Let’s Get Real Adult Players … What Type of Player Are You?
By Cesar Andrade veryone is eager to improve their tennis game, and USTA ratings are a fair indicator as to a player’s “competitive” skill set. Once USTA posts year-end ratings, I hear a wide variety of comments, ranging from frustration of not moving up, wanting to appeal their rating, or the celebratory “woo-hoo!” upon jumping to next level. Excuses made and reality avoided are clear gauges as to why a player may not advance. So … what does it take to evolve as a competitive player? I have competed as a junior player since the age of 11, played Division I tennis, competed at ITF, Satellites, high level tournaments and have coached all ages, levels and types of players for more than 15 years. Through this experience, I found players typically fall into five different categories: Practice Player,
Match Player, Idealist, Protector and The Grinder. What type of player are you? 1. Practice Player You know the type … clinic strong, match play weak. The player performs exceptionally well in clinics, with perfect groundstrokes, volleys, serves and footwork that would make even the most critical purist and coach swell with pride. Ironically, this same player cannot apply clinic skills to competitive match play. The player has a mediocre record because they don’t have the mental strength to close out a match. 2. Match Player This player is the opposite of the “Practice Player.” They enjoy match play, but have a predictable game and a minimal arsenal in their toolbelt. They are not the type to train or fine-tune their skills, as they prefer competition over practices. They can win matches, in an ugly manner, but not con-
New York Tennis Magazine • March/April 2017 • NYTennisMag.com
sistently if they play higher lines. Generally, they remain at their current rating and are unable to advance because their skill set is restricted. 3. Idealist Players who have a “dreamy” vision of themselves that doesn’t quite match the reality of their level of play. They always want to “play up” and have difficulty finding or keeping a partner. They want to play with higher level players, but are not aware that their skill set has yet to match that of higher level players. The Idealist recognizes their strengths and ignores their weaknesses. They will appeal their USTA rating instead of earning it on merit. They always have an excuse for match losses (blame their partner, the opposition only lobbed, there were issues with the court surface, the wind and sun factored into the conditions … you get the idea). The Idealist player has a perception of themselves that is not in the same reality as us mere mortals.