| By Ricky Becker

Many relationship magazines like to run columns with the format “What a member of one gender says and what the member of the other gender really hears.” This column delves into the topic of speaking with a college coach. What a prospective student-athlete says and what the coach really hears.

1. Prospective student/athlete says: I haven’t really had a good year because I have been battling a few nagging injuries. I’m usually better.
What the college coach hears: I am injury-prone, tread carefully.

2. Prospective student/athlete says: I have worked with a few coaches over the last couple of years, but haven’t really found one that I like yet. I know I have a lot of potential though.
What the college coach hears: I often put the responsibility of my results on my coaches instead of taking responsibility for my own results. You may be my next excuse, and I will tell others about it, making it harder for you to recruit!

3. Prospective student/athlete says: I should not have lost to that other recruit you are looking at. I played with the wrong strategy and went for stupid shots.
What the college coach hears: I understand why you are looking closer at that other recruit more than me. Instead of being classy about it, showing character and letting my record do the talking for me, I’m going to make excuses, discredit your taste in choosing recruits and act like my poor decision-making during a match is irrelevant. I’m desperate to make a better impression!

4. Prospective student/athlete says: My opponent kind of “Treed” the last time I played him/her. I usually win.
What the college coach hears: I am quick to disrespect my opponents and make excuses at the same time. Recruit me for your team and you could hear more negativity from me!

5. Prospective student/athlete says: I’m sorry it took me a couple of weeks to respond to your communication. I have been real busy.
What the college coach hears: I am really not that fired up on your school, but cannot rule you out yet. I’m going to string you along a bit until I am sure I can go some place that I think is better.

6. Prospective student/athlete says: I absolutely love playing high school tennis.
What the college coach hears: I really enjoy being on a team, being a leader and helping everyone on my team raise the level of their play.

7. Prospective student/athlete says: I am planning to visit your campus within the next few weeks with my family. Are you going to be around so I can meet you?
What the college coach hears: I am going the next step to show you how interested I am in your school and how serious I am about possibly playing for your tennis team by paying for a trip on my own dime and bringing my busy parents. I am also very conscientious by making sure you will be there when I come to visit. Tennis is an extremely important factor in my college choice and I will be very committed to your team.

Ricky Becker is the Director of Tennis at Pine Hollow Country Club. He independently coaches high-performance juniors and adults of all-levels year-round at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. He has coached hundreds of ranked junior players. As a player, Becker was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis Team and 1989-1992 Roslyn High School Tennis Teams, and was ranked number four in the United States in the 18 & Under Division.