Alumni Updates: Marcus Sweeney Checks In From Wesleyan
Dear Coach Newman and ATA,
I hope that the past months have treated everyone well. I have been doing my best to follow along with tournament results, practice MVP’s, and of course college commitments from ATA players online. Very exciting! As for my tennis, the fall tennis season ended a few weeks ago, so now we are in the offseason. What this means is that coaches are not allowed to supervise or run practice from now until we return in January. However, with strong senior leadership and a very ambitious team, it is expected that we play tennis indoors 5 times a week, whether it be full team sessions or in smaller groups, and to be in the gym 4-5 times a week as well. My classes require a lot of hard work and a couple hours of TA (teacher’s assistant) sessions every week to complete the workload, but I am enjoying it nonetheless. At the moment, I am on track to graduate with a double major in Economics and Physics, with a concentration in Government. I am also writing this email to answer some questions that Coach Newman gave to my fellow graduates and me. Coach Newman asked each of us,
What would I have done differently as a junior tennis player to be more ready for college?
What are the things that are most surprising about college and college tennis?
What advice would you give junior tennis players in preparation for college tennis/ for college in general?
As a junior player, I believe that having played many times within a team environment has been very beneficial to my collegiate readiness. Whether it be high school tennis, a team competition on a Friday, or TEXAS CUP!!!, everyone should be making conscious efforts to encourage their team members. It was astounding to me the number of top 10 nationally ranked division three teams that are extremely below average in supporting their teammates while playing tournament matches. Another major thing I realized shortly after beginning team practices and private lessons in college is that ATA has an extremely knowledgeable coaching staff. As a junior player, I wish that I had more often communicated with my coaches about slight things to work on within my game, so as to have the utmost clarity of my strengths, weaknesses, tactics, and areas to improve upon heading into college.
What is most surprising about college for me, aside from how complicated a washing machine is, is that now more than ever, you get out exactly what you put in. The extra amounts of responsibility and freedom are both a blessing and a curse- it is imperative that you find time to complete your schoolwork before choosing to go out to party on a weekend (not that I do this of course). College is full of distractions, and at an institution such as Wesleyan, you cannot afford to get behind in your studies. So far, I feel that I’ve done a great job with staying on top of my academics, and I’m even more excited for what lies ahead. As for college tennis, I have been very surprised at how amazing our team culture has been here. It was very surprising to me at our fall tournaments how much more connected we seemed than the other schools there. If we were between matches at a tournament, we were expected to actively cheer on our teammates and represent ourselves well. I believe we won many close matches against some amazing players from other schools due to the fact that our player had unrelenting support with each point.
For junior players preparing for college tennis or college in general, I would advise that you make the most of your time at ATA, which has an incredible culture of players coaches and staff that will effectively prepare you for college responsibilities & the highest level of collegiate tennis. I also must stress the importance of being very proactive with your communication towards college coaches- replying quickly to emails (I’m aware of the irony in this situation) and making it clear that you are very interested in the school and tennis program is something that college coaches love to hear and it will separate you from the other recruits. If you are ever unsure of what to say, you can always reach out to the ATA coaches or ATA alumni such as myself for help.
I am beyond content with my college selection, and could not be more thankful for the support from everyone throughout my junior career and now into my collegiate one.
Best regards, and would love to hear from you!