Now that I am 18-20 years removed from playing high school tennis, what do I look back on from my experiences? I look back and remember certain matches, I can tell a couple of stories, but I've forgotten many of the matches and many of my opponents.
So was last night's match memorable? As a coach, I want to say "Yes!" I mean, for me I will remember the remarkable fight shown by Yousey to get back into his match. I will remember the great conversation that I had with Blackhawk's #1 singles player after the match, because I love to meet conscientious and kind players from all schools. I will remember it as being the first match that Dustin and Lane won 6-0, 6-0. I will remember the patient waitress from the Magic Wand and the glorious extra ice cream that Joel Yoder gifted me :-)
As a coach, I also think their are lessons to be learned from the match last night. For example, Byeong put on a clinic yesterday, and you all had free admission. The lesson was "How to construct points" and Byeong showed how having a variety of shots can be just as important as hitting the ball hard. Byeong used deep balls, slice balls, topspin drives, spinning serves and (eventually) really good footwork to control the points. Even though his opponent sometimes hit the ball harder, it looked like he was always having to adjust to what Byeong was doing. That is how to play really good singles.
There was also the lesson of how to adjust. Lucas and Jonathon both had to calm down in their matches because they came out of the gate a little too anxious to get on the attack. As a result, they were being a little too aggressive too early in the points. One lesson to learn is that early in a match you are still kind of warming up. It's good to hit several balls down the middle of the court first, even if they seem like shots you could attack. Too often, we attack these balls and hit them out and then play a very inconsistent game. Lucas and Jonathon both started that way, but then turned around and made their opponent play inconsistently. Jonathon was able to hit balls to the center of the court and make his opponent adjust to him, to make his opponent create offense when Jonathon was lacking the ability to do so. As the match went on, Jonathon made more and more balls so that by the end of the second set, he was in the rhythm to attack with big shots and coming to the net. And Lucas was able to take less risks and move his opponent rather than just hit winners. Both strategies ended up in wins.
I also learned that God is working and present all over, in so many different people. Talking to Drew Hall, Blackhawk's #1, was awesome. So often we remember other teams for their players who treated us poorly - made bad lines calls, challenged us on some aspect of the game, or just seemed to be disrespectful. In those times I'm glad for all of you, who I love coaching because of the guys you are. But just as often, I find that our opponents teams are filled with players that we'd love hanging out with. I was reminded of that tonight. Drew seemed very excited about his season and is working toward a great goal of making All District. At the same time as we talked, he kept encouraging his teammate who was still playing. That excitement and encouragement are things that I love about our team, and I love to see them in others as well.
So what were the lessons today?
1. Control the point with variety.
2. Gather consistency early in the point.
3. Want to hit that next shot, because tennis is fun.
4. Be excited and encouraging, and see it in others too!
5. Sad clowns are creepy.
6. Ice cream is good.
And I'll just leave this here:
#1S - Byeong Min Lim - 6-2, 6-1 - Drew Hall (11)
#2S - Jonathon Yousey - 1-6, 6-4, 6-0 - Ethan Yourdon (11)
#3S - Lucas Brownsberger-Keyes - 6-3, 6-0 - Josh Carlson (11)
#1D - Simon Hurst/Brandon Nguyen - 6-0, 6-2 - Zach Kaufman (10)/Jordan Romines (11)
#2D - Lane Miller/Dustin Miller - 6-0, 6-0 - Levi Mossburg (11)/Logan Foote (11)
#1SJV - Daniel Robles - 8-0 - Aaron Jentgen
#2SJV - Jackson King - 8-3 - Ben Friggins
#3SJV - Jacob Woolace - 6-2 - Aaron Jentgen
#1DJV - Caleb Shenk/Nathan Oostland - 8-1 - Bear Roberts/Ryan Neff
#2DJV - Joel Yoder/Braydon Harshberger - 6-8 - West Tanner/Brandon Marker