The BYU women’s tennis team is looking to rebound after a less-than-ideal season one year ago. The team is focusing on individual skills and team unity this offseason with goals to improve in 2016-17.
Assistant coach Ace Matias said the players are focusing on their own games.
“The offseason is more individual so they can focus on themselves,” Matias said. “These tournaments really help them get into match play and get a taste of what it’s going to be like when season starts.”
The Cougars have a number of preseason tournaments and invitationals as they prep for the upcoming season.
Head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer used the BYU Invitational as an opportunity to get her freshmen some collegiate experience.
“I wanted all of the freshmen in it because you always have some nerves for your first college match,” Jones-Spencer said. “This tournament is a good way to get out the nerves and build some confidence.”
Senior Savannah Ware said the offseason is a great opportunity to figure out who will be playing doubles with her. With three new freshmen on the team, any doubles pair is possible.
Matias wants the team to win the West Coast Conference, become nationally ranked and finish with a winning record. He also wants the girls to compete at their best and fight until the end.
“I want them to compete hard every match,” Matias said. “I don’t want to see negativity or tanking matches. I just want them to enjoy their college career because it’s so quick.”
Although Matias created goals for the team, the girls decided to create a few goals together. They recently went on team hike to Y Mountain and a team retreat where they established their biggest goal, which is team unity.
“Even though we are constantly competing against each other, we want to be uplifting to our teammates because when it comes to season, we are a team,” senior Demi Perkinson said. “I think bringing the positivity and being uplifting to everyone will really bring the unity.”
Ware echoed Perkinson’s feelings. She said she believes the team should be focused on positivity throughout the long season. As a senior, she wants to be a mentor.
“If someone’s having a bad day, try to find the positivity and help them out,” Ware said. “Try to be a friend and remind them that it is such a great opportunity to be at BYU.”
The coaches have also prepared a program to create a positive environment for the girls. They have set time aside to meet with sport psychologist Craig Manning.
Manning will help the girls with the mental aspect of the game. He was the women’s tennis head coach before Jones-Spencer, so he can relate to the team’s mentality on the court.
According to Jones-Spencer, Manning will teach the team about having a positive mindset. He tells them what to think about and what not to think about while on the court.
Perkinson said with a positive mindset and team unity, the team will be able to achieve its goals this upcoming season.
“We have the potential to win WCC this year and make it to NCAA (tournament),” Ware said. “We have a really solid team.”