Matt Tyler | Head Coach | Women’s Tennis | Bradley University

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

We are obviously looking for the most talented tennis players that we can find. However, there are a few characteristics that I am on the lookout for when recruiting an athlete.

a) Coachability – Are they willing to listen to what I have to say and buy into the program I have put into place. There are a lot of athletes out there that think they know everything about their sport and are not willing to take constructive criticism. It’s pretty tough to help a player get better if they are not willing to take to heart the instruction that I am giving them.

b) Good Character – It’s extremely important to me that an athlete treat everyone from professors to officials and opponents with respect. How you conduct yourself on and off of the court regardless of the outcome of the match, test, etc., is paramount.

c) Work Ethic – Is the player willing to put forth 100% effort toward whatever goal they have set forth. I truly believe that you can accomplish anything through hard work.

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

I had a player that came in as a freshman and played the number six spot (lowest) for us off and on through out the year and came away with a mediocre win/loss record at the end of the season. He was extremely fit and had the desire and work ethic to be an outstanding tennis player, although his strokes were a bit lacking. He was constantly asking what he needed to do to get better and looking for ways to improve. What I told him and what he really took to heart was that if you’re working while others are not, you’re gaining ground on them. Pretty soon, the other guys on the team, and opponents, were losing to a player that previously wouldn’t have been able to stay on the court with them for long. For the next three years I witnessed him blossom into a great player. By his senior year he was playing the number 1 and 2 positions for us and at the end of his senior season was voted All-Conference for the first time. This is a kid that purely through hard work and determination was able to turn himself into one of the best players that I have coached. I said all along that if I had 6 kids like this one playing for me, we would have been unbeatable.