“Separation is in the Preparation.”
I believe I heard Russell Wilson say this phrase. This fits with an important time NOW in the calendar year for aspiring high school & middle school tennis players. December and January are the key preparation months for development, team placement and future victories over rival schools.
Ready for First Week – Challenge Matches?
As a former high school tennis coach in Seattle’s Metro League and Kingco League, I witnessed two types of players. “Primed Players” that put in the offseason work and were ready the first day of practice. In contrast, “Catch-up Players” hadn’t been on court much since summer.
“Primed Players” Typically Experience:
- Moving up ladder position on Varsity/JV.
- Confidence in early season close matches.
- Showcasing shots they developed in offseason.
- Varsity teams with more “Primed Players” have better in-season practices consequently leading to more development and team success.
“Catch-up Players” Typically Experience:
- Rough first week of practice to get timing.
- Struggling and sometimes losing 1st week challenge matches against others they previous defeated.
- Uphill as well as awkward feeling. This can be overcome with lots of early season work but can be stressful, especially with rainy outdoor high school season.
- Some “Think Big” goals may feel too out of reach to aspire for.
Checklist to get “Primed” for High School and Middle School Tennis Success
- Write down on paper NOW one exciting tennis goal for the upcoming tennis season
- Share it with a coach, tennis pro or friend
- Ramp up your tennis regime in December and January
- Add 2 days a week of tennis (hitting with friends/family, lessons, matches, ball machine) to whatever # of days a week you did in November.
- Get connected with group tennis classes at indoor tennis facility.
- Drills, instruction and built in weekly time to improve
- If you are looking for a place to train, WSC has many weekly options to help ramp up
- If budget allows, schedule a few private lessons to focus on your first and second serve and technique
- Finally, get match play in January-February. This is important! USTA Jr Team Tennis (JTT) is good way to get up to 6 matches at an affordable price on weekends in this time window.
Even if you can’t do everything on the checklist, every item you do complete will SEPARATE you from the competition and as a result help you feel PREPARED!