We were so excited to find out that Ryan Neale was named the South Metro Boys Tennis player of the year this season! Ryan has been a part of the HAT tennis family since 2010. Ryan has a reputation for being an amazing player on the court, but also has a standout character both on and off the court exemplifying hard work, great teamwork and sportsmanship.
As he looks forward to college, we chatted with Ryan to learn more about his tennis journey and ask him for any tips he has for aspiring tennis players. A great tennis player, like Ryan, practices extensively. Ryan explained to us that in the past few years he has typically practiced 30 hours a week in addition to morning or evening gym workouts. Now that the season is over, Ryan is focusing on preparing for college but still makes it out to the court Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays for two hours, in addition to setting up times to hit with people on non-court days and helping out Coach Brent with HAT programs on Wednesday evenings.
Ryan cites many sources of inspiration for his dedication to tennis. Two pieces of advice from coaches that have inspired Ryan over the years include, “If you have a goal, work towards that goal every day. It does not need to be a huge leap, it can be a baby step. But those baby steps add up over time. To do this you’re going to have to change your habits to meet your goals if this is something that you really want to do. Don’t change your goals to meet your habits.” “Do the best that you can on a specific day. If you’re only at 70 percent on one day, give 100 percent of that 70 percent.” For Ryan, these mantras don’t just apply to tennis but also life in general. Tennis, for Ryan, requires more than tactical skills, but also a profound sense of self-motivation and confidence. Ryan explained to us that, “Tennis has been able to teach me a lot of life lessons used off the court. I have been able to learn discipline and Perseverance,” which we have also definitely seen reflected in Ryan!
Keeping this in mind, Ryan’s suggestion to younger, aspiring tennis players is to “keep pushing through.” Tennis should be fun, and “the skills from this sport on and off the court will stay with you for life.” Ryan considers his father, Barry, his role model for his willingness to take risks and work hard.
Thank you, Ryan, for letting us, here at HAT, be a part of your tennis journey. We are so proud of you! Learn more about Ryan’s recent award here.