The Jimtown JV Invitational is an excellent tourney for our JV players. It truly gives the feel of what a varsity match is like... evenly matched players in a 2-out-of-3 set format. It also gives some experience in these Saturday matches, where it is hot and the days are long and you get tired. And when I arrived, the team looked tired.
But within tiredness, the team learned a secret. The secret makes all the difference.
When I arrived, Sol Brenneman and Landon Weldy were Bethany's only players still on the court in the second round versus Jimtown. Both looked to be playing inferior opponents, but Sol was in a tiebreak and Landon was down big in the second set. It didn't take too long to figure out what was wrong.
The attitude was completely negative, and so was the movement. Those things are often related, but more on that later. Sol was playing against a singles player who rarely hit the ball hard, and yet, here was Sol out of position and reaching for shots. Landon was playing against a similar player, and yet he was having trouble keeping the ball in the court. Running at a straight line to the net after his returns, Landon either missed or made the volley, thus deciding the point.
But there was very little energy, either from the team or from the remaining players on the court.
And attitude and movement matter so much in tennis.
Just ask Nate from the Concord match. Down 0-5, he changed two things, his feet to hustle more and his attitude to get excited from his big shots and let the bad ones go. He won 4 straight games and the 3rd set.
Or ask Abe, who got destroyed by a patient pusher at Columbia City and then turned around and did the destroying himself against a patient pusher against Fremont.
Or Joel and Hans who turned their Jimtown match around on Saturday simply by deciding to be more aggressive.
The difference between a solid varsity player and a JV player is simple. It's rarely their strokes, their serves or their volleys... it's usually their minds and their feet. Good players know that these are connected, and they stay positive in attitude by moving their feet during the point.
If there was ever evidence of that, it was the third round match of this invitational. Sol went back and forth with Concord's in the first set, but then in the second he was coached to aggressively attack the ball with HIS FEET. The result? 6-1 in the 2nd vs. 7-5 in the 1st.
Tristan had the same thing going, after a great first set, he tired and lost concentration in the second. One simple piece of advice for the super tiebreak - move your feet like a varsity player. The result? A 10-7 tiebreak win!
And I think that was the difference, the secret that we've got to get through our heads.
Move aggressively to the ball, get pumped about good shots, let the bad ones go.
Now, we have to start practicing this way. Now we have to start getting better.
Round #1: vs. NorthWood
#1SJV - Sol Brenneman won 6-1, 6-1
#2SJV - Landon Weldy lost 0-6, 1-6
#3SJV - Tristan Clark lost 3-6, 3-6
#1DJV - Justin Zehr/Neel Bhagat lost 1-6, 0-6
#2DJV - Jack Erlacher/Ethan Lapp lost 1-6. 0-6
Round #2: vs. Jimtown
#1SJV - Sol Brenneman lost 6-0, 4-6, (9-11)
#2SJV - Tristan Clark lost 2-6, 0-6
#3SJV - Landon Weldy lost 4-6, 3-6
#1DJV - Justin Zehr/Neel Bhagat lost 0-6, 2-6
#2DJV - Jack Erlacher/Ethan Lapp lost 6-7, 2-6
Round #3: vs. Concord
#1SJV - Sol Brenneman won 7-5, 6-1
#2SJV - Tristan Clark won 6-3, 1-6, (10-7)
#3SJV - Justin Zehr won 6-3, 6-3
#1DJV - Wade Troyer/Landon Weldy lost 6-3, 6-7 (5), (4-10)
#2DJV - Neel Bhagat/Ethan Lapp won 6-4, 2-6, (10-7)