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Old 05-02-2022, 01:05 PM   #51
Young Drachma
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Today's rescheduled road match officially cancelled, due to weather.

Means that we're League Champions for the third consecutive season.

We play again tomorrow and supposed to play Friday but Friday's match weather looks equally grim. I found us a contingency match on Thursday against another team that are also undefeated, but only if it rains and they can't play; because we have the indoor courts we could host it.

Unlike the other 6A matches I was trying to get and didn't get, this one is less about bragging rights -- I assume we'll win -- and more about giving our team a look against a quality team outside of our district but in our region. I'm going to make sure the girls are extra nice and we'll keep it chill because if it does end up happening, it's going to be this team's senior day that got rained out.

So I think honestly setting the tone of the match being a "match-like practice or a match-like scrimmage" rather than "BIG IMPLICATIONS" would be good.

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Old 05-02-2022, 10:26 PM   #52
JonInMiddleGA
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Congrats champs
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Old 05-03-2022, 07:01 AM   #53
Breeze
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Awesome - 3 in row. Now on to the playoffs!
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Old 05-04-2022, 05:20 PM   #54
Young Drachma
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We had our last league match (probably, assuming Friday rain) yesterday. We were short-handed by our standards, missing 5 players who've been started for most of the year. Thankfully, the past few weeks we've identified some JV players who are good enough to fill the gaps and thus, it gives me a surplus of players to choose from.

Still, we made some last minute adjustments to the doubles lineup yesterday based on the Districts playoffs lineup. Still, it went fine.

We beat the 3rd best team in our (not especially great this year) league/district 8-0 (we won 7-1 last week) by fortifying the 3rd doubles spot we lost, sweeping them in singles despite using 2 JVers turned varsity in 3/4 singles. The biggest surprise was one of my emergent lower doubles players who has turned into a potential singles asset breaking through at 2nd singles winning a 3rd setter 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (1) it was not the prettiest victory but the point was...she overcame the odds and finished the job.

The best part of yesterday though was 4th doubles: Because we were kind of short-handed and our stalwart senior 4th doubles player couldn't play last minute, we pressed our manager into action on the way to the bus lol along with a newly promoted junior hadn't played for us before that Friday match last week.

She has very unorthodox strokes and hasn't practiced with us, but after she dominated with her friend last week, she earned her away onto the backup varsity roster and in this match where I had zero expectations they'd win -- I was very content yesterday for everyone to have their worst match, so long as we won 5-3 -- instead, that team comprised of JV player and our manager did the opposite. After dropping the first set 4-6 (and they were up briefly 4-3) they came back to win the second set 6-3 and then claimed the 3rd set handily 6-4. I was in no way expecting this and I'm still amazed they pulled it off.

It's a credit to our manager that she's gone from being a bit of an on-court liability, but better than a forfeit, to turning herself into "the anchor from which we will use to win a 4th doubles match" against a team that's actually really solid and even has a full JV program. So like...even though this wasn't their full-strength top-to-bottom roster, it was still a very solid team they beat.

Anyway, that might be it for the regular season. Tomorrow we have that potential rainy day match against a team that I expect after today will also be 13-0. So it'll be a real barn burner and a way to end the regular season.

I have absolutely zero interest in playing on Friday for a rubber match against the league's 4th best team (who do have a likely seeded player at 1-singles...but we have the 4 best singles players in the district, so it's moot)

As for tomorrow's likely match, I have no idea what to benchmark them as. I do know that they've taken their 1-2 singles players and moved them to 1st doubles in anticipation of the state tournament at 6A (a common tactic here among programs that don't have singles players strong enough to go far in the state tournament) and so I imagine they will be solid.

Our 1st doubles pairing have played together most of the year and this team only started pairing up yesterday, so they'll have 2 days of practice. Also, our 1st doubles team yesterday looked better than I'd ever seen them before yesterday. Just crisp and their timing was really really good.

Singles-wise, they've already taken their best singles players and put them at doubles which means...it should be a clean sweep, especially if -- as expected -- my 1-2 combo decide they're both going to play.

