Paul Gastonguay | Head Coach | Men’s Tennis / Women’s Tennis | Bates College

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

Obviously, to play at the highest levels of Division III, players has to have character and needs to be athletic. This upper tier level of Division III is very strong and many of the players could play at a Div. I level.

ATHLETICISM & CHARACTER form the umbrella for any successful athlete under which these important qualities fall under:

1. Passion! A player might have all the talent in the world or could have been a top ranked junior but if they are not passionate about getting better and being the best they can be, they will not reach their ultimate potential.

2. Competitive! If a player is competitive, they will find a way to win even if it isn’t pretty. Combined with “Passion” a competitive player will put in the hard work to overcome any obstacle.

3. Work ethic! Passion will drive the athlete but they need to have a work ethic that will be the foundation for their improvement.

Athleticism & Character (Passion + Competitiveness + Work Ethic) = Champion

Could you give an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

Two years ago one of my players reached the pinnacle of Div. III tennis by winning the NCAA Doubles Championship with his partner and losing in the finals of the NCAA singles championships. He played in every match of the Div. III Championships. This has happened only a few times in NCAA history. The incredible thing about this player was that he was not a top recruit when he was a junior-senior in high school. He was ranked once (@ 65 in the Eastern section of the USTA) after playing a few tournaments. I was high on this player because I had the opportunity to coach him before college in my summer camp. I knew he had incredible athleticism and was very competitive and had a solid work ethic that needed to be developed further.

This player started his first year out of the lineup and finished the year playing 6 singles and 3 doubles and did not win very often. He worked hard in the weight room and on his conditioning for four years. We also worked on developing all aspects of his game to compliment his natural ability and desire to get to the net. This athlete did not have many of the tools required to compete at the highest levels of Div. III but he was willing to work on all of them. And he did just that. He developed a huge serve and forehand that allowed him to create offensive situations and get to the net. He also developed sound technique on his volleys so that he could take advantage of every opportunity at the net. His backhand went from a liability to a solid part of his game that would allow him to stay in points to set up his weapons. His defense was a trademark of his competitiveness. Although his game style was designed around creating offense, he was able to use his athleticism to get out of difficult situations in singles and doubles and was able to turn the point around in his favor. This journey was not without mishaps and struggles but this player became one of the best leaders that I have coached in fifteen years. As a coach, I am confident in my ability to develop players but players that have the qualities in this formula:

/*Athleticism & Character(Passion + Competitiveness + Work Ethic) =Champion* / make it possible for them to become champions.