Sports, Tennis

Women’s tennis starting to hit their stride

Coach Chris Gustas is going into his second year as the head tennis coach at Wartburg. -FILE PHOTO

This year, the Wartburg women’s tennis team hopes to keep improving on last years performances, albeit through small improvements.

Coach Chris Gustas is adamant that by taking small but significant steps, the team can improve their performances substantially.

“I think that we can get a lot better. I think that we’re better than we were last year, I think we’re a lot deeper than we were last year,” said Gustas. “I’m not sure how much better or what that’s going to translate to, but I’m excited to see.”

Gustas said that one of the areas they need to work on is their general athleticism, as last year the ladies appeared to be a bit slow under foot.

“I want our feet to be quicker and I want us to be faster, the more you can get to a ball early the more you can set up and hit it better,” said Gustas. “We’re starting every practice with ladder drills and jump roping. It’s been cool to see their feet just learn the patterns and get better, and I think that last year the coaches and I were confused about footwork.”

Part of this conditioning is focusing on ensuring that the team trains to become accustomed to the physical requirements for tennis. Gustas said that taking slow jogs will not help the players cover the court quickly.

Gustas is confident in his team’s ability to improve, and noted that some of the players came back this year better than they were last year.

“A lot of the girls took lessons this summer and I can already see some improvement with them,” said Gustas.  “They’re the same people, but now they’re just a little better at tennis.”

While Gustas is content with the doubles performances of last year, he wants to ensure that the team is able to win more singles games this year.

“We had almost over-achievement in doubles because our players were smart about it [but] it doesn’t always translate into winning a meet because only half the points come from doubles,” Gustas said. “What we can do is try and add weapons to them so they can start dictating points and be more on offense than on defense,” said Gustas.

The Knights will have their first chance to test their new conditioning on Sep 1, when they play Knox College.

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