New Granbury High School head tennis coach Tyson Stewart said he told his players he has three expectations for the 2014-2015 season.
He instructed them first of all to have fun, because then they are “going to want to get better.”
He also wants them to compete, and to try their hardest – which, he said, will give them the best chance to succeed.
“If we do those three things, results will come,” said Stewart, who came from Groesbeck, a school that reached the Class 3A Team Tennis regional tournament for the last four years. He was head coach there the last two seasons, and this is his eighth season overall as a coach.
Granbury was scheduled to open its Team Tennis season Thursday, in Mansfield. The Pirates were to play Mansfield Summit in the morning and Mansfield High in the afternoon.
The first match scheduled for this season, Tuesday, was canceled by Alvarado.
The Pirates lost 12 to graduation in May. There are seven seniors this season among 22 at the varsity level – 11 boys and 11 girls.
“Losing that, it’s tough but I know we’ve got a lot of potential, and I’ve seen it so I’m really excited about the future,” said Stewart, a former player for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. “I’m excited to be here. It’s a great program.
“They are real enthusiastic. They want to be here, they want to work. They’re getting along real well, which makes a huge difference. We have a lot of younger kids that have a lot of potential, and they’re getting their feet wet. If you push them the right way, they’re going to hit their stride.”
Getting players to work on their game outside of the structured team time can sometimes be a challenge. But the Pirates have shown that willingness.
“We’ve got a lot kids that play outside of school,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a lot of kids that have played for a few years, and they have dedicated themselves to it.
“They are really enthusiastic. They want to be here, and they want to do the work.”
Former coach Jeff Bramlett left and is now coaching at East Texas Baptist University. Three of his former GHS players – boys regional qualifier Joel Rodgers, plus Bramlett’s daughter Kate and her state doubles partner Elizabeth Norton, will be playing at ETBU.
The assistant coach for GHS tennis remains Denise Scott.
Stewart has had the team practicing from 4-6 p.m., during the hottest part of the day. He believes that will get them ready physically, but they aren’t staying out long enough to wear down.
He reminded them after practice Tuesday that their work in the heat should pay off later in the season.
“I don’t want to lose a match because we’re tired,” Stewart said. “If we can get through these (hottest days), it will be so much easier.”
Stewart said it’s also important to instill discipline and a sense of being a responsible person in his young players.
“I want them to grow into good adults. That’s our first job,” Stewart said. “There are so many life lessons in tennis.”
The first District 8-5A Team Tennis match is set for Aug. 26, at Burleson High School.
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