The real wildcard here, will be seeing how talented their doubles depth is. I anticipate these will be slightly better players at 2nd/3rd/4th doubles than we've seen all year and I won't have my regular 2nd doubles pairing.

I do not envision a scenario we'll lose this match, we're just too strong. But I'm curious if it'll be a 7-1/8-0 blowout or if we'll sweat this one out a bit more. Either way, I'm thrilled we get to it. These kinds of ad-hoc matches never happen here, much less between two of the Top 10 teams in the state regardless of classification, this late in the season.
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Old 05-05-2022, 10:50 PM   #55
Young Drachma
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So today was stupid because we were missing 6 from the lineup. Two were for legitimate injuries, but we don't have that kind of depth especially against a 6A team.

Still, the girls were extremely resilient. We were missing 4 of our best 5 players, but our true 1 and 4 showed up to play singles which make sure it wasn't a total bloodbath.

We won 3 singles matches, but lost 4th singles (despite some grit and fight from one of recent JV promotees) and then all of the doubles teams lost. The 1st doubles pairing (right now our 3rd doubles team) were also putting up a lot of fight, but they literally played the 1-2 players from that team who were paired up at 1st doubles. Our net play was stellar, but we just didn't have the length to finish that match.

So we lost 5-3 overall (50-35) because we just played 8-game pro sets. I'm annoyed at the girls essentially thinking that someone else would pick up the Slack and that we'd be okay. Also, I got us this match as a showcase match and so many kids flaking was annoying because we wouldn't have played it had I realized I'd have JV kids getting destroyed and stuff.

The positives were way bigger though. First, it establishes that even with half our roster missing we're more than comfortably a 6A team. Like there's just no way we had any business being in this match and we were really my 4th singles player figuring it out away from us clinching the tie.

Anyway, regular season is done. District tournament is Monday. I am going to make one adjustment -- a sophomore who I thought wasn't going to play is going to in the last singles spot for us -- because the 9th grader I was going to play there didn't show up today, the sophomore did and I think she's better anyway. There's just no way the 9th grader would've put up the fight that she did and that convinced me to change my idea.

Lastly, the other team's coach offered that we could just call this a scrimmage rather than an actual match at the very end. I said if we split we could list it because we both stay unbeaten, but otherwise, I'd take her up on that. It wasn't really a good representation of our season nor our whole team. Like yeah they beat us, but if you saw the players that played, anybody who saw the lineup would know you didn't actually play the "real" team.

They essentially beat our JV team and 3rd doubles pairing, but lost to our 1st and 3rd singles and half our 2nd doubles squad. Still, I'm going to use this as motivation next season for the girls and not let them claim anymore undefeated stuff, because besides the 12 that showed up today, nobody else had the grit to care enough to play.

But I'm letting it go, we'll start districts and it's a good lesson for me next season and for coaching broadly.
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Old 05-08-2022, 10:36 PM   #56
Young Drachma
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District tournament seeding yesterday. I should've fought harder to make sure my 2nd doubles team was in the Top 4. Per usual, our rival's coach used her influence to make sure both my players got absurdly tough matches and everyone went along with it because they let her do what she wants.

I should've raised a bigger stink, but 1) I would've lost and 2) there's no guarantee that my kids would've gotten better matchups.

Good news
#1 team is top seed. Our #3 doubles team got a really good draw against a very weak 3-seed that were seeded too high, but we preferenced 1st doubles teams over 2nd doubles teams. Assuming they can win a 2nd round match against that team, they'll have a cakewalk to the semis where they'd likely meet our top-seeded doubles team.

On the singles end, our best player is the obvious 1-seed. Our 2nd best player despite barely playing singles was boosted ahead of the kid I actually advocated to be a 4-seed because everyone is afraid to play her. I knew there was no way I could fight it, because the coaches were all acting in their own self-interest; rather than fairness.

But she'll cruise to the finals now because at least with a late swap, they moved her out of the quadrant with my #1 singles player and instead forcing her to play the 2-seed who she'll destroy. So a small salve to the situation.

