Thoughts on the 2018 Kentucky Duals

The Kentucky Duals is an annual event that brings together 8 of the top high school tennis teams in Kentucky.  The goal is for each school to play 3 other schools in a 6 singles 3 doubles match format.  Rain cut this years edition down to two dual matches per school.  The event is held at 3 sites so my thoughts will only reflect what I saw at one of the sites.  I saw Saint Xavier High School defeat Owensboro Catholic High School 9-0 and Covington Catholic High School 7-2.

  • The VAST majority of players today hit extremely heavy topspin on their forehands.
    • I saw two of the top players in the state play singles.  That was awesome in and of itself, but I looked at the tennis balls when the match was done.  They looked like they needed a felt replacement after the match.  The topspin being generated is no joke.
  • Tennis in a team format builds a great deal more camaraderie than junior tennis events do
  • Lobbing is a precious commodity as a well-executed lob elicits errors and puts a seed of doubt into an opponent in singles or doubles.  If a player doesn’t close as well after getting burned by a lob, passing shots become easier.
  • Parents make a lot of sacrifices driving their children to these type of events, making sure everyone has water and food between matches, and of course helping their children acquire the skills needed to become a good tennis player.
  • The introductions at high school tennis matches feature a great deal of sportsmanship.
  • I had a great time at the event.  I got to see a coach I first coached against in 2003.  My father and later my wife and 3 children came out to watch parts of the matches.  When I was in high school I got too nervous to really share much of my junior and high school events with my family.  Being a teen is not easy and throwing in competition just adds to some of the angst, but looking back I likely should have made tennis more of a family affair.  Yesterday certainly was, and my family got to meet and interact with the team I help.  I believe that sort of interaction is worth a lot for all parties involved.
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