Boys Tennis: In the head of Deerfield senior Jason BrownBarrington- Boys tennis match: Barrington vs. Deerfield. Jason Brown Deerfield returns a volley. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2012 5:52PM
Jason Brown is a thinking man. In the tennis world, that sometimes can be a hindrance.
The Deerfield senior singles player is learning to balance his game between the mental and physical sides while becoming one of the top players in the state.
‘‘He’s always been very bright and thought a lot out there,’’ Deerfield coach Josh Leighton said. ‘‘One of the things about anyone who is intelligent is to make sure they don’t overthink. Sometimes that tendency to overthink creates more errors.’’
Brown’s personal coach, Jacek Dabrowksi, said Brown used to think a lot between points.
‘‘Now he is reacting to the ball more like a professional,’’ Dabrowski said. ‘‘That’s the most important part of his game is keeping his head mentally tough.’’
Brown loves reading mysteries and suspense novels, counting Tom Clancy and James Patterson amongst his favorite authors. The strategic and cryptic tales that he enjoys so much in books have made their way into his game.
‘‘In tennis, you have to do everything for yourself,’’ Brown explained. ‘‘I like the strategy part of the game. There’s a lot of thinking that goes into it.’’
‘‘He is a very good thinker out there,’’ Leighton said. ‘‘He’ll figure out his opponent’s weaknesses and try to match it up to his strength.’’
Brown will be attending Yale in the fall and will play tennis for the Bulldogs. He was able to attend such a prestigious institution based on his smarts and his clutch tennis playing.
‘‘I want to help Yale win an Ivy League title,’’ he said. ‘‘I don’t have any aspirations for playing after college. I just want to be as good as I can be in college.’’
Brown, a right-hander, has compiled a 7-3 record thus far, losing to top players Jared Hiltzik, Martin Joyce and Konrad Zieba. Brown has finished third in the state tournament in singles the previous two seasons and is looking for more this year.
‘‘I’d be really happy with third again, but I would also like to improve upon that,’’ he said. ‘‘The state tournament is a different feeling. It definitely is a lot more adrenaline than just a regular tennis match.’’
Brown has a history of playing well during the regular season but turning it up to another level in the state tournament.
‘‘In his sophomore and junior years when he was finishing in the top three, that was a little bit of an overachievement,’’ Leighton said. ‘‘He has the confidence that even if the match isn’t going his way so far, he will keep doing the things to make himself better for the end of the year.’’
Brown chose tennis over other sports because he liked the individual accountability. But he also enjoys the team aspect of playing for his school.
‘‘It gives you a little more pride than just playing for yourself,’’ Brown said. ‘‘At the state tournament, every match counts, and every point you get helps your team.’’
Said Leighton: ‘‘I think over the past couple of years, based on how hard he works at practice and how hard he competes in matches, he has gained the respect of his team. He would certainly put the team before himself if he had the opportunity.’’