Tennis is a sport for life, and there are now more opportunities than ever to continue playing during post-secondary student life. Playing at university is an incredible way to continue a student’s tennis career, stay active, make new friends, and compete at a high level.
The Canadian University Tennis Program was founded seven years ago to create opportunities for students to play the sport they love. The program began with seven universities and has since grown to include 22 schools and counting across Canada from coast to coast. The tennis landscape in Canada is extremely diverse, and university tennis is an incredible pathway for young players to strive towards, at any level they choose to play, regardless of their tennis background.
The university tennis season consists of regional play leading into one of three regional championships held across Canada in hopes of qualifying for the Canadian University Tennis Championships. Additionally, many schools have tennis clubs for recreational players. This is a great way to meet new friends and stay active during the school year.
In addition to the incredible opportunities to compete, continuing to play tennis at the post-secondary level can lead to a potential summer job as a coach. Presently, 44% of those playing in the university tennis program have their instructor level certification, which is a great way to find meaningful, impactful, and fun summer work.
Check here to see if your school is listed. If you don’t find your school it’s possible they may still have a recreational program.
Unlike the US, there is not a lot of recruiting and coaches aren’t full-time. You have to take the initiative to contact the coach. No matter what level you are at, from beginner and up, there will be playing opportunities for you. Most coaches will gauge your level or host some kind of a tryout at the beginning of each season for the competitive team.
The championships are held in conjunction with the Rogers Cup or Coupe Rogers presented by National Bank in Toronto or Montreal. They are held in August and you get the opportunity to play on the same courts as the top players in the world. In some cases there are thousands of fans watching university matches – it is truly an experience of a lifetime.
The competitive level at regionals and nationals is very good tennis. Most players have competed at a provincial or national level in their junior careers. However, many teams have practice squads and recreational club programs that take players of all levels, including beginners.
Often team coaches recommend you take the certification. Certification courses take part in every province of the country. If your coach doesn’t have the latest information, check with your provincial association for a schedule of courses near your school.