Article by Alice Mary Herden – Photography by Alice Mary Herden and Betty Kolar
Tennis is a sport that helps with physical strength, conditioning, hand-eye coordination and improves balance and body coordination.
Hernando Christian Academy’s Scott Dedman is currently in his second season as Lion’s tennis coach. Coaching the fundamentals is the main focus this season, as his team is bringing in new and beginner level players.
“My direction is to improve at every game because we are so young,” Scott Dedman said. “Because we are so young, I have to teach more of the fundamentals.”
Nature Coast Technical (NCT) husband and wife tennis coaching team, Tim and Kristine Brown combined, have over twenty years of coaching experience.
Tim has been the boys tennis coach for 15 years and Kristine Brown has coached the girls for six years. They took the time to respond to some questions via email.
What are you doing to prep your team for the season?
Tim: Coaching involves constant assessment, re-evaluation, and planning. I
focus on putting my players into match situations and assimilating their responses and redesigning new ones. Strategy and construction of points dictates the outcome of most matches. Educating players on the necessity of having the mental toughness to see a plan through. We work on this daily, but also work on how to keep it fun and productive.
Kristine: We work on serves, anticipating where the ball is going, doubles
strategies, match strategies, and finishing a point. We also work on
forehands, backhands, cross-court shots, volleys, and overheads through
feeds and drills.
What do you, as a coach, bring to the program?
Tim: Consistency. I feel as a coach to achieve results you must be consistent. Practice has seamless transitions. Players should be gaining skills or knowledge throughout every practice. I push myself as much as I push my players. The program’s results speak for themselves.
Kristine: I bring the experience of playing tennis, since the 5th grade. I played tennis on my high school team at Tarpon Springs High School. I try to instill in my players a sense of always trying their best and ensure they are having fun as well. I want my players to always give 100% effort and be a team player. NCT Girls have been district champions for the 2017, 2018, & 2019 seasons. NCT Girls went to the States during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The girls are hoping to make it a four-peat as District Champions this season. With hard work and dedication, I think the girls can have a successful 2020 season.
On Thursday, Feb. 20th, Springstead boy and girls competed in a match against Central.
Kim Palmer has been coaching girls tennis for five years at Springstead. She starts the 2020 season with a full roster of 18 girls.
“We are working on technical skills and becoming an Eagle team,” Kim said. “I am a coach that believes in match-play.”
Match-play helps players perform under pressure. Sometimes a player can practice well but is not able to match that level of play under pressure. Match play enables the players to get used to the intensity of competition.
Kim who is a member of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) stated,
“We are trying to bring everything that’s good about college and pro tennis to the high school level. There is an athlete in every one of us, and tennis is a sport you can play all your life, and once you get the basics down, there is not much to it.”
Kevin Palmer, currently in his third year coaching boys tennis, has twenty years of experience in the field.
“Our expectations is to try to win the districts and G8 conference,” Kevin Palmer said. “We have been training hard and getting the kids involved in outside tournaments as well. Trying to push their level a little bit higher than what they are used to.”
Kevin Palmer continued, “You got to be there every day and willing to put the time in with the kids at school and after school. We are trying to combine our best girls and boys at practice together so they can work well. Trying to create enthusiasm for the sport to get new and fresh players. As a coach, we are continuing to motivate and put these kids in stressful situations where they need to learn how to respond and play through that.”
Central boys coach Bethann Brooks is in her second year of coaching boys tennis. With four players on her roster that allows her to be directly attentive.
“My main (goal) is to get them where they are competitive, where they are building their confidence,” Brooks said. “To make sure that they are working hard and they’re there for their whole team.”
Tennis season is now in full swing for the 2020 Spring season.