Remember the stories about John Chapman? No? It's probably because he's better know as Johnny Appleseed. Chapman/Appleseed wandered the early frontier planting large numbers of apple trees. Numerous novels, short stories, and poems (many are apocryphal) have been written about Chapman's efforts to grow and nurture the trees that bear the delicious fruit.
College tennis has a Johnny Appleseed. His name is Ed Krass and his story is authentic. As the women's coach at Harvard in the late 80's, Crass received between 300-400 letters a year from eager juniors requesting information about what it takes to play college tennis. "All the letters were basically the same; 'How good do I have to be to play Division I? What are the academic requirements? How do I get started?'" said Krass, explaining why he decided to create the College Tennis Academy.
If you're a junior who isn't quite sure you have what it takes to play tennis in college or if you're just not sure at what level you can compete, then Krass is the man you need to visit. Krass's College Tennis Exposure Camps are the only tennis camps taught exclusively by college coaches. With at least 9 coaches at each session, the camps are designed to induce reality into a junior's expectations about playing tennis in college.
"Even though they think they can, many juniors don't have the skills to compete in Division I," says Krass. "We give the kids a realistic view of what it takes to compete at each level (DI, II, III, NAIA, or JUCO). They'll work with a different coach every half hour. After a week, the kids will have a greater understanding about what it's like to play college tennis, and, more importantly, what ability and skills they'll need to compete at the various collegiate levels." "I believe," Krass continues, "there is no greater tragedy in college tennis than for juniors to go to a program where they spend four years sitting in the stands cheering for their teammates."
According to Krass, with over 2,000 two and four year colleges, there should be a program for almost every junior. "It's our job to match the juniors with the proper level," Krass explains. "I'm a big fan of small college tennis. If they have the talent and desire there is a program for them and a coach who will be patient enough to develop them."
This year the tenth annual College Tennis Exposure Camp will be instructed by over 30 coaches from college and universities throughout the U.S. Camps will be held June 21-July 17 at the University of Tampa and August 9-1 at the University of New Hampshire.
Krass, who played at Central Florida and was Chuck Kriese's assistant at Clemson before going to Harvard as the women's coach, is an exuberant preacher on the qualities of tennis. "It's such a tremendous sport. Tennis teaches you so much about life and the competitive nature of life," he says with a sincerity that Billy Graham would envy. The author of two instructional videos, B.E.S.T. Serve (Bio-mechanical Efficient Serving Technique) and B.E.S.T. Shots (Bio-mechanical Efficient Shot-making Technique), Krass is also a much sought after speaker on the subject; A Junior Player's Transition into College Tennis.
Since its inception in 1989, over 1,500 juniors have attended the College Tennis Academy. Whether it be DI, II, III, NAIA, or JUCO, Krass and his staff of college coaches have seen over 95% of these juniors move ahead to successfully compete at the next level. Like the legendary Johnny Appleseed, Krass's mission is to plant a junior in the soil on the right college campus and watch the sapling mature into a productive apple tree that, because of the exposure to college tennis, will continue grow for the rest of their lives.
For more information about the College Tennis Academy, contact Ed Krass at: P.O. Box 456 Brandon, FL. 33509-0456; Telephone(813)684-9031; Fax(813)684-9560. Or visit his website: http://www.collegetennis.com.