How to Prepare for a Successful Tennis Season

by Tina Tharp

There is an excitement that comes every time we approach a new school year and a new season.  There is also some anxiety, as you are hopeful that recruitment went well, and teams will continue to show improvement.

Setting the tone early is important.  Prior to our first practice team meetings are held to review the following topics:

Team Rules & Expectations (team and personal):

  • This is an agreement that team members sign and must live up to throughout the school year.

Core Values:

  • Teams selects 4 core values that will be the guiding principles that, as a team, we need to live by and will be the foundation of our success both on and off the tennis court.

Goal Setting (team and personal):

  • Setting individual goals each semester that focus on academics, personal growth, and team achievement.
  • By giving the players a voice in the process of setting team goals, it helps to ensure accountability.

One-on-One Meetings:

  • Scheduling of the first Player/Coach meetings. These are important to build relationships with your players away from the tennis court.  Check in on how they are doing academically, mentally, and physically; and work with support staff if a player is struggling in any of these areas.
  • A daily quick check-in with your players as they arrive to practice keeps them on track to successfully meet their individual and team goals.  Getting a quick read on your players respective mental and physical state serves as a barometer for daily performance and sets the tone for practice.

For me, setting off court expectations is the hardest part.  The on-court activities are the easiest part of team coaching, especially if you’ve taken care of what’s going on outside of their tennis lives.

Tina Tharp | WCU Men’s & Women’s Head Tennis Coach
West Chester University

PTR International Master Professional

USTA Middle States:  Edwin J. Faulkner College Coach of the Year 2015

USTA Middle States PATD College Coach of the Year 2015

PSAC Women’s Coach of the Year 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2023