Guest Author - Sandra Eggers
So you want to play high school tennis? Are you ready to work hard? Tennis is a fun sport, and youíll get lots of exercise, but joining a team requires a commitment from you to the coach and your team mates. If youíre ready to take that next step, check out the tips below and give it a try. Youíll find that itís definitely worth the effort you put into it.
High school tennis can be an amazing experience. You will meet lots of kids with similar interests and youíll learn how to be part of a team, all while improving your tennis game. Make no mistake, though, the coach will run you all day and youíll feel like youíve hit a thousand tennis balls, only to do it all over again tomorrow.
Way before the season starts, find out who the coach is and introduce yourself. Find out what the tennis program offers and figure out how you can fit in with the existing team. Many high school tennis programs are actually year-around. The off-season is for conditioning and practicing, so even if your school plays in Spring, the coach may have practices and other activities in Fall.
Check with the school or look at previous years and find out when the season starts. There can be many factors that influence when your school will play, including geography, weather, school calendar, funding, etc. Boys and girls teams may be offered in the fall semester, spring semester, both at the same time, or one in fall and one in spring. This is one of the first things you should find out so that you can prepare accordingly.
If youíve never played sports before, it will be important to start some type of strength and conditioning exercise before trying out for the tennis team. It can be as simple as running or biking or whatever you enjoy, but get out and do something, because the coach is going to run you ragged during practices. For everyone else, just start hitting a ton of balls.
Many young players make the mistake of only playing singles and focusing on hitting the ball as hard as they can. If you want to play on the high school tennis team, and even on to college, youíre going to have to play doubles. Your coach will take you much more seriously if you know something about the game of doubles, because it is different than singles. You can use doubles to practice for singles. Try it and you might like it.
Tennis is a relatively inexpensive sport to play. All you need are some sneakers, balls and a racquet. None of those items have to cost a lot of money. When it comes to the high school tennis team, you should be prepared to pay for expenses related to uniforms and travel. Most schools get a team discount, but it likely will not be free. Keep in mind also that you'll need to find a way to get to practices and matches.
JV vs. Varsity
Everyone wants to be on the varsity team and the reality is that not everyone makes it. There are options for those who donít. Many teams will carry extra players as practice partners, so itís a good way to get more experience. Those who are new to the game may start on the junior varsity team. Be happy for the opportunity no matter which team you play on. Some schools have a no-cut policy, so anyone who comes out for the team will be part of it, one way or another.
Have fun on the courts, and good luck making the team!