No time off for Girls Varsity Tennis

  The Girls Varsity Tennis team had quite a successful season with nine wins out of the sixteen games they played. After winning against teams such as DeLaSalle, St. Paul Central Senior High School, Cretin-Derham Hall, and Minnehaha Academy, coaches and players look back on the season proudly. So what is it that makes these girls so ready to win? What is it that makes the SPA tennis team real competition? Girls Varsity players explained what goes into being truly prepared for a season full of wins, attributing much of their skill to off-season practicing and work.

In comparison to playing during the school season, the off-season can either be a more active or relaxed time. Junior Sonya Das jumps right into more playing time and practice. “In the off-season, I get to train on my own time and fit much more practice and tournaments into my schedule, so naturally that would be very beneficial.” Das said.

For junior tennis player Alida Mitau, the off-season is a temporary break from the structured schedules of the school season, “Directly after the tennis season I usually take a little break from tennis and will play pretty irregularly for maybe about a month or so.” Mitau said. However, after this more relaxed play, Mitau goes right back to rigorous and intense workouts. After the school season ends she plans on committing to a long term program. “This year I’m planning on hitting with Danny Wilson’s college prep group at Baseline tennis center twice a week. This is a group of pretty intensive players and it is supposed to prep players for college tennis,” Mitau said.

The group continues through the winter, spring and summer. In addition to playing in Wilson’s group, Mitau plans to participate in a few USTA [United States Tennis Association] tournaments to “improve [her] match play.”

For both Das and Mitau, playing outside of school has great benefits that they attribute much of their success as tennis players to. “For me, outside of school is where I am able to improve my strokes, consistency, conditioning, and anything else that I want to work on through an extensive amount of time,” Mitau said. Das agreed, saying, “my training during the off-season is definitely the reason for a lot of my improvements. I can work with my coach one on one to fix any technical errors in my strokes or game.” Das plays many USTA tournaments and has a personal trainer for more help to make her an even better all around tennis player. “I also train with a lot of my tennis friends at the Lifetime Fitness in Fridley, where I can get more point-play practice and I train with my personal trainer.” Das said.

Both girls regard the school season as being much more of a team effort than the off-season. “It’s different during the season because practice and matches shift from an individual to a team effort. It’s been such a valuable experience to learn to be part of a team,” Das said. Mitau thinks of playing during the school season as “more fun” than the off-season, saying that she enjoys getting to “work as a team, bond with the other team members and share memorable experiences.”

After this school season, it is clear that the tennis team came well-prepared to represent their school. Much of this success results from off-season organizations and tournaments, while the school season provides a close bond and sense of teamwork these players love.