Follow the happenings of an animated college tennis coach and his teams in their pursuit of an NCAA National Tennis Championship. It is always the impressive trophy that is displayed for all to admire that gets the attention, but it is the journey to claiming that trophy, the relationships built, the people served and the memories created, that live forever...and what I hope you will find interesting...
I am really getting excited about the possibility of ten players giving a 100% commitment. I am hopeful that we will achieve this in the near future. I must admit that I am looking forward to focusing less on coaching effort and more on coaching tennis. When the effort becomes a given, something that the players emphasize, relish and take pride it, this team is going to take huge strides towards achieving it's goals.
With less than 10% of the weekly hours devoted to tennis, we should be able to generate the appropriate focus and energy to get where we need to be.
I really like this team. We are showing improvement daily and certain players are starting to sharpen into form. If we can get everyone to buy into our unselfish philosophy of playing for each other and for the good of the team, we will be fine.
A few years ago I remember witnessing a young person making a gesture of the letter "W" with her fingers and uttering "whatever" to the person she was speaking with. She was clearly dismissing the other person's position and adding a bit of mockery to go with it.
Over the years, while involved with tennis, I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with some very fine coaches and players. Of course, there are many reasons for participating in intercollegiate and professional athletics but two of the main reasons are for the love of competition and challenging oneself to be the best.
What, however, determines success? There seem to be so many contributing factors. There is talent, work ethic, desire, luck, health, support, money and the list can go on and on. One common theme that stands out for me when I examine the top programs in the country is that of dedication. Dedication is so important to the success of the student athlete and also the coaching staff as they are asked to do many things and to achieve excellence in every one of them. Not an easy task for sure...
On the player's plate they have their academics; attending classes, studying and so forth...socialization, physical fitness training, significant others and of course, tennis and probably even more. That's a lot to manage for any person, not just of college age, considering that we all need to sleep a little here and there as well. Coaches have certain other challenges. Many positions are part-time and low paying and thus many have other jobs so as to make a living. We have families and all the stresses and wonderment that go along with that, and yes, we need sleep too. Often it is so easy to forget how much we are all doing and that we very well need to respect each other's contributions.
It would certainly be very easy in this climate nowadays to commit to doing the bare minimum; simply enough to get by (feel-free to insert your own political joke here). I am pretty sure, and not to sound cocky/conceded as I respect our competition and what they bring to the table, that we could be quite successful doing far less than we currently do. Perhaps our talent alone is enough to bring home a conference championship and rank among the nation's top 50 or so teams. Is that enough? Should we be satisfied with that? If so, it's time to quit or transfer. I know that I am not ready to quit just yet and I am pretty sure that upon some reflection, our players believe in adhering to the "self actualization principle" of being all that they can be. Honestly, if we don't push ourselves, we will never know what we are capable of. Therefore, we do not subscribe to that "bare minimum" theory here in Clipperville.
Now, there can only be one National Champion! So we have to do more. If we want to display the trophy in our case, we simply have to do more. There are many obstacles for our program to negotiate. We are not blessed with outdoor tennis appropriate weather until mid-March and thus have less preparatory time to adapt to the elements. We have to play the nation's best teams very early in our season on their home courts mostly. Let's not even discuss the scholarship limitations as compared to the others at the top. Just as I said, to compete and succeed, we simply have to do more!
Essentially, there is a choice. Will we make the "W" gesture and say "whatever" and take the easy road or will we rather practice "WHATEVER IT TAKES" to achieve our goals?
"One who wants to do something, will find a way; one who doesn't, will find an excuse."
The students have returned to the classrooms and the players have returned to the courts. The spring semester is underway and with that, the journey to wherever we are going to end up this season has kicked off.
This time of the year is quite exciting and this year is certainly no different. We have four new players in the fold this semester and I am eager to determine what each of their contributions will be going forward.
The first week of practice is often telling. It is pretty easy to uncover a few things by what is observed. I already know who worked hard over the break and who did very little. I don't really even need a trained eye to see which players attempted to stay in shape, those that didn't and those that dedicated themselves to improve so as to hit the ground running on day one. I would love to report that the entire roster was indeed dedicated to the cause, but at this point, we look like a November team. We have a long way to go and in very little time as we open the season versus NCAA D1 Monmouth University on Saturday, February 16th, just five weeks from today. However, I really like my team. I know that we have the potential to accomplish special things in 2013 but the players will have to do the work.
Essentially, we have to come together as a team. We need to play for each other and fight for
every point for each other, whether it be in practice or match play. We all like each
other and get along and so forth, but the bottom line is, we must not have players quitting on points, drills or conditioning exercises. We need to have an unselfish team. Unselfish players care more about what the team needs rather than how they feel. Players can say "I’m not selfish" - but, yes, if you skip practices and workouts and you don’t play every point hard and you
don’t work your absolute hardest during drills or conditioning, because, by the
way, that’s exactly what your teammates need you to do, then you are a selfish
player. If we can find a way to be unselfish and play for each other at all times, we will be very successful.
The fall semester grades have been reported and to say the least, I am quite pleased with the results. As I keep noting here at "the lines are still good", we stress performance in the classroom at Concordia as we are not just a program of athletes but rather, student athletes.
The women's team recorded an excellent team GPA of 3.53. We have become accustomed to seeing this tremendous achievement from the women but this is still an incredible overall average and certainly noteworthy. Individually, we had five on the roster achieve a perfect 4.0 for the semester. Join me in congratulating Yuliya Plevako, Camilla Xavier, Ana Mendes, Nicole Stuhr and Estelle Fougeray for their dedication and accomplishment.
