Head Coach Jamie Glatz describes the Falconer Varsity girls’ tennis season as a “rollercoaster.” The team’s season was up and down over the last few months, with the girls securing victories on some days and suffering losses on others. In the end they finished evenly, rounding out the season with a record of 4-4 in the league and 6-5 overall. Last week, the team even saw several of its athletes vying for Sectional positions at the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association girls tennis champsionships.
While the team’s record may have been so-so, Coach Glatz says his team this year is exceptional in a way that surpasses numbers and stats. What makes the team special is its chemistry: girls of all different ages, personalities and athletic skill that have formed an undeniable bond through the sport of tennis. Read on to see what Coach Glatz had to say about his team, his coaching style, and the most memorable moment of the entire season.
Cortney: What’s your team look like this year?
Coach Glatz: This is kind of a unique year. I have six seniors and six underclassmen. These girls really just love each other to death, so senior night was really special for us. The underclassmen all gave a speech about the upperclassmen and I just – I couldn’t be prouder of these girls.
Cortney: What’s your strategy for deciding how to pair up your doubles teams?
Coach Glatz: Pairing players up as a doubles team is tricky. Sometimes the pairing will naturally present itself: maybe they’re friends, they both started playing tennis at the same time, that kind of thing. Hannah Binkley and Kaitlyn Erskine, who are my senior doubles team, have played doubles for the last four years together. Now I can’t think of them paired with anybody else. But there’s no real strategy, apart from finding two girls who complement each other and can communicate well with one another.
Cortney: What sort of things do you try to focus on in group practices?
Coach Glatz: I try to focus on every different type of shot that they might encounter. It’s a unique mix, because we do get girls who, for them, this is the first time they’ve ever picked up a tennis racket. So I have to cover everything from how to judge where the ball’s going, getting the ball over the net, which lines are which, what you’re allowed to do and not do. So practices really do run the whole gamot.
Cortney: The mental game of tennis is so different in practices than it is during a match. How do you help your girls stay composed during competition?
Coach Glatz: I’ll use this year as an example. So, my first and second singles this year are twins [Macy and Nicole Youngberg]. When they play against each other in practice, they’re out for blood. And I tell both of them, “Your job is to go out there and beat her into the ground. But when all’s said and done, you still have to walk off of this court and be sisters.” I try to help them find the balance between competition and real life.
Cortney: What’s one of your most memorable moments from this season?
Coach Glatz: It was definitely senior night. You know, some of these senior girls have been with me since they were in seventh grade…. So senior night was fantastic because I felt like it was years and weeks of preparation coming to a head. The team played the best they’ve played all season. The girls were very aggressive, controlled,
confident, and secure in what they were doing. Afterwards, at the celebration, I literally felt like I was walking on cloud nine. That night it all came together.
To read more of Cortney Linnecke’s creative and informative contributions to the Jamestown Gazette, please go to www.jamestowngazette.com.