Alta boys tennis getting in shape physically, mentally to take on the season
Mar 28, 2017 09:06AM ● Published by Billy Swartzfager
The boys tennis team at Alta warm up during a spring practice. (Billy Swartzfager/City Journals)
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The 2017 boys tennis season began in late February with tryouts, and that was Krista Anderson’s first experience with the boys team, though she was an assistant coach at Alta for the girls squad in the fall. Anderson also has a few years of experience coaching at Desert Hills High School. This season is her first as head coach and couldn’t be more excited about it.
“I look forward to getting to know my boys better and to be able to experience this great season with them,” Anderson said.
There are about 40 boys on Alta’s team this season, and they spent the spring getting in shape, honing skills and bonding. The team practices every day, working on various aspects of tennis. Practices begin with a warm-up and an intense workout in preparation for the grueling three-set matches that they will eventually be faced with as the year progresses. The boys then dive into drills to practice techniques and shot placement. They spend a bit of time making adjustments to enhance their skillset and to strengthen their weaknesses as well. Then, the boys play set with each other to work on their mental game, which is every bit as important as being in top shape for those long matches. Once the sets are finished the team loves to end practice playing a fun game or participating in a team-building activity.
The team has many goals for the current season. They, like most teams, want to compete for a state title and many of the team’s other goals will be crucial if they are to get there. For instance, Alta wants to be in great physical shape, which will surely help come May, when the state tournament occurs. Alta also wants their effort level to be at 100 percent, which will also be important as the year comes to a head.
The Hawks have the pieces in place to have a great year. Along with Anderson, the team has a number of instructors on board to help them succeed. They have assistant coach Candice Bithell, who is the fitness specialist and is helping the group get into shape. They also have assistant coach Lori Sperry and her daughter Kallie Sperry helping out and hitting with the boys. The boys team seems to have a strong support system that hopes to see them go a long way on the court, and off of it. Another of Alta’s goals is to have each player maintain a 3.5 GPA.
Amidst the many players who suit up each day, several stand out as returning players from last year who are expected to have a great year and lead the team by example. The senior class this season is deep, led by Conner Renfro, Alex Dame, Matt Farley and Jayden Russell. Ryan Woodhead, a junior, is also seen as a leader and major contributor.
Among all of the team’s goals and the challenges they will certainly face, Anderson preaches staying positive and having fun. She knows her team is ready to learn and to play tennis, but wants them to remember the important stuff while on the court.
“Enjoy tennis, have fun,” she said. “And hit hard.”