Fresh off of their 2011-2012 ITA All-Academic Team status, the men's team not only kept up the pace but improved GPA-wise. The fellas also achieved a team GPA of 3.53. This is the highest semester team GPA for the men since I joined the coaching staff in 1999. Absolutely wonderful! In addition, please join along and congratulate David Tisserand on a perfect4.0 for the term.
Now one might say that both teams registering a 3.53 is quite coincidental. I agree. However, to be completely honest, the women outdid the men just fractionally 3.528 to 3.526...not that this is a competition. It will be interesting to see what happens in the spring semester for sure.
I am so very proud of my players for many reasons but this ranks near the top of the list. Everyone knows that we have great players here but may not be aware of the fact that we also have great people, citizens and students. Our job as coaches is really just to love all of them and to guide them along the path to becoming successful members of society. We take that obligation seriously.
It is a great pleasure to be associated with these teams and to have the opportunity to affect young lives in a hopefully positive way.
It's always an exciting time. With the advent of the spring semester just days away, new additions to both teams will be arriving on campus tomorrow. It's really the culmination of the recruitment process. After much effort, paperwork, email, phone calls and so forth and so on, new players, who hopefully will be contributing to Concordia tennis, both immediately and for years to come, will finally begin their journey in Clipper blue.
This is the first time we have welcomed so many players in January...four in total. Both men's and women's team will welcome two new players tomorrow. Ordinarily, I do not like to add so much for the spring semester as I prefer to recruit student athletes for the fall. It just seems to work better in total. However, this time it worked out like this for some reason. We had the opportunity to bring in a quality of player that was simply too high to pass up.
We have always had a strong international flavor on both teams and these four new additions are no different. Specifically, we will add players from Sweden, Slovakia, Brazil and Israel. This is the first time for Clipper tennis to welcome players from said Slovakia and Israel and I will certainly enjoy learning about their heritage and culture while they are here in NY. While playing, I spent some time in the Holy Land but never made it to Bratislava. I suppose that the only time I think much about Bratislava is while watching the movie Eurotrip when the group of characters were mistakenly taken to the Slovakian city in error while hitchhiking.
I look forward to finally meeting the players tomorrow and also sharing more about them with you shortly. I know that you will be thrilled with their tennis and what they will contribute to our success. Stay tuned for the official announcements forthcoming with player profiles and video footage.
All the best to you folks out there in "the lines are still good" land. It is my pleasure to welcome in 2013 with all of you. I certainly hope that everyone had a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve and that you are now shaking off the celebration "hangover", for lack of a better term.
I had a very nice but small celebration as I once again enjoyed a fantastic meal at one of my favorite restaurants, The Cookery. After dinner, it was off to former Clipper Sergiu Barbu's place for a little cheer. In attendance were also former Clippers Neel Roy and Rohan Malhotra along with wives and friends. It was nice to see Matrix, Sergiu's German Shepherd, dressed up in his tuxedo.
2012 was an interesting year. So many good things and also some not so good. For one, I am happy to have the election year behind us. So much craziness. Happily, 2012 was a healthier year for my family and I hope that 2013 is even better. Also, many individual situations were solved that allowed for much improvement. So thankful. We are also pleased that Coach Neil's Achilles injury has essentially healed and that he is back to a more active state. Also, I certainly can not forget the Kentucky Wildcat National Basketball Championship either! Go Big Blue #BBN.
In addition, so many good things to mention about your Clippers. Unfortunately, neither team was able to capture a National Championship as those rotten Pirates of Armstrong Atlantic swept the big trophies, but certainly tremendous success was achieved. I, as most of you know by now, am most proud of the achievement in the classroom. It is a tremendous accomplishment having both teams qualify as ITA All-Academic Teams and 7 All-Academic Players. However, there was also the usual success on the court having won both CACC Championships and having players ranked highly within the region and nationally.
It is always good to examine the past so as to prepare for an even better future and I believe that the future is bright here in Clipperland. Time will tell us what is in store for 2013 and I hope you will follow along the magic bus ride all the way to Arizona in May. We have some great people associated with this program and I am blessed to have the opportunity to affect so many people's lives here in Bronxville in a similar, but not nearly as monumental, way as my parents were able to do years ago.
We surpassed 14,000 worldwide readers and 250,000 page views from 116 countries this year here at "the lines are still good" and I wish each and every one of you all a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2013. Go out and realize your dreams. Make great choices. Love as much as you can. Hold your head high and smile as life is good. Together, let's make 2013 a year to remember and the best year of our lives.
I got involved with Concordia Tennis as a way to honor my parents who were both professors and coaches at the college back in the 1960's and also to give back to the program that provided so much for me.
I started with a dream of taking a team to the National "Sweet 16". However, once we got there and I saw what it took to win a National Championship, it looked possible and that became my goal. I thought for a long time that I must have one. However, over time, I realized that it is more important to focus on building champions rather than winning championships and that relationships are far more important than achievements. Thus, a stronger purpose became clear. I am here to love, serve, care for and lead my teams...
"I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters, and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others he has placed in my path." - Ben Stein
"You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy." - Arthur Ashe
“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than fifty preaching it.” - Knute Rockne
“If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today.” - Lou Holtz
"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." - Vince Lombardi
"The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break." - John Madden
"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
"Success is a journey, not a destination." - Arthur Ashe
"Champions keep playing until they get it right." - Billie Jean King
"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play." - Mike Singletary
"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden
"The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that's the day you start to the top." - O.J. Simpson
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." - John Wooden
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
"If you want to be good, focus on making yourself better. If you want to be great, focus on making yourself and your team better." - Jon Gordon