It's hard to believe that summer is upon us again! After our first 100-degree day in April, we've had a nice run of weather before the heat sets in. This is always a great time to reflect on all of the hard work that the kids have put in since the New Year.
Our junior players have had some excellent results through this busy tournament season. Stand out tournament wins came from Nandini, who won the L3 back in November and the Scottsdale Shootout last month; and Julia and Niamh, who won the Desert Duo for their section.
Springtime is also high school tennis season, and we are so proud of our players who played for their schools. Bradley is a senior at PCDS, and just completed his fourth year of varsity tennis. Bradley went undefeated in singles throughout the season, and his team reached the Arizona State Championships. Katie B, also at PCDS, played number 2 singles as a sophomore, and was a huge part of her team's success. Katie and her doubles partner won their State quarterfinals match, securing the team's place in the semifinals. Grace earned her way to the number 1 singles spot of the Arcadia team...as a freshman! Grace played to the highest of levels, and grew tremendously as a player.
Our Orange Ball players participated in the Grand Slam Series, in which they had the opportunity to play all four major tournaments. Hopefully, they can now name all of them! For many, this was their first look at playing in an official tournament, which can be quite daunting. New tournament players are generally nervous and timid during their first match, but after a few matches, the skills they have learnt during their lessons start to kick in. Orange Ball tournaments are where the kids really start to develop the grit of competing, and learn how to win matches. We are grateful to the USTA Phoenix for organizing these great events.
Tennis is a wonderful activity, and certainly does not need to be done competitively. However, because we are a performance program, we place a lot of value on tournaments, or competitive play in general (not for the results alone, but more for the progress as a player). Tournaments serve as a great way to test where your game is at. They challenge a player's skills. Can they hit their ground stokes under pressure, or serve out a match when they are tired? At the highest levels of our sport, mental strength is usually the difference-maker. Tennis is one of the few sports in which mental toughness can beat skill. This is why attitude is so important. Thinking positively and learning to control emotions are critical to success. During our lessons, we talk about taking time between points, breathing, and preparing for the next point with a positive attitude. These skills are very helpful off the court as well!
Despite the impending heat, we are extremely excited to be heading into our summer schedule. I say this every year (and here it is again), but summer is the best time to make the biggest gains in your game! Players hit the courts first thing in the morning, without the distractions of school, and with more time to play and recover. I can’t wait to see the progress of all the players in our program over summer.
Thanks for all of your support.
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Matt's Point (get it? Match Point!) is Matt's blog covering all the goings-on at IJP Tennis.