Tennis teams gear up for successful season
Players, coach share anticipations, goals, strategies
By Mya Goodman
Seven Years. One and a half hour daily practice. A three-month-long season. All leading up to one goal for two teams – states.
Senior Jacob Deaton’s tennis career, beginning in sixth grade, has been preparing him for statewide success. Last year’s season concluded with several members leaving both the girls’ and boys’ teams, a challenge members are prepared to overcome in order to reach the state tournament to compete.
Junior Liz Plum explained that the team atmosphere off-court plays a big role in play on the court. “We need to work on getting to know one another because that’ll definitely show on the court,” she said. Younger players agree that a connected atmosphere is a step towards advancing past conference play. Sophomore Brianna Bui, who has been on the team since last year, agrees with the common goal of communicating to form a stronger team. “As a team, we need to work together and support each other,” Bui said.
While this atmosphere is important in all aspects of play, on and off the court, it is especially vital when it comes to doubles play. Deaton explained the importance of a partner connection versus being in your own head, depending on the type of match. “It’s different because with singles it’s all on you, it’s all your individual performance and you don’t have to rely on anyone else, but with doubles you have someone else,” he said.
Deaton’s partner for doubles, Jack Snider, explained the importance of knowing your partner when competing with them. “Singles is more about just what you’re doing,” Snider said. “[In] doubles, you and your partner kind of have to be on the same page when you’re playing together.”
When it comes to the season as a whole, Deaton explained that this year’s goal is preparing to go all the way to the state tournament and enduring to the end. “We’re switching conferences next year and losing a lot of people, so I definitely think this is one of the only opportunities we have to get to states for a while,” Deaton said.
Coach Russell Campbell shared that one of the most important factors in pushing through to the state tournament and having a successful season is motivating players and developing a strategy. “Our strategy for success is to play our best, win the matches that we know we should and put forth our best effort on our matches that are a little more challenging,” Campbell said. “The biggest way to focus on this strategy is to be strong mentally and overcome personal challenges on the court.”
Senior Shelby Morton, who serves as one of the team captains, agreed that mental focus is the key to success throughout the season of the spring sport. “[My goal is to] keep focused if I’m down [and] play it point by point,” Morton said.
In order to prepare for the challenging matches ahead, both teams work on not only mental issues, but also playing skills and communication. “We play matches against each other and sometimes do drills and running,” junior Avery Loinette explained.
Overall, players and coaches agree that the most important goal is to improve and put forth their best effort. “This team made it so far last year, and we would like to repeat our efforts from last year and go even further,” Campbell said.