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Wednesday November 28, 2012

Davis Cup hero advises early planning to join the NCAA programme

<b>Plan early:</b> Stolle (left) introducing
the NCAA programme to the budding tennis
players and their parents. Plan early: Stolle (left) introducing the NCAA programme to the budding tennis players and their parents.

YOUNG athletes need a proper game plan before completing secondary school.

Former Australian Davis Cup winner Sandon Stolle said it was crucial for parents to start planning early if they wanted that their children to enter the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programme.

The NCAA is an association of institutions, conferences and organisations that organise many university athletic programmes in the US and Canada.

The association also provides athletic scholarships to young athletes for its partner universities.

“It is a challenging transition from junior to senior level. The NCAA system allows them to pursue their ambition in sports while they secure their tertiary qualification at the same time.

“Their achievements in sports at junior level will serve as a stepping stone to enhance their chances in getting accepted,” said Stolle.

“For the athletes, it is an advantage to consider various aspects and weigh their options carefully before they finish secondary school. They will need to be aware of the strict academic pre-requisites for the NCAA.

“They must meet the requirements such as passing the recognised assessment tests for them to be eligible. Outstanding students might also receive an academic scholarship to complement their sports scholarship. Promising Malaysian youngsters from their multi-racial backgrounds will offer the diversity in forming the student population at the respective tertiary education institutions,” added Stolle.

According to Stolle, his brief two-year stint at Texas Christian University (TCU) with the NCAA was an important stepping-stone for him.

“It is a difficult journey to make it to the top. The NCAA provided me with a strong, competitive environment that helped me with the transition. After two years, I decided to turn professional (in 1991),” said Stolle, who is the son of former Australian tennis champion Fred Stolle.

In his illustrious career, Stolle forged a winning partnership with Czechoslovakian Cyril Suk and emerged as the US Open men’s doubles champions in 1998.

Recently, Stolle was involved in a five-day training camp hosted Selangor Tennis Association (STA) and Asia Pacific Tennis Institute (APTI).

About 80 participants from Perlis, Penang, Perak, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan joined the camp held at Kelana jaya and they were joined by 40 coaches who attended a one-day coaches’ development session that ran concurrently.

“The juniors have great potential and they are not just showing good results on the court.

“They just need the proper guidance to nurture their talents to move forward,” said Stolle, who is also the APTI international manager based at the Sydney Olympic Tennis Centre.

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