Bad news

My 2nd doubles team get a quarterfinal matchup against the 2-seeds. This was a mistake on my part, I should've fought this harder and I didn't. The rival school's coach's logic was that her 2nd doubles pairing now has a girl who mostly played 1st doubles and so it was fairer for them to be a 4-seed rather than the 5. I should've fought this, because we never got a chance to play them together.

But even had I fought, the other coaches do whatever she tells them and I wouldn't have had enough support without pretty much blowing up the whole process and so...it wasn't worth it even though it's super unfair.

Bad News #2 My 5-seed (3rd singles player) ends up getting stuck on the 7th seeds place because you can't meet your own partner until the semis. She gets an unfair quarterfinal match against the 3-seed, which they mostly setup because everyone is ducking my #2 singles player who is going D1.

The only reason I didn't freak out about this is 1) I expected this to happen and 2) I think my girl (who is a very composed pusher who frustrates everyone she plays and is 18-0 in her HS career) will be a bad matchup for this girl from the other school. They've never played before, but the would-be quarterfinals opponent is only a 4 UTR. She's a very big hitter, but doesn't have much precision and she lacks composure. She thinks she's better than she is, so she's very mistake prone.

Best of all, they've never really scouted my singles player and so...it's going to probably be the toughest match she's played in HS -- just given the stakes -- but I think that provided she can play her game and once she gets a lead, it's going to be wrap for that other girl.

It makes me happy that I scheduled that 6A last week as a pre-state warmup because if she does win, it'll be because she played that girl at 2-singles last week. That match was against a big hitter who she actually was down 2-1 at first, before coming back and figuring it out and winning 8-3.


So in general, the bracket did not shape up well for us despite having the better players and it's possible if things went badly we'd only qualify 4 players (2 singles & 1 doubles team) to state. In most years, getting 4 would be a really good outcome. The last time they won state (in 2016) they only qualified with 4 players.

That said, it would happen if my players literally forget how to play tennis. Parents have been texting me today saying they were at the clubs this weekend hitting, my 2nd doubles team worked with a pro yesterday and others were playing today and looked good.

My expected best case scenario after tomorrow? I think the 3rd singles girl figures out the puzzle of that 3-seed girl and ends up winning. I think the 3rd doubles team will demolish that weak 3-seed because the anchor of that team is a D1 volleyball commit who is AMAZING at the net.

They almost beat the 1-doubles team they played last week from that 6A school, but those players just had huge serves and too much pace for them to keep up with. The team they'll play in the 2nd round will have NONE of this.

As for my 2nd doubles pairing, I have devised a gameplan for them. The other key component in that match is that 2-seed have only played doubles together once this year. They're not a good doubles pairing and so, I think if my girls -- who have played together since March -- are on their game, it's very possible for them to get ahead. As singles players, that other team are both hot-heads who hate playing from behind, get frustrated and rush things.

So I'm banking on frustrating tennis being the key of the day to keep them out of state. It'll be truly the most rewarding moment of my career if we can find a way to solve that puzzle...

Also, I've submitted my resignation already. The kids don't know it yet, but I'm not coming back next season. So this is our swan song.

If I had to guess, I think we'll end up with 7 going to state. 2 doubles teams and 3 singles players. That 2nd doubles team are the wild card....because getting 9 would be absolutely bonkers, but doable.
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Old 05-09-2022, 01:56 AM   #57
JonInMiddleGA
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Originally Posted by Young Drachma View Post
because besides the 12 that showed up today, nobody else had the grit to care enough to play.

This is the part that boggles me, just tbh.

I'll spare you (and everybody) the rant because my bullet points are likely pretty obvious anyway ... but damned if I can get my head around how some people are wired.
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Old 05-10-2022, 12:11 AM   #58
Young Drachma
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Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
This is the part that boggles me, just tbh.

I'll spare you (and everybody) the rant because my bullet points are likely pretty obvious anyway ... but damned if I can get my head around how some people are wired.

I think it's a combo of generational coupled with the way this school works & the kids its attracts. I give them a lot of latitude and it works, but I sort of expected naively that they'd sort of just gear up and "protect the house" when the alarm gets signaled and instead these parents don't make them do that...so the kids feel pretty empowered to be like "I have other stuff going on..." and I just don't think that would've flown in bygone eras.

