Playing Tennis

Tennis is a very athletic sport, and to be successful you need to know everything from the equipment you need, to match-day mindsets. 


Senior Jordyn Gross serving the ball during practice.

Khalia Woods

Tennis coach Jamie Voelker, Freshman Lucy Cooper and Senior Victoria Mesz explain the ins and outs of tennis. 

Coach Voelker, who has coached tennis for 14 years, describes the equipment needed to play tennis, along with details of the court set-up. 

“So you need a racket, you need hopefully a regulation tennis ball, and you need a net. I know the net at the center strap is 36 inches which is 3 feet, and then at the post, it’s 42 inches, so actually, a tennis net actually dips down by design,” Voelker said. 

Cooper is ranked number one on the Junior Varsity team. She explains the physical abilities every prospective athlete needs to be successful.

“Good coordination, and just footwork too, because you’re going to need to run around the court a lot, and yeah. Just like, practicing too, because of course if you don’t practice anything, you’re not going to get better,” Cooper said. 

Getting better during practice is essential for playing well during matches. Voelker elaborates on the techniques she has her team work on during practice. 

“Well serves are really important, you know forehands and backhands are kind of like the bread and butter from the baseline,” Voelker said. 

Mesz works on her strokes and footwork so she can prepare for matches. 

Just stick with it, and never give up, because anyone can be capable of so much if you try hard enough.

— Lucy Cooper

“I work on perfecting my strokes, and moving my feet, and different ways that I angle my body and legs to hit the ball,” Mesz said. 

Tennis matches have a combination of doubles and singles. 

“So in Missouri, dual matches, you’ve got 9 total matches, so the score will add up to 9. You start with 3 doubles. When your doubles are done, you’re either up 3-0, 2-1, or down 1-2, or down 0-3. And then you have 6 single matches, and the kids play, and then again you got to score a 5-4 score, which would be super close. You had 5 wins, they had 4 wins,” Voelker said. 

Even though tennis matches are complicated at first, they can be explained very easily.

“There’s the big game, and then there are little games inside of it, and we usually play to 8, so the first player to win 8 games, wins,” Mesz said.

For each individual player, the opponent they play against will have the same rank as them. 

“I’m on JV one, so I have to play against the other JV one player of the other team,” Cooper said. 

Ranks are based on tryouts at the beginning of the season.

“At the beginning of the year we had tryouts, and tryouts determined where we were on the ladder. So the ladder is like from novice, which is like C team, and JV, which is like, in the middle, and then varsity is the best team,” Cooper said.

Regardless of rank, each athlete has to prepare in some way, shape or form for their matches. Mesz shares how she prepares before, during and after her matches. 

“I’d say before, I usually hype myself up, be confident about it, and then during the match, if it’s an intense match like it’s really difficult mentally to stay in it, to like keep up that confidence and energy. Then at the end of the match, I’m really proud of myself, like yeah! I did that! Even if I lose,” Mesz said.

Mesz had advice for aspiring tennis players. 

“Don’t just play to win, play to have fun. That’s what tennis is about,” Mesz said.