Coaching High School Boys Tennis
Matt Case | August 30, 2019
The fall semester has kicked off for Nebraska high schools, which also means practices have begun for the 2019 Boys High School Tennis season. A new season creates both new opportunities and new challenges for each school’s coaching staff. Some programs have fewer resources to use, and others may be a no-cut team.
In a no-cut team, coaches must figure out how to manage a team that could be as big as 30 players, with six on varsity and the rest on JV. This can create a taxing situation for coaches trying to practice with limited court space, but some coaches thrive in a no-cut program. Coaches must plan ahead for a large team to practice altogether and to manage so many players with individualized skills and abilities.
USTA.com got in touch with four Nebraska high school head coaches that have no-cut teams to get their input about running no-cut programs and what they’re looking forward to this season.ADVERTISEMENT
“It is difficult for a large no-cut team to find matches for all of their players,” said Troy Saulsbury from Kearney High. “I am glad that the team is working hard so far. I am looking forward to watching the boys compete and bond together more.”
“Being no-cut for us is easier than other schools because our team is smaller than others,” said Eric Brown from Holdrege. “The preseason has been great with all the match practice we have been doing. I am looking forward to seeing our players grow on the courts.”
“Everyone needs to buy into a no-cut program, players, and parents,” said Matt Wiemers from McCook. “With ten new freshmen, I am glad they are building good team chemistry with the new players. I’m interested to see how Class B Tennis will shape out as there are only 23 teams instead of 29 in the past.”
“In only my second year, being a no-cut team has not created any problems so far having a small team,” said Stephen Frisell from Kearney Catholic. “I am proud that everyone is competing well and they never give up. I want to see my players grow not only at tennis but also as young men.”
The key to having a no-cut team is having a coach who is organized, as it takes hard work to decipher what drills to run and when to run them during practices. In a joint practice, coaches must make practice plans that provide a pathway for every player at all levels to succeed.
Drills such as feeding balls, rotating stations, or live points work as a way to encourage team chemistry. Developing team bonds can be difficult in the beginning for many coaches, but the best way to achieve this is by building relationships with each player.
A common thought for coaches is the risk of cutting players too soon before their full potential has been realized. This is an especially common struggle for coaches of younger athletes.
Every school is unique in their particular challenges to their respective tennis programs, but luckily the USTA provides many helpful resources for teaching and coaching purposes.
To learn more about how USTA Nebraska can serve local youth coaches and other youth tennis organizers, contact Kara Heim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nebraska high school tennis fans will have the opportunity to support their teams during the state championships on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18. The Papillon Invitational, a major invite that previews the state finals, will take place at Koch in Omaha on Monday, September 23. Two noteworthy conference invites are the HAC Invite on Friday, October 4, and the Metro Conference Invite over the following weekend.