Boys tennis team focuses on improvement, mental game

The DePaul Prep boys tennis team has continued its growth and success since its start just three years ago. Varsity player Charlie Anderson is proud about the team’s progress and success so far. “We play in a pretty tough conference, so it is great that we have had early success in conference.”

Their early success is especially impressive because of how young the team is. Joe Voss, the coach of the team and one of DePaul Prep’s assistant principals, is proud of the development that the team has had since their first year just three years ago. “When we started the program three years ago we had five boys come for the team…we have now grown to thirty-three players which is incredible. 

Voss is also proud of the way the boys have grown since the team’s formation.

“Just watching improvement from year to year, not only with how we do play in our conference and against other teams but just watching each of our players’ skill development continue to grow. I’m really proud of our boys.” 

The team hopes to grow and do better than ever this year and are aiming for a winning record. Senior varsity player John Ceravolo wants the team to do well overall this year, building on success last year.

“I think we all want to finish with a winning record and do well in sectionals. We achieved this last year but I think if we could do it two years in a row, it’ll show that the team has a bright future ahead with improvement to the team year after year.” 

In order to improve, the team makes sure to make the most out of practice. Anderson stressed how important it is to prepare for matches during practice. Practices help the teams to practice all the skills needed to win a match.

“A typical practice includes our warm up. Then we do various drills to refine our skills during a match since playing a match is very different than just hitting back and forth.” 

Voss expanded on what the team does to prepare for all matches. “We usually get there and start with our dynamic stretches. Typically, if we’re in a match week, we’ll do match play and kids will complete for the different spots like if they’re going to be playing first or second singles or first, second, or third doubles. One of my favorite things we do is kind of a station rotation so they get to focus on each component of the game.”

This helps to prepare them for games that have multiple sets.

Voss explained, “A typical match for conference is two singles and three doubles. So they have to win best out of three sets. If a set gets split, so tied up one to one, then the third set, for timesake, is usually what they call a timebreaker. It’s ten points, win by two. But to win a match overall, the team has to win the majority out of those five flights to kind of get the team win.” 

Ceravolo’s personal goal and team goal are to win as much as possible. “My personal goals are to win every match we play. I mean why show up expecting to lose?” This thinking is probably what helped to lead to their strong beginning of the season. 

Voss is happy for the team’s early victories because “we started off the season going 3-0 with a big win to Marmion Academy. Last year we lost to them. That was a big turning point for us. We had great momentum going into this season, started off undefeated.”

Both Anderson and Ceravolo want to work on their mentality during games. Anderson is focusing on his mindset because, “ultimately staying out of my head is very key in producing success.”

Ceravolo also wants to work on his mindset during games. “I personally would also like to work on my mental game and my mentality during matches which I think will therefore help me to win more matches and stay more consistent” 

Overall, tennis has helped the team develop life skills. Anderson realizes how tennis has helped him grow life skills because, “It has taught me so much patience since results won’t come back fast.”