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Wilson Featured Player - Jeffrey Dayton PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Scholar Athlete—Jeffrey Dayton

How does a kid excel at being a student as well as an athlete?  Jeffrey Dayton knows that it starts as much in the classroom as it does on the tennis court.  The 8th grader from Murrells Inlet, South Carolina understands how setting goals, practicing what he's learned and working hard to improve his skills are useful in both his schoolwork and in his tennis game.  And that knowledge has helped Jeffrey maintain a straight A average, be named Student of the Year at his school as well as rank #2 in his division of Boys 14s.

This experience is good preparation to get Jeffrey to his long-term goals: first to play for an Ivy League school, then to become a professional tennis player.  Fortunately, Jeffrey also enjoys playing the game.

"What makes tennis fun for me is hanging out with my tennis friends at the tournaments and helping others who are novices," Jeffrey explains.

But tennis is also hard work, Jeffrey acknowledges.  Lately, he's been practicing six days a week for three hours per day at the Prestwick Tennis Club and the Playmakers Academy at Wachesaw Plantation.  It's a challenging schedule, but Jeffrey does it because he knows that training and conditioning will help him get better.  When he has spare time, Jeffrey also enjoys playing soccer, baseball, basketball and boxing a little with his dad and coach, Michael.

State: SC
Dist. Rank: 2
Sectl Rank: 32
Natl Rank: 239

One lesson Jeffrey may have preferred not to have to learn is the patience required to recover from an injury to his Achilles tendon.  "That injury was very painful, but I conquered the injury by learning that I had to stretch before and after playing," he says.

Jeffrey also continues to learn more strategies to improve his game.  "The changes I have made throughout my tennis career is adding more topspin to my ground strokes and to come to the net more often," Jeffrey says.

Tennis is a game of competition as well as sportsmanship, and Jeffrey embodies that combination.

"What I love about tennis specifically," he says, "is the pride and glory of winning and doing it fairly."

Jeffrey credits his dad and his mom, Teresa for providing him with instruction, support and balance that help him stay grounded while he still reaches for his goals.

Jeffrey's FavoritesFavorite tennis player: Novak Djokovic
Favorite Book: Young Samurai: The Way of the Dragon
Favorite Actor: Hugh Jackman

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 June 2012 14:37
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