Still, the sliver lining in that situation is that I got to give my 3rd doubles team a really tough match that wouldn't have happened for them otherwise & my 4th singles girl played the match that made me bring her to districts today...and that turned out to be a really smart choice, so even though it was stupid...

I feel like 1) getting rid of that win streak before next year was good, it was going to be an albatross of their necks for no real good reason and create undue pressure when they didn't need it -- regular season tennis here isn't that important -- 2) with our full lineup we'd have beaten that school 7-1 or 8-0 and it wouldn't have been a flex.
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Old 05-10-2022, 07:00 AM   #59
Breeze
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Good Luck!
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Old 05-10-2022, 09:53 AM   #60
Young Drachma
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Last year at districts, I was pleased when all but one of our players made it out of the first round. There was no state tournament last year, but we would've had 4 players make state (2 singles players, one doubles team) and we had 3 quarter-flnalists in singles.

This year, when the stakes were the highest this team orbited into another level. All but one of our players made the quarterfinals this year. The one girl that lost was on JV until 2.5 weeks ago, we inserted her into our last singles spot on our district roster and she almost upset the 6-seed before losing 5-7, 6-4, 6-7.

For context, everyone who makes the semis get to go to state. We submit 4 singles & 4 doubles entries into the district bracket. So out of our 12 kids in the bracket, 11 were a match away from going to state. I've been telling the team all year that "I want us to play like it's possible for us to take all 12 of us to state." And we almost did it.

Some notes:



- We've already clinched another district title -- our 3rd straight -- dating back to 2019. They've never won it this decisively though. We were a shitty doubles seeding job away from having 3 doubles teams heading to state.

- The quarter-final match between my 3rd singles player and the 4th best player in the league/conference/district was must-see TV. Mostly because this was a mix of contrasting styles. The 3-seed was a big-hitting freshman who is very good, but is she not as good as she thinks she is. The prototypical tennis headcase. My player? Composed all the time. Rarely makes errors. Can hit with pace, will hit crafty shots and can hang with a big hitter by just being consistent and forcing them to be precise and hit winners. My girl won 6-2, 6-3. She only trailed once, down 1-2 in the 1st set. During the changeover she said "I dunno, it doesn't look good." And I said "you just broke her, she's up a game and she's already negative self-talking.

What's gonna happen if you get a lead? Just strap in, frustrate her and see where it goes."
My girl won 5 straight games to win that set & kept the car running through the 2nd set. It was a masterful performance and I'm extremely proud.

This is just a background aside...
Spoiler


- To further illustrate the shitty bracketing job, the quarterfinals featured my 5th seeded 2nd doubles team playing the top seed. She did this mostly by insisting her 2nd doubles team be seeded over ours due to skill level. I shouldn't have let it fly, but...there was a hole in the bracket where my 3rd doubles team (a senior/junior combo) had an easy 2nd round match against a weak 3-seed from a different school.

I didn't want to blow up the bracket because I thought that worst case scenario we'd end up with 2 doubles teams at state which was always my plan and if we got lucky, the 2nd doubles duo (9th/10th grader) would pull off a big upset and we'd have 3.

Ultimately, it played out like I imagined it would. The youngsters did lose, but they fought hard and were composed. The other thing is...I think getting punched in the mouth like this is going to make them want it even more. Both of them have been splitting their time between tennis and something else this season -- one of them is on the track team at the same time -- and so I felt like it's come pretty easy for them all year & in a weird way, this experience will make them so much more resilient given they have two more years together as a doubles duo. They'll make state next year for sure; it's just a matter of seeing how far they can go.

Wednesday is the semis & finals. We have 3/4ths of the singles entries, my 1-2 combo will meet in the finals, just like they did their 9th grade year. I have actually never had to watch them play each other & I'm not that excited about it, but...it'll be better than an opposing player being in that match.

