Cameron University’s women and men’s tennis teams prepared for their seasons with scrimmages against Oklahoma Baptist University on Sept. 11 at CU’s Streich-Henry tennis courts.
The women’s tennis team also had a scheduled scrimmage against the University of Central Oklahoma on Sept. 14, though it was cancelled.
Head tennis coach James Helvey said that the scrimmages against OBU gave the tennis teams a chance to try out new things.
“It was our first time out,” Helvey said. “We had different doubles combinations that we have not played before. We are using it to test out different things.”
The tennis teams are currently preparing for their fall season, in which NCAA restrictions give them a 45- day window to practice and play their tournaments.
“In the fall semester we start practicing usually around the second week of school,” Helvey said. “From the NCAA division II tennis we have a 45-day window in which we have 24 days to play and practice. In the spring we have the entire season, though we give the players a day or two off during the week.”
According to Helvey, the teams are preparing not just for the fall season, but also the spring season.
“Our practices depend on the time of the year,” Helvey said. “We do different things during different times of the year. In the fall, our focus is more on individual tournaments and needs. We are picking up this season where we left off in the spring.”
Helvey said that the teams’ focus will shift during the spring semester, when the teams will be focusing on a different dynamic.
“We have several individual tournaments where it is the player winning and not the team,” Helvey said. “The dynamic is completely different when we get into January, when team championship season begins. We are looking into our team concept and different doubles pairings.”
The tennis teams have also been preparing for their first tournament of the season, the Midwestern State Tournament, taking place on Sept. 21 and 22.
“It will probably have three flights at the Midwestern State Tournament,” Helvey said. “Our team is typically strong, so we can put more players in the top flight.”
According to Helvey, the focus for getting new players ready for the team is based less on practice and performance and more on having them welcomed to the team.
“The challenges are more off the court than on,” Helvey said. “The little things add up, so I pay more attention to that and those needs than I do on the court, because I want them to be more acclimated and oriented; if they feel more comfortable here, then they will feel more comfortable on the court.”
Though Helvey expects his teams to do well on the court, he also expects them to perform well in the classroom throughout the semester.
“We have a lot of pride in our tennis teams,” Helvey said. “ I expect them to be successful not only on the court, but also in the classroom.”
The tennis teams will be playing this semester from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Abilene, Texas and again from Oct. 11 to 14 in Mobile, Alabama.