So You Want to Play Tennis?

Coach Stimac discusses the benefits of being on the Tennis Team


The girls Tennis Team cheering before the match

Tennis takes a tremendously high level of physical fitness, form and technique. Good tennis athletes must have coordinated feet and hands, psychological stability, intelligence and strategic thinking, and behave ethically. There is no coaching during a match; each player must be able to make decisions quickly and independently. It involves more than the body–it involves the whole being of the athlete.

Joshua Stimac, a teacher and coach at Golden Valley High School, has been coaching tennis for thirty-two years. He started coaching tennis when he was fifteen years old. “My favorite thing about coaching tennis is the kids that I get to work with on the tennis team…they are some of the best kids on campus, great students, and wonderful people. I enjoy teaching them something that honestly, they will be able to play for the rest of their lives. Tennis is a sport. It’s a life sport. So many other sports, you stop playing at a certain point because it requires a big team and equipment, or it’s hard on the body. Tennis is a sport that should be played until you’re eighty or ninety.” Stimac says.

If you are interested in joining the Golden Valley Tennis Team, “Get yourself a decent racket and a pair of tennis shoes and try to learn the right form and keep doing it until it starts to work,” said Stimac. Getting the proper technique in tennis is crucial for the development of a player. “There are too many people who just pick up a racket and use bad form and then they pick up bad habits and then they stop progressing at a certain point, but if you have the right form and it starts to work, then you can get good at it.” Joining the tennis team will not only give you a life sport to play, but will train you to become an excellent and skilled tennis player.

One question many new players ask is, “How hard is it to become a good tennis player? Stimac describes the answer proficiently; “People always ask me ‘Are you good?’ and the answer is ‘Compared to who?’ As a kid, I would play tennis fifteen to twenty hours a day a week on the tennis court. To get good or proficient at tennis it’s gonna take about a year, maybe two years to get to your point where you’re proficient enough to compete effectively within the foothill league.” Getting into the foothill league is extremely difficult and takes a lot of effort and training over the years. To get good like a division one athlete you probably have to start playing tennis when you’re eight years old and you have to take private lessons.”

One of the best parts of playing tennis is competing in matches. The matches can be in all types of weather which can make the oncoming matches thrilling and exciting. “We usually play two tennis matches a week, starting at 3:00 pm. During the girl’s season it’s extremely hot, and during the boy’s season they can be extremely cold and windy,” says Stimac. “They can last anywhere from two and a half hours to three and a half hours. We play three singles and three double sets at a time against other schools, and we play in a round-robin format and that can take very long for some sets. If we have really quick sets where we are blowing somebody out there destroying us it’s like pulling off a band-aid.”

“Tennis is the greatest sport in the world, and if somebody’s looking for a sport that they want to be able to play and pick up and play for their entire life it’s the right place too because it provides physical fitness,” says Stimac. If you’re looking for a sport to play for the rest of your life, tennis is the perfect fit. Tennis can make everlasting friendships, interest, and a new talent to grow in. Additionally, it’s a great fit for new players who want to play a sport.