In the 3rd place match, I'm hoping my soft-hitter can work up her same magic against a less talented player than the one she beat in the quarters. The girl she'll face in that match won't be as much of a headcase, but she's also not as big a hitter. The first two times my girl has played people like this she's caught them off guard, I'm wondering this time if the lack of element of surprise will cause the other player to be more ready.

In the doubles deal, we'll have our top-seed because they'll beat our surprise team. Then it'll just be a matter of seeing if our girls can pull another big against our rival's top doubles team.

They did it two weeks ago, but the rival's coach pulled out all the stops including 1) stacking her doubles lineup and conceding singles, essentially and 2) rigging the bracketing to ensure she was guaranteed (essentially) two doubles teams at state.

I did learn a lesson about speaking up better though and I'll be more prepared for something like this in the future, though at this point, I'm pretty sure I'm not coming back next season. So this is the last ride.

Honestly, I don't have any major complaints. I'd prefer to win the doubles title at districts so my team is ensured the top seed, but it's not the end of the world if they're the 2-seed. I'm just trying to get to state and finish the job. We're not the Warriors and there's no hanging a banner for a 13-2 season and a district title if we don't win it all, so we have to finish the job in a week.

Last edited by Young Drachma : 05-10-2022 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 05-22-2022, 05:51 PM   #61
Young Drachma
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We won the state title yesterday. We ended up with one point short of tying the girls state record for points at state. I forgot I didn't update the districts list, we ultimately qualified 7 players to state -- a team record. I was named district coach of the year, too. Which is pretty wild.

Our top doubles team was upset in the quarterfinals by a team that was scrappy and disruptive. Our girls unfortunately played their worst tennis of the year. Still they're be back another year.

We ended up with a state finalist, two semi-finalists, 4 quarterfinalists and our 2nd doubles qualifiers lost in the first round before winning the consolation bracket.

It was fairly anti-climactic heading into the last day, as we'd already sewn up the state title (thankfully) thanks to an upset that happened in the 1st round to our rivals, otherwise...they could have made it interesting.

Next season if I were to do it, would be super interesting. Without the big 3, it'll be up to the players left to figure out how to fill the gaps. I think they can do it, but it'll be a huge difference than what we've had the past few years. Maybe easier in some ways at least to build a team, but I'm not worried about that right now.

Last edited by Young Drachma : 05-22-2022 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 05-26-2022, 07:00 AM   #62
Breeze
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I missed this update...came here wondering why I hadn't heard anything. Congrats! That's awesome. Was a fun ride following along and getting a title at the end was really cool.
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Old 05-26-2022, 10:54 PM   #63
JonInMiddleGA
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I read but failed to post.

Congratulations are an understatement.

A most enjoyable ride, and I thank you for taking us along.
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Old 05-31-2022, 05:19 PM   #64
Young Drachma
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Originally Posted by Breeze View Post
I missed this update...came here wondering why I hadn't heard anything. Congrats! That's awesome. Was a fun ride following along and getting a title at the end was really cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
I read but failed to post.

Congratulations are an understatement.

A most enjoyable ride, and I thank you for taking us along.

Thanks to both of you for being consistent readers, I didn't set this thing up thinking there was any way it'd end like this -- with a state championship -- but it's a pretty cool story arc now that it's over.
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Old 06-01-2022, 06:47 AM   #65
Breeze
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Let us know where the girls sign to play in college if you can.
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Old 06-07-2022, 12:25 PM   #66
Young Drachma
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My top singles player is headed to Swarthmore, she could've played mid-major D1 but opted -- as many tennis players do -- to go to a good academic D3 instead. They are a Top 25 D3 program though, so at least it'll be a competitive team and I imagine she'll be the top player on that team.

My #2 singles player is headed to D1 Santa Clara. By contrast, she's going to be a doubles specialist there as her UTR is higher in doubles than singles and probably why they ended up taking her on. Happy for her though, they're a solid tennis program and a really good get.

These two are the best two singles players in school history though, despite never winning a state title. The girls who previously won state titles for us in singles all went D3 -- the best of them won 4 in a row and she went to MIT -- so these two were really a cut above.

