Fall and winter sports have come and gone for the most part. While spring is still a month or two away, the spring sports are already prepping for their upcoming season. Girls tennis is right around the corner with a starting date of March 2. Some of our seniors on the girls’ tennis team include RyLynn Nealy, Sarah Gordon, and Valentina Vigil. Their pre-season started about a week ago, even with the cold and snowy weather. The girls are currently forced to practice indoors in the small gym or really any empty area. However, they are still holding one and a half-hour long practices to work on conditioning, footwork and serves. Nealy, however, is bummed about the constant indoor practice, “ I personally don’t think indoor practice is enough preparation as actually playing on courts.”
Even with the occasional indoor practice, the girls say the pre-season has started out pretty strong. Vigil says, “practice has been going pretty good and we have some new people which makes it exciting.” So far the practice has consisted of a lot of conditioning and working on technique. They have been using this time to perfect serves, footwork, and laying down the rules of the game for newcomers. The team lost their previous head coach Patti Lang but the girls are learning to adjust and are welcoming the new head coach Marty. Gordon says it was difficult losing their old coach because, “the seniors were close with her, however, Marty was the old assistant coach so the transition was easier since we already knew him.” They have not found a new assistant coach, but Marty is doing a good job of working with the girls by himself. Along with the head coach, the team also lost several players from last year. But Gordon says those lost numbers are being made up by the number of new players she is seeing.
Tennis seems to get a bad reputation: however, it is fun and energetic. Nealy says she enjoys tennis because “it is pretty easy to pick up, great shots can be made, it keeps you on your toes all the time, and it often forces you to compete with your mind when things get difficult.”
Vigil also said, “I have really good teammates and the coaches are always fun to learn from.” Even with coach and player changes, the girls are eager for the season to start. They are looking forward to improving skills and team relationships. They plan to use their last year to really take some wins and better their skill the best they can. However, because this is the last year on the courts, this certainly makes the seniors sad to go but are determined to leave behind some sort of reputation for themselves. Vigil says, “It feels good to be a senior because I have played for three years, so I have dedicated my time and skill to something I am good at. I also get to feel like a role model to the underclassmen.” They all agree that something they want to improve on from last year is the amount of team bonding. They want to try and incorporate more team dinners and fun activities to really bring them all together and make the new players feel welcomed.
The girls’ tennis team is building and growing every practice. Their biggest challenge this season as a whole will be acquainting new players with how the game works as well as keeping the team hustling and working the whole time. Nealy says, “Our biggest challenge will be playing more difficult teams because our program is still growing, unlike other schools that are a little stronger.” There are also personal challenges this coming season. From improving specific skills to maintaining strong mindsets and all the things that go with playing your best game. The coach and players are so excited to kick off a season full of improvement and fun. So if you are looking for a new sport and a fun environment to be a part of, go check out the girls’ tennis team!