For Andover Boys Tennis Head Coach Leon Calleja, the courts are a place for him to instill responsibility in his team while making it an exciting place to be after a day of classes. He emphasizes camaraderie amongst teammates and supports each player both in practices and in matches.
According to Calleja, his support as a coach comes in the form of reminding the team of the support team members have for each other. Although tennis is an individual sport, he believes that the team aspect of the sport is especially important.
“[The best way to support the team is] showing how much the team cares about each other. The great thing about my team, all the players really sort of love each other and get along well and I think there’s a really consensus team camaraderie between the players. The one thing I always tell them, when trying to motivate them, is how much the team supports them and how much I’m proud of the play as a part of a team. I think that’s very unique to tennis because in tennis usually, you’re not playing on a team. You’re playing by yourself. But that’s something that I really try to focus on,” said Calleja.
According to Chase Burke ’25, Calleja constantly has a positive attitude, which reflects back on his team. Nonetheless, Calleja is constantly pushing his team to be the best it can be, no matter the circumstances.
“One quality that makes Coach Calleja a good coach is the excitement that he brings to every practice. And you can tell he loves tennis, he loves what he does, he loves being a coach. It makes tennis just more enjoyable, he makes practices more enjoyable, and he makes going to matches enjoyable. He is definitely a coach that is going to push you to work hard but he is also a coach that makes you love the sport you play, he’s not a coach that going to make you shy away from the sport that you love and he is going to encourage you to work hard while having a good time,” said Burke.
Co-Captain Ethan Wong ’23 highlighted the constant responsibility and commitment that Calleja has for the team. He is always at practice ready to coach and keep practices organized and effective. Wong feels that Calleja’s commitment to his athletes has largely affected the team’s success this season.
“Having responsibility and being there is a motto for the team. Because he is always there it is reflected onto us to always show up at practice. We even sometimes stay behind practice because he stays behind a while as well. We just go overtime, I feel like just that’s why our team has found success over the season because we put in the practice other teams are not putting in and that’s because coach is willing to stay there with us,” said Wong.
Burke emphasizes the feedback that Calleja gives during practice. He also highlighted Calleja’s understanding of the injury. Calleja’s priority is always his team and he shows that when coaching.
“One thing he does is just give feedback during practices. He does a good job working to improve the things you want to improve. He looks out for you when you have an injury. He encourages you to go to the trainer. He wants everyone to be healthy. He’s encouraging during matches and he will cheer you on and give you advice when you are struggling. He just does everything he can to bring the best out of his players,” said Burke.