the lines are still good

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...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from balmy New York.  It certainly will not be a “White Christmas” today here in the Bronxville area as temperatures are forecasted to approach the 60 degree mark.  Perhaps not so festive but no anticipated travel difficulties nor any shoveling to undertake.

In any case, I would like to extend my most sincere Christmas greetings and also wish you God’s endless blessings not only today but throughout the year.  Of course, the best Christmas present ever received is the gift of Jesus Christ which is an everlasting gift.

Enjoy the balance of 2014 and I look forward to being with all of you soon...

Nuff said...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sunday, February 09, 2014

A Start...

Well we are off to a good start folks.  In case you missed it, your Clippers defeated the Fordham University Rams yesterday at the Meyers Tennis Center 9-0 registering the first of hopefully many wins this season.

One of the big challenges this year will be the formation of our doubles teams.  The last few seasons our teams have been pretty consistent.  However, with the graduation of Andreas, David and Andrey, new pairs need to be identified.  Thankfully, Dani and Benas have stepped up and become a formidable squad that are capable of competing with the best teams in the country as demonstrated by their great fall and current #1 doubles ranking in the country.  With the addition of Rafa, Ofir and Pulat we have players to choose from but we need to find some chemistry for the remaining two doubles teams.  Something tells me that we will do some experimenting as the season begins.  With any good luck we will find three and maybe even four solid pairs.  That being said, what we wrote down in the book yesterday seemed to work pretty well as we swept the three doubles points.

Our good fortune continued in the singles and we were able to grab all six points for the match sweep.  It was nice to see Ofir and Rafa successful in their debuts.  We will need both players to make significant contributions for us to continue our recent success.  As you can see by clicking on the (9-0) above, the scores were pretty one-sided this match.  I have to be honest, I am really not sure if this was due to our great play or a less than enthusiastic performance from Coach Neil's Alma mater.  It seemed to me as though the Rams were not inspired from the moment they arrived in the building.  I certainly feel for Coach Brzov, my friend and former USTA summer league partner, as he has his work cut out for him to get his team to reach its potential.  I hope he can use his tennis smarts to get these guys on track.  I believe that he can and will do just that.

With respect to our performance I was certainly happy with the result at #1 doubles as Dani and Beni were solid and defeated a good pair.  I would like to see them get back to playing with the high energy as they did in the fall but sometimes a one-sided match takes some of that away.  I think that our new guys playing in their first collegiate matches showed their talent and promise but also some opening day jitters.  Pulat, Ofir and Rafa have plenty of experience so I expect that they will get comfortable with match play quickly and become tough outs anywhere in the lineup that they are asked to play.  I am really proud of Juuso.  He has made a great leap and is a legitimate #1 singles player in the division.  He works as hard as anyone on and off the court and his results demonstrate this.  Great things are in store for this young man.  Benas is also very hungry to compete and aspires to be the best he can be.  He is one of the guys that could play at the top for us at this point.  In addition, Ricky picked up two wins for us and looks ready to have a good senior campaign.  He is playing with more confidence and we are counting on him a lot this year.

I hope that this team continues to gel and play for each other.  We really need all eight players working hard and pushing each other to be the best.  At this time we have not achieved this.  We are close but not quite there.    I have tried several tactics to accomplish this and I will keep trying until I get it right.  I have been doing a lot of reading and have a new approach that I hope works for us.  Time will tell.

On another front, it was nice to have a solid amount of fan support at the match.  Included in the group was former AASU Pirate Dan Regan and NYIT Coach Chris Frusci.  Great to have them in Bronxville.

Next up will be Merrimack Saturday 2/22 at 2:30pm.  Hope to see you there.  Coach Neil is sneaking up on his 500th win with the men's team and that will be an amazing day in the history of Concordia athletics.
Until we meet again, God Bless You and be well.

Nuff said...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Getting Better...

Two questions that I often think about are:   What are you going to do today that will make us a better team? And, how can you make the others around you better?  These apply to players and coaches alike.

I will not bore you all with the specific answers as they are proprietary Clipper coaching secrets and are really aside from my point to a degree.  My contention is that it is of vital importance that any team with aspirations of great success have these thoughts on their mind each and every day. Thomas Edison wrote that "vision without execution is hallucination."  Most players and coaches have a vision.  I would even suggest that most have a strong desire to accomplish great things.  However, as we all know, talk is cheap and actions speak far louder than words.  Essentially, the best players and teams don’t just think about their desire for greatness, they act on it.  They are willing to do what it takes to be great and their success is easily measured by examining the work and effort put forth.

So, generically speaking, how does one get better and make teammates better?  I would suggest that one person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards of everyone around them.  Further, show up and do the ordinary things better than everyone else by practicing, focusing and improving everyday on the little things. Demonstrate a standard to others that leads the way and do not accept anything less from teammates.  The great thing about this is that people will not only remember you for your great accomplishments on the court but also for your contributions that helped the others around you.  Believe it or not, the latter will last longer in other's memories.

If we have focused practice and preparation each day, each week, and each month we will have remarkable results and the success in matches will take care of itself.  I find myself reminding the players and myself during this early part of the season that the National Championship is not simply won on May 17, 2014 but will be won a little each day by how we practice and prepare throughout the season.  One shot and one practice does not seem like very much but if we play each shot and practice every practice with focus over the course of a season it’s a lot.

In actuality, only about 5% of our tennis season is made up of match day performance whereas roughly 95% is made up of the time spent preparing and practicing.  We need to understand that how we practice and prepare with that 95% will determine our match success. Many students, faculty and other student athletes come to our matches and think we are great because of what they see on that match day. What they don't realize is it’s how we prepared for the match that made us perform well.  If we want to be great again this year we have to commit to match preparation which is hours of time spent on the court, in the gym, and running the miles.  All players must invest 100% of their energy.  Any player investing less prevents the team from achieving it's potential and will actually prevent others from being their best.  

Right now we are a January team.  Now, don't get me wrong, I really like my team but we simply have a long way to go.  For your Clippers to have another successful season we will need to focus on becoming a team.  The players need to understand that they all have a role and all need to be striving everyday to get better and make the others better as well.

I truly believe that we are on the correct path and more players are "on the bus".  These next few weeks will be crucial in determining what we will be going forward and if we can reach our potential.

Nuff said...