Women's tennis gears up for off-season

BY JOSH HICKS | OCTOBER 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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The women’s tennis team has finished up its series of fall tournaments, but there is still much work to be done and practice to be had in preparation for the regular season.

This critical time of development and preparation for the players’ seasons is essentially in their hands. During the off-season, student-athletes must adhere to specific rules regarding how many hours of required practice they may participate in each week.

This means that nearly all of the conditioning/hitting/serving/footwork drills the team will do up until the beginning of the spring season will have to be self-instructed and self-regulated.

Head coach Katie Dougherty said conditioning will still be the team’s main focus over the off-season, but she said each player’s readiness level for the season is going to be as high as they decide to strive for.

“Most of it’s going to fall on them and what they do outside of our time together,” she said. “The coaches are very limited in what they can do, and the responsibility falls on the players. It depends on what they’re willing to sacrifice.”

Assistant coach Denise Dy said that she is excited to see how the team develops week-to-week during the off-season, and that their practice during this stage of the year will largely determine and directly translate to the successes they will be able to achieve come time for the regular season.

Sophomore Aimee Tarun said that the limitation regarding coaching presence in the off-season isn’t a major concern for her.

“We still have workouts, and even though we can’t practice with our coaches, we can still practice with each other,” she said. “We just come out here and do what it is we know we are supposed to do.”

Dougherty said the development of the team is going to be directly correlated to how organized the players are willing to be during these weeks of independent-practice.

The head coach said the players know what they need to do, and they have been doing it for a while. Tennis is a very individual sport, and the players who have made it this far have learned from their time in pre-college leagues that as an athlete will get back what they put in.

“They set up group practices on there own; they play sets on their own; they do hitting drills on their own,” Dougherty said. “We can make-sure the courts are there for them, but that’s about it.” “This team has done a great job displaying that intrinsic, natural motivation - which is so crucial for success.”

Follow @joshhicks90 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s tennis team.

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