Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sparks teaching strokes a slower pace

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 8/20/2014

Ottawa High School girls and boys tennis coach Eric Sparks spent the summer at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

The second-year Cyclone coach will pass on the knowledge he learned to the Ottawa players.

Ottawa High School girls and boys tennis coach Eric Sparks spent the summer at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida.

The second-year Cyclone coach will pass on the knowledge he learned to the Ottawa players.

“I learned a lot there,” Sparks said. “Practices are a lot different this year. We are doing things different.”

One of the ways it is different is the pace of the instruction.

“We are going to take things slow,” Sparks said. “A lot of it has to do with repetition. We used to go over every stroke in one day. I will go through each stroke a day at a time.”

He started the first day of the girls practice with the forehand and used the other days this week to work on additional strokes.

“I want them to get a little better each day,” Sparks said. “They have a lot of room to grow.”

Sparks may have up to 18 players for the girls fall season.

“It is a pretty young group,” Sparks said. “A lot of them played JV last year and are moving up to fill those varsity spots.”

The only returning varsity players are seniors Katie Webber and Courtney Houston. Both played doubles last year.

Sparks said both players are ready to be leaders for the Cyclones.

The other four spots could be interchangeable throughout the season.

“A lot of them are at a similar level,” Sparks said. “That is good for them to hit against each other in practice. We will play matches to see who is in what spot.”

Ottawa opens the season Sept. 4 at Emporia.

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