Sometimes, it seems Barron Collier’s Brittany Delaney is her own worst enemy on the tennis court.
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It’s not that she makes a ton of mistakes, but she constantly talks to herself, belittling her play.
“That’s an awful shot, stupid, stupid, stupid,” and “A 2-year old can play better tennis than this” are just a small sampling of Brittany’s Greatest Hits.
But while others may get down on themselves and throw away a match, Delaney seems to motivate herself with her self-inflicted tirades.
“I find when I get mad at myself, my intensity picks up,” she said. “I re-direct that anger at my opponent, and my tennis often improves because of it.”
Delaney sent several opponents home angry during an outstanding senior season in which she led the Cougars to a second-place finish at the Class 3A girls tennis tournament.
“That’s just how Brittany motivates herself,” Barron Collier coach Nancy Eberhardt said. “It seems like she plays better tennis when she’s mad at herself. It doesn’t have a negative effect on her like it does for other players.”
As Barron Collier’s No. 1 singles player and a member of the top doubles team, Delaney led the Cougars to an undefeated regular season and regional championship.
Her strong season has earned her the Naples Daily News Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
“I thought it was a successful season,” Delaney said. “My only regret is that we didn’t repeat as state champions. We definitely had the talent to do it, but we played passive tennis in a few of the matches. Maybe we were all a bit overconfident.”
Delaney assumed a leadership role, organizing post-match dinners and get-togethers.
“That’s so important,” Eberhardt said. “A lot of these girls play in tournaments where tennis is more of an individual sport. Brittany did a lot of things to enforce the team aspect of high school tennis. I thought she did a great job as a senior leader.”
Eberhardt said Delaney is easy to coach, because she has a great idea what she’s doing on the tennis court.
“Brittany has so much match experience, you really don’t need to tell her much,” Eberhardt said. “Once in a while, you might have to get her to re-focus, but for the most part, she doesn’t need a lot of help out there.”
Delaney is ready for her next tennis challenge. She is headed to Boston College next fall on a full scholarship.
“That’s quite an accomplishment for our program. We’ve never had a girl get a full Division I scholarship,” Eberhardt said. “She’s certainly worked hard to get there and I wish her the best of luck.”
Delaney knows she’ll be starting from scratch but plans to work extremely hard this summer to prepare herself.
“The coaches basically said I could be a top three player right away,” Delaney said. “I’ve got to put a lot of work in because I know college tennis is going to be a big jump up in talent.”