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Hornet tennis squad spends preseason getting into match-shape

PUT THE WORK IN: Rossville senior Samantha Haan jumps rope during the Hornets’ offseason workouts. Contributed photo

Staff report

 The Rossville girls’ tennis team starts the season minus three seniors but determined to improve on last year’s performances. Rossville head coach John Condreay introduced the team to his system very early.

“We started doing conditioning in the middle of January,” Condreay said. “They’ve spent five days a week working with the agility ladders, speed hurdles, jumping rope, using the medicine balls and lifting weights.”

In addition to trying to get the girls physically ready for the season, Condreay is a firm believer in also getting his players mentally tough.

“In tennis, it’s you versus the world,” he said. “You can’t substitute players. You have to fight through every situation. Success happens when a player has talent, works hard and has grit. The ‘grit’, or being tough portion, is the hardest part to teach. As parents, we want to protect our children from anything bad and make their lives easier than our childhoods. In doing so, they haven’t developed that ability to fight through stressful situations.”

Once official practices begin on March 12, Condreay plans on developing that toughness through on-court drills and situational lessons.

“I instruct all our players to find their purpose,” he said. “My purpose is to make all my tennis players better people and smarter players. If they become champions in the process, great. All my students understand that becoming a champion is more about the process and daily habits than hoisting the trophy.”