| By Steven Kaplan

You don't have to be Jewish to think of September as the start of the new year. It is also, in many ways, the start of the new tennis year.

Internationally, the Grand Slam season has ended. More locally, the summer outdoor season is giving way to the indoor season on Long Island and kids have started a new school year.

Maybe it's time for New Tennis Year's Resolutions.

Here are practical and philosophical suggestions for junior tournament players that address areas that many could use improvement.

►Take it one match at a time and stop studying the draw.

►The questioning of line calls is often used as a rationalization for making questionable line calls. Resist that temptation.

►Pick up more balls in practice.

►Learn a good, safe, effective movement preparation routine and do it before you step on the court, since winter court time is so valuable.

►Hydrate better in the winter.

►The quality of your practice experience is closely tied to the quality of your practice partners. Encourage those you practice with.

►Always practice with a clear and practical purpose.

►The difference between explanations and excuses are the internalizing of responsibility. Only explanations lead to growth ... no excuses.

►Know the rules before stepping on the court.

►Thank your parents for the opportunity to play once in a while.

Happy Tennis New Year!

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.