Things that show me a soft player....
1. Losing matches 7-5, 6-0.
2. Somebody who would rather get angry than figure out what is going wrong.
3. A pre-teen who just wants to hit rather than actually work on technique.
4. Somebody who hates playing pushers.
5. Somebody who talks a serious practice schedule but doesn't play one.
6. Somebody who "begs" for line calls when losing.
7. Avoiding practicing with people you are uncomfortable with or don't like.
8. Not questioning a call against a better player that you wouldquestion against a weaker player.
9. Blaming a double-fault at a pressure moment on a ponytail hitting you in the eye.
Things that show me a tough player....
1. Somebody who comes back after being down match points.
2. Somebody who plays tennis because they love it despite an overly pushy parent.
3. Somebody who does endurance exercises as hard as he/she can and doesn't utter a peep...whether the person is in good shape or not.
4. Somebody who likes playing games during lessons but doesn't have to in order to maintain concentration.
5. Somebody who may or may not be a pusher, but doesn't care if people call him one.
6. Hating to lose a game in a drill group whether you are working on something or not.
7. Somebody who does fitness without talking about it.
There's definitely more items to add. Stay tuned......
Ricky Becker is The Director of Tennis at the prestigious Pine Hollow Country Club and independently coaches high-performance juniors year-round predominantly at Bethpage Park Tennis Center. As a player, Becker was awarded Most Valuable Player for the 1996 NCAA Championship Stanford Tennis Team and 1989-1992 Roslyn High School Teams. He was ranked number one in the Eastern Section and fourth in the United States in the 18-and-unders. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 516-359-4843 or via JuniorTennisConsulting.com.