It can be a bit overwhelming as you enter high school and joining your first team sport! When you’re trying out for your high school tennis team, there are a several things you can do that will impress any coach, even if you’re not the best player on the court:
- Have a focused, positive attitude: don’t be the person on court who’s constantly yelling or your abusing your equipment, show your coach that you can deal with adversity and stress without losing your cool
- DON’T try to impress your coach by hitting as hard as you can, instead, work on your consistency and rhythm, high school coaches will be more impressed by players that can hit 100 balls in in a row than players that can hit 100 mph forehands
- Determination: Strive to have a “Rafa Nadal attitude,” coaches love to see players who chase down every ball and fight till the last stroke
Once you’ve made the team, you’ll need the right equipment. If you’re an experienced player who will break strings from time to time, I recommend getting 2 racquets. You never want to be in the middle of a match, break a string, and then have to borrow a teammates racquet which will probably feel a lot different, or worse, have to forfeit if no one has an extra racquet. For new or beginner players, one racquet will do the trick. Every high school player should be using a full-sized racquet, at least 27 inches long. I also recommend getting a 30-pack of your favorite overgrips, I always had sweaty hands and re-gripped my racquets often in high school. Make sure you always keep a reusable water bottle (at least 32 oz) in your tennis bag or backpack. Water goes fast while you’re playing tennis in the hot sun! Always have extra dampeners, head bands, wristbands, towels, or any other accessories you like to use.
Off-Court TrainingI never worked out until I got to high school. I was always playing sports and being active, but never pushing myself in the gym.
High school tennis was a wake up call for me and my fitness. A lot of young players focus on getting better form or hitting harder serves, but fitness is just as basic of a fundamental as continental grip. All coaches are different, but every coach is going to make you run or do pushups, something to push their players physically. Being prepared ahead of time will not only give you a good chance of excelling on the team and in competition, but it will make your experience so much more enjoyable. I remember playing a match in high school that lasted nearly three hours, a classic three set battle I will never forget. Though I was able to win the match, I was fighting myself physically the entire third set. That night, I could hardly get up out of my couch. In long match situations like this, your fitness can be your greatest asset, or your most vicious enemy.
Finally, have fun! Win or lose, rain or shine, good day or bad, high school tennis is just a game. Enjoy your teammates and make new friends, be respectful to your opponents and coaches, and enjoy the competitions and the opportunities to get better. High school goes by fast, so make the most of your time on the tennis team!