Friday Harbor girls tennis to have ‘ace’ season | Spring sports preview

Thirteen beginners and nine returning girls tennis players will be practicing up to five times per week for a chance to make “the traveling team.”

“We will play seven or eight matches this season. The problem is there are no teams in our league – 2B. We are at the mercy of any team that wants to play us,” Coach Kevin Cullen said. “We have two home matches and most of the time we spend playing on the road is against larger schools in the 1A, and 2A divisions. The upside is we automatically win our division because we are the only team in 2B.”

So only the top players will make the “traveling team this spring.

In addition to preparing the team for the second season, coach Cullen has a full year-round schedule. He also coaches girls soccer and basketball, and is a math teacher at the high school.

“Coaching the sports actually really helps with the classroom stuff because I really get to know the kids well through the sports, and that helps us relate to each other,” Cullen explained.

The challenge of training student athletes of varying levels is overcome by having Monday, Wednesday and Friday practice for the whole squad. Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for the smaller group of players, likely to be selected for the traveling team.

The traveling team is comprised of the top two singles players and the two doubles teams – six players total.

“For the newer players we spend some time on the basics like understanding the rules, scoring, what the lines on the court designate and the terminology,” Cullen said. “The serve is the hardest thing to teach. It’s all muscle memory, and takes a lot of practice. We spend time on that and all the basic strokes.”

Anyone who has watched or played a competitive tennis match knows that being in top physical shape can be a big advantage, and coach Cullen has the girls working on cardiovascular conditioning almost as much forehand and backhand skills.

Boys & Girls Tennis Schedule

3-17 @ Lynden 3:30

3-24 Lynden 4:00

3-25 @ Granite Falls 1:00

3-29 @ Forest Ridge 3:45

4-15 @ Coupeville 2:00

4-22 Granite Falls 11:15

4-28 @ Lake Stevens 3:00

 

Staff Photo/Greg Sellentin Girls tennis team members use the rope ladder in each practice session to develop footwork and movement skills which translate to better play and positioning on the court.