Tennis team brings unique energy to regionals today

Tennis team brings unique energy to regionals today

Halle Pratt

Jr. Chloe Duckworth, the third singles player for the West Ottawa Girls Varsity Tennis Team stands at the fence. She had won the previous point by acing her opponent. She takes a deep breath and visualizes her next point. She steps up to the line and watches as her opponent gets ready to serve. Duckworth bounces on her toes and split steps as her opponent’s serve approaches. All of the energy built up inside of her is released with a push off the ground. She rips a forehand down the line, sending her opponent scrambling. For a West Ottawa Varsity Tennis player, this type of energy and intensity is their new normal.

   The West Ottawa Girls Varsity Tennis Team (WOVT) has had a dominating season. On May 14, 2022 the team won the conference title with a twelve point lead over Hudsonville. One of the main contributing factors to the team’s success is the energy they produce before the point has even begun. 

   With regionals today, the team comments on one component that sets apart their team from others: energy before points. 

   Explosive feet, exaggerated split steps, and the discipline each and every player has before every point allows them to outperform opponents. The team has created their new version of normal, centered around energy.  

   “This team has been outstanding at starting and finishing each match with full focus and a ton of energy,” Coach Pete Schwallier said. “The effort the whole team puts into practice has a big impact on energy on match day.  You compete how you practice, our girls not only practice incredibly hard, but they all do it with a good attitude.”

   As a component of energy, the doubles players have learned to communicate well with their partners. Jr. Eleanor Ervine and Sr. Halle Pratt have seen great success with the method of communication they have developed.  “As a doubles player, I meet with my partner Halle between points and we give each other words of encouragement. Sometimes we talk about our plan for winning the next points, and we tap rackets,” Ervine said. Before the point begins, Ervine and Pratt make sure to be bouncing on their toes and in ready position, with a clear plan of how to execute the next point.

   Frosh. Eden Hamilton, one of the fifth doubles players, has noticed the importance of energy and a positive attitude in between points as well. “One of the many things I love about our team is how positive we are towards each other before points,” Hamilton said. 

   Not only does the team show an outstanding level of energy during match play, but before the matches have even started. “We’ve created a routine that helps build up our energy, like the dynamic warmups and stretches, that are then topped off by our team huddle to talk strategy and share one last laugh before going into the courts,” Hamilton said. 

   As for the singles players, they have noticed not only their energy improve, but the energy of their teammates as well. “Our players are very energetic right before points. By moving our feet and staying active before the point starts, we are prepared for any serve that might come to us,” Soph. Megan Blake said. We also make sure to pump each other up so that our energy is high and we have good attitudes.”

   Sr. Grace Gaul, the WOVT fourth singles player, has noticed a significant increase in energy since the season began in March. “Everyone on the team is moving their feet as they wait to return their opponents’ serve. I genuinely think our team brings the best energy compared to other schools and that is why we are so pumped up before every point,” Gaul said.

   Jr. Chloe Duckworth along with the other singles players have simulated a new method to produce energy before every point. “We have the sixteen second count where we take time to process the previous point, do our own personal routine, and form a plan for the next point. We take these breaks so we can bring the same amount of energy into each point,” Duckworth said.

   Players from other teams have noticed the circulating energy from the WOVT team as well. Monika Diaz, a member of the Holland Christian tennis team, commented on the energy the WOVT team encapsulates through their relationships.

   “The team is super supportive of each other. It’s like a sisterhood, never speaking bad about one another when someone isn’t there. I’ve only ever heard positive words when it comes to talking about other teammates. It’s a special bond they have that brings so much energy to their team,” Diaz said. 

   On the Hudsonville courts this Thursday, the WOVT players will be seen with fierce energy from the beginning of the day until the end. The team wants to earn the regional title, and they are willing to perform with as much energy as possible to take home the trophy.