Competition does interesting things to people: It brings out their true personality, good and bad.
Friendly, good-natured people can become easily-rattled, explosive, confrontational, angry, unethical, self-doubting, complaining, frustrated, violent, terrified, detached, cocky, boastful, boisterous ... you name it, I’ve seen it.
Well-meaning friends, relatives and parents should be prepared for possible mood swings and changes in personality.
Of course, this depends on whether your player is winning. Hopefully, either way they will come off the court resembling the person you know.
But don’t be surprised if they behave strangely, at least for a little while — competition can do that.
If your player loses an important match, I’ve learned that it’s best not to discuss for at least 24 hours. They’re just not ready to talk about it objectively and you may create added tension. Instead, express interest but don’t dwell on the defeat until your player has had a day to recover.
Otherwise they may just bite you.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.