I’m super excited to help coach the River Valley Wildcats girls tennis team this fall. Ever since I found out they were looking for a new head coach, I thought it would be fun to help out.

I couldn’t take the head coach job because of my duties at the Herald-Dispatch, but I still figured I could volunteer my time and share my passion for the sport by helping the girls with any and all aspects of the game.

One thing I want the team to work on is consistency. Unforced errors are common in tennis, especially at the high school level. Consistency in swinging and ball placement is key. A lot of times players will get too aggressive with their shots and make simple mistakes that cost them points. Simply hitting the ball back over the net with each hit keeps you in the point which is huge. I’m not saying I want the girls to hit the ball right back to their opponent, but not going for any tricky shots will avoid hitting the ball into the net or out of bounds.

Another big thing in my high school tennis days was serving. A solid serve can easily lead you to winning all of the games that you serve in because you have complete control over the first shot of the rally. My coach had us practice our serves countless times. A good tennis player should have a goal of hitting their first serves in about 70-80 percent of the time. We were also taught to put a lot of spin on the ball in the serve, especially on the second serves.

The main thing I love about tennis is how good of a workout it is. You use your whole body, from your torso to your arms, shoulders, back, and of course almost every muscle in the legs. Therefore, conditioning and being quick and in shape is a big part of the game. Another interesting aspect of tennis is the mental game. Having complete confidence with each shot is key to success. Of course, tennis is all about having fun which can help with confidence as well. So be sure to come out and support the Wildcats! Our first match is already this upcoming Tuesday! (Yikes!)