players act and carry themselves both on and off the court. They are also aware of each player’s social media accounts, which can speak volumes, as well. It is very important to be aware of what you post because you never know who is watching.

3. Take ownership of your future and keep connections. The recruiting process is a great test for players looking at programs to help with tennis and academics, as well as in learning how to establish yourself as a candidate in the same way you would get hired for a job. Looking back, the recruiting process has given me a glimpse of what getting a job in the real world is like. As important as it is to find what works for you, it is just as important to maintain your connections with the coaches you communicate with. Although you may only end up with one coach at one school, always thank the coaches for giving their attention and time to get to know you. You never know when those other connections can help you out in the future.

That is it for now. I am looking forward to watching the qualies and wish our Americans good luck!