It's just that they didn't get 4 cracks at the state championship like their predecessors did, so hard to evaluate them fairly as a result. Also, it didn't help that a legit 4-star prospect showed up at the same time they did. On the bus back from state, I joked that we'd probably have had an easier time winning the 5A state title this year than the 4A, just because there wasn't a dominant player in that division to torment us the same way.

I have one girl who also signed D1 but she's a volleyball player -- but she committed to UPenn as a junior which is crazy.

That's pretty much it, we'll have at least one more player next year that'll get some good D3 offers but the D1 tennis player train is over for us unless we get someone dropshipped to us. In a way, it'll make the team easier to coach because when you have players that much better than everyone else on your team....

Next year's other challenge will be trying to invest in this next group of kids that'll take over the team. The upcoming seniors were sophomores when they kind of took over the team and honestly, they're the reason things have gone well. They're pretty united on balance, understand each other well and have been good at integrating traditions that I think the future kids will be able to keep up with.

But there's no obvious person to "take over" steering that ship when this group goes, and I need to figure that part out, in addition to 1) repeating at state champs and 2) getting the most out of this group.

We're also going to have a full JV schedule next year, we've never done that before because my JV coach is a club soccer coach. So I'm either getting a new JV coach to manage my ambitions for JV or to get a 3rd coach that can focus entirely on the sub-varsity kids (the latter is my preferred state, the other guy has a lot of value and I'd prefer to keep him.)

Next year's club will be different, but we're still bringing back an incredibly deep team, we just won't be as top heavy as we've been the past two years. One of the 9th graders I'm told (by one of my players) was already good enough to be a Top 4 player on this year's squad, so that's a nice addition.

With the depth players I'm expecting -- including at least one sibling of a former varsity player of mine -- we should again have our pick of folks to play, but every year is different than the previous.

We'll see how it plays out.
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Old 06-11-2022, 01:54 PM   #67
Young Drachma
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Also, I know I said I wouldn't be back next season, but I changed my mind during the state tournament and talking to the AD. It felt a little unfair to my impending seniors to bail and also, I just wanted to see how we'd do with one more year under our belts.

On paper, you'd expect us to be a lot worse because we're losing our top 3 singles players, but it's not quite true.

I'm going to take half of our top double steam and she'll play 1-singles. She had enough talent this year to be a state semi-finalist in singles -- I almost had her play singles before we decided the doubles route, which was smarter in the end -- and we apparently have an 8th grader who is supposed to be as good as my 3rd singles player this year. She's seen her play before and said she's better than her...but I'll have to see it for myself.

Still, as a 9th grader I don't even need her to be that good just good enough to compete consistently.

With the two top singles spots pretty much fleshed out, we'd just have to figure out our doubles pairings. I'd take the last two doubles state qualifiers from this year and pair them together, they'd get along great, both are super competitive and I feel like over a whole season they'd gel pretty well.

Our super duo at 2nd doubles (11th / 10th) will come back a year wiser and more experienced and with the talent to make a run at state this time, hopefully hungrier after getting close to making state this past year.

That means I get to construct two strong doubles teams from the ten kids that I have left from this year's roster not listed above AND not counting any of the depth players who will show up the first week of practice/tryouts.

We've never done tryouts my previous 3 years, usually I would just bring the existing varsity kids with me and then kids who thought they could hang would come practice with varsity and either stick or not. That led to kids who were better than I realized being stuck on JV for too long and previously, JV never played a real schedule because our league doesn't have many programs who have big enough squads for JV schedules.

(In other states I've lived in, JV just plays after varsity...but here, it rarely happens that way. Only once since I've been head coach have we done that.)

This upcoming year, I'm going to give JV their own schedule entirely. It's going to be way more like "Varsity 2" when I coached in Colorado, where those teams would play small school varsity programs and JV teams of big schools. Even though we're small, the reason we've been successful since I took over is giving the developmental players a chance to play matches against good competition.

There are lots of schools in the area for them to play, which is nice. Conversely, I'll also make them play a few of the varsity matches that we usually hate playing against the bottom dwellers in our league. Hilariously, we've been accused for the past few years of bringing our JV to matches when that's not true.

