Both Roosevelt University’s tennis programs have made a steady improvement this year, as each team combined for a combined 1-29 record in the 2013-14 season.
The men’s tennis team (9-7) and women’s team (3-9) have just four games left in the season, and the coaches and players talked about the preparation that led to a big improvement in team’s records in this year’s campaign.
Lucian Tabic, the men and women’s tennis head coach, discussed how he was able to prepare both teams for the season.
“To prepare for the 2014-15 season, a lot of offseason work involved scheduling, progressions for team practices and volume of non-competition match play,” Tabic said. “We’re scheduled to play the most matches since the program restarted, so a lot of planning was necessary to avoid burnout and possible injuries.”
Two important components that have contributed to his team’s success are the players and chemistry, Tabic says. It was through those key components, which became the key reasons why that each team found success in the 2014-15 season.
“The biggest contributors to our team’s successes, both for the men and women, have been the players themselves,” Tabic said. “Without a doubt, they are the ones responsible for this year. Our players stepped up with every match and every practice, while always staying positive and enjoying the ups and downs of a calendar year playing season.”
For any team, the chemistry of the team and the relationship between the players and its coach is important, Tabic says.
“I believe the relationship that forms between coaches and players throughout their time together on an off the court is initially the single most important predictor of success in a program,” Tabic said.
Tabic said that if a coach and player fails to establish a connection, which is based on trust and understanding, not much progress can be made.
One of the players who’s made a connection with their coach is freshman Josh Moller.
“I have improved my tennis game so much this season,” Moller said. “We have played tons of matches, and that has helped everyone on the team advance their tennis game. I have also gotten to know many of my teammates better and really connected with them.”
While players on each team play for each other and their coaches, for freshman Emily Minner the chance to play for Roosevelt was important.
“It’s awesome to be able to go to a school that has a small athletic pride among the students but to be able to represent the school in an athletic way is a really good feeling,” Minner said.
For other players, the chance to play on a team with support from each other was a revelation and surprise for freshman and Polish-born Kacper Lemiesz.
“More than 10 years of experience, [and] I‘ve played only a few times for a team, never for the school,” Lemiesz said. “It’s nice to have support and team to travel with. In Europe, I always traveled with [a] maximum [of] one coach and maybe a partner…Feeling that somebody is covering your back and wishing you well all the time [is] very supportive.”
Heading into the homestretch, the motivation for continued success is to remember past victories on the tennis court, Tabic says.
“Our teams can continue on this path by acknowledging and reviewing everything that has been accomplished to date,” Tabic said. “From a coaching perspective, recruiting is the most important factor that will dictate a team’s potential. It is one of the more difficult aspects of coaching.”