Vic Ramsey, Currituck County

09/01/2014 15:30

We've run a no-cut program for as long as I've been coaching. We've had as many as 24, this year I expect 19.

I start with a philosophy that my job is to help every kid learn to play as best she is able. One of my most memorable coaching experience was watching a kid, who never got higher than 12, win an exhibition doubles match as a freshman.

Plus, I keep everybody because I never know what might happen, who will move away, lose interest, get hurt, etc. One year, I had a really talented group of five rising juniors: three transferred to NCSSM, and one chose cross country.

I figure I need them all. If I cut someone, that kid quits playing, and then her friends have one less person to play with In the offseason.

Accommodating large numbers is a challenge. Here are some of my strategies.

1. I use a "centers" approach to many practices. I'll set up stations, drills, or games on each court, divide the team into small groups, and rotate them through centers every 15 minutes or so.  I generally work on one court and address individual needs as players rotate through "my" station.

2. When the Varsity travels, and I know there won't be a lot of exhibition matches, I'll organize an inter-squad match run by my assistant for the kids who don't make the trip.

3. Another practice strategy is to set up challenge matches on four courts, and work with the rest of the squad on the other two.

4. Friday practices are generally optional. On Friday afternoon, I only want to work with kids who want to be there. Often, my top players will take the day off, and they probably need the rest more than the work. This gives me time to help some of my lower tier players.

5. I try to schedule at least two JV matches each year with a small private school in our area. And, whenever we play another school with sufficient numbers, I try to get them to play a JV match in conjunction with the Varsity contest.

6. One year, over the last two weeks of the season, I organized a doubles tournament among my exhibition players. The winning team got to play #3 doubles in our last home match.

7. Everybody gets a uniform. Everybody goes on the last away trip, and we eat pizza afterwards as an end of season party. Everybody's in the team picture. Every senior, no matter what the rank, plays in the last home match on Senior Night.

Hope this helps.


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