This coming year? We'll for sure be doing that for the road swings of a few of these matches. We'll fill in their schedule with a few JV2 programs of big schools, a few JV programs where I think they can be competitive and maybe even a stray 6A or 5A varsity bottom-feeder, but I'll have to be tactical about that because nobody likes their varsity losing to your JV.

Every year I've coached, we've had 40+ girls to start the year and so I assume that we'll get those numbers again. Only half the kids that come out for JV want to play competitively, the rest are generally content to just play practice games and have fun. I'd hate to lose that, but I think the next evolution of having a full 2nd squad will be good for us.

There's a pathway to winning state again for us, but it's going to be strengthening our doubles pairings so we can get two state seeds in doubles & then having a singles player who can go far too.

Obviously, you never know what players are going to show up at the other schools, but...our depth is our advantage so that even if there's a strong singles player or two, it won't be enough to override.

Lastly, I'll be way less precious about trying to keep a perfect record as I had been the past year; the win streak was kind of fun for us...but losing that 6A match (albeit in the dumbest way) and then being charged with that regular season forfeit (it was strategic and ultimately, the right decision) was nice because now I don't have to go into next season worried about maintaining it.

The Oregon HS format is always dumbotown, because you can lose all your regular season matches but win the district title and state by having a few good players. But I'm going to revert back to my original thinking around treating the regular season as a series of practice matches that get us ready for Districts.

The other thing about having the two teams is that it frees us from what we ran into two seasons ago where I had a bunch of sophomores who were geared up to play and practice, with a bunch of seniors who expected to be on varsity. It allows me to ramp those younger players up in due course and grow their confidence, without throwing away players who have been reliable for us the past few years.

One of the things I don't talk about enough in this dynasty is how much I've grown as a coach in the past few years. You have to learn how to manage your personnel, but also how you approach each year with kids. You tighten stuff up, get a little better at personnel management, but also decide culturally what kind of program you've developing.

I feel like going into Year 5 of my varsity coaching situation -- 4 with this program -- I get to a much better sense of how I'm doing this. The one thing I'm missing is other coaches to lean on that aren't local. I might visit my old camp this summer and see if I can spend a day or two shadowing and picking up new drills. Because I don't coach for a living, you kind of get stale with stuff year to year.

I feel like I was way more prepared this year than I was last year for the job, and I'll surely go into next year a lot more poised to navigate things. Also, I'm probably less inclined to flirt with another 6A job (though the public school by my house would be tempting...I don't have the energy to start over with new kids until at least I graduate this group of seniors..) and that'll make things easier because the past two years I wasn't 100% sure I'd come back.
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Old 06-11-2022, 04:15 PM   #68
JonInMiddleGA
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
Glad you're returning, selfishly since I'm always entertained by the compare/contrast of Oregon vs Georgia.

The insights about your own coaching journey reminded me of something that was oft discussed about the fairly long tenured coach that was at Will's school for a number of years. His primary responsibility for perennial contender(s) (coached boys & girls), honestly, was making sure transportation was handled on match day. And #2 on his list was determining where the team would eat on the return trip for away matches.

The other thing that stood out to me was the enormous difference in numbers, shockingly so given the ... haphazard? random? whatever word? nature of HS tennis there.

I reviewed my mental math with Will just to be sure: yes, you have more girls each season than the combined boys & girls varsity AND JV at his school. Now granted (if I've done the classification / school size research correctly) you're roughly double the size of his school so it kinda makes sense but even at schools twice your size I don't think they're getting past your numbers.

Sidebar: HS numbers are down in Georgia generally, since the top players rarely play HS tennis (similar to baseball, softball in a lot of places, etc). Less than 1/3rd of the top girls tennis recruits in this 4-year cycles are playing HS, or even attending a traditional HS. They're either in full-time academies or part-time with homeschooling (something I didn't realize until diving into it deeper today and discussing with the kid, etc). And zero of them are in a public HS here.

Anyhow, I'm staying on board for the another lap, looking forward to it.
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