As I look back on the last three “year-in-review” posts, I am reminded of just how long I’ve been writing what my students affectionately refer to as “the blog.” This is not a new site, and Thorpe Tennis, now seven years old, is not a new thing either. However, I am inspired daily to bring new and better content, methods, and insights to my work.
I feel this way because I have a passion for teaching the game of tennis and particularly for having an impact on young lives. There are few things in this world I enjoy more than seeing the light go on about getting that service contact point up a little higher or cutting off the angles at net; the moment where a player realizes they can compete against that crazy-good opponent; building mastery day-by-day out of desire. These are the little things that make the big difference and not just on the tennis court. These are experiential building blocks for life and I feel very fortunate to be part of that process of growth.
In 2016, there have been challenges, but as a tennis community, Thorpe Tennis has been extremely successful. Here are just some of the many high-points of the year:
- Spent more than 1,000 hours on-court, coaching 61 players from age 9 to 60.
- Directed a third, and perhaps, the most successful year of my tennis camp for middle schoolers and incoming freshmen.
- Coached Laguna Blanca Boys’ Tennis to a 12-4 record, which saw us ranked as high as #9 in CIF D4.
- Led Cate Girls’ Tennis to a 10-1 regular season record, during which time we were ranked as high as #1 in CIF D2 before finishing #4. We also made a return to the Quarterfinals of CIF D2, after recording a 69-68 victory over a senior-laden Xavier Prep. With regards to ranking and division performance, these are achievements accomplished by no other team in Cate Athletics history.
- Individually, my students at Cate had a big year as well:
- Grace Fuss finished Runner-Up in Tri-Valley League Singles and won a round of CIF Individuals, before finishing the year ranked #525 in the country for her class.
- Jackie Cai & Carol Cai won the Tri-Valley League Doubles Title and their first two matches in CIF Individuals. Jackie now sits at #860 in the country, while Carol is ranked #1098; Both are primed for a significant jump in the next year!
- Summer Christensen & Sarah Polowczak completed a remarkable 26-0 regular season and went on to finish Runner-Up in league (l. to sisters Cai), before also making the third round of CIF Individuals.
- Thorpe Tennis can boast a growing number of players active at the collegiate level, with Phillip Hicks and McKenna Madden making the club teams at Yale and Boston College (respectively). McKenna tried out along with 60 other young women for 6 roster spots and made the cut as a freshman!
- Julia Gan began her season as a starter for Haverford College, but will transfer to NYU, where she had been heavily recruited last year, for the spring season.
- Posted 40 blog entries, including many player photos, that were viewed by more than 1,400 visitors to this site.
- Brought together Thorpe Tennis students for an awesome group lesson during the holidays that spanned six of the seven years I’ve been coaching in Santa Barbara (pictured at top).
Happy New Year to everyone out there reading “the blog” and I look forward to working together towards an even better 2017!