Thursday, August 26, 2010

School is about to start!!!

School is about to start! The fall sports teams are on campus and in their preseason and that has really gotten me excited for getting our guys here and started with our fall season. Freshmen arrive next Tuesday and I’m excited for those guys to get here and meet each other and the returners who will be back at that time. We start practicing the first week of classes and will be hosting our annual fundraiser with the women’s team on September 11th.

Two other quick things. Ben Godlove (who just graduated in May) sent me a book over the summer and I finished reading it last night. I want to recommend it to everyone. Too Good by Scott Draper, a former tennis pro who is trying to make it as a pro golfer now. It’s a great read that really shows how someone has dealt with different types of adversity.

Lastly, here is a short video talking about what we are looking for in a tennis recruit for our program. Thanks to Sam Towne and Ben Turchin for taking part.

“There is a dignity that comes from doing something well or being part of a group that does something well. Pride means having an understanding that you put your signature on everything that you do and ensuring then that what you do is done in the best manner possible.”

- Mike Krzyzewski

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oberlin College Tennis Gear

We have Oberlin College tennis gear available now. The sale ends September 5th and all orders will be shipped out when the sale closes. The men's tennis program gets a part of every sale made through this website. I'm excited that we can offer this and hope to do it again in the future.

Go to and click on the big arrow. When it asks you for a code enter ocmt10 and that will take you to our gear.

"It's not where you start but where you finish."
- April Heinrichs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fun & Competition

I recently played a match in my USTA men’s league that brought the two words in the post title to mind. My partner last Thursday is a local high school coach who I’ve teamed with only once before and isn’t really known as a doubles player. Our opponents were two teaching pros from a local club. They were probably the best team I have played against this season but that is not an important part of the story.

My partner and I won the first set (single break) but got down a break quickly in the 2nd (my serve). Trailing the entire set, when we were down 4-1 my partner looks at me and says, “Doesn’t matter, they’re not having as much fun as we are.” And how true that was. Our opponents were very nice guys and great sports (and I’m looking forward to playing them again), but they didn’t look happy to be on the court while we were laughing and joking with each other (and occasionally the crowd). This by no means meant we were not taking the match seriously or didn’t care if we won or lost (there was a playoff berth riding on the match). We just had fun and enjoyed competing. It wasn’t that we were playing perfect or even pretty tennis at times, it was just that we were having fun doing something we loved.

I just wanted to share this experience because you do play better (or work better) when you’re doing something that is fun or that you’ve convinced yourself is fun (everybody remembers making games out of chores as kids). It’s just that we too often get wrapped up in being overly serious and lose sight of the fact that we are enjoying what we do.

By the way we won the match 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (10-8) to clinch first place in our division.

"Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play. It’s as simple as that. God, I love the opportunity."

- Mike Singletary

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Busy Start to Summer

It’s been a busy summer so far. We ran a 4-day Nike tennis camp on campus and had a lot of fun with it. Joe Leffler worked it with us and did a great job. Immediately following camp I flew to Connecticut for a recruiting showcase. I got to see some really good players there before I headed to Fort Myers, FL to recruit at the Florida Open. There were great players there as well and it is excellent to see how players adjust to different conditions (the Florida Open is a clay court tournament).

Now I am back in Oberlin getting work done in the office and preparing for the fall season. I’ll be doing a little more travel before school starts. Visits to the Midwest Open and Nats at the Zoo are definitely planned and hopefully I’ll get out to a couple more as well.

"Get out there and do your best and don't think!"

-Judy Rankin

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Has Started

There have been some events since my last posting. We hosted the 2010 NCAA Division III Men’s Tennis Championships and it was a great event. The team championship went well and the individual championship had some great matches. You can see the brackets and a lot of great pictures from the Hunsinger Courts at the NCAA Championship site.

Constantine (Oberlin’s women’s coach) and I went to Louisville this past weekend to compete in the Louisville Boat Club Men’s Doubles Invitational. It was great to compete in a tournament again and after winning our first match, Constantine and I lost a long two setter to the #1 seed. We have some things to improve on, but I am going to get him to play a couple more tournaments this year so we can go take the championship in Louisville next year.

In other tournament news, CONGRATS to alums John ’61 and Carl ’94 Erikson for winning their 6th gold ball. They won the USTA National Super Senior Father/Son Championships avenging their 3 set loss in last year’s final. One of their opponents was a former Australian Open doubles champion (one of 22 doubles titles Scott Davis had won as a professional).

I am hitting the road next week after we run our tennis camp. I’ll be going to the Donovan Tennis Showcase at Yale on the 24th and 25th and then I am headed to the Florida Open in Fort Myers starting on the 26th.

There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the "present.”

- Oogway, from Kung Fu Panda

Friday, May 7, 2010

7th Place Finish at Conference

This past weekend we competed in our conference tournament to end the season. We were the #4 seed from our half of the conference and so had to play the #1 from the other half in the first round. That happened to be Denison. We competed very well in doubles with Ben Godlove and Ben Turchin losing an 8-6 decision at #1 doubles and Joe Leffler and Sam Towne dropping their match at #3 by the same score. We ended up dropping the match 0-5.

We came back Sunday morning to play in the backdraw against Wittenberg. We didn’t play them in the regular season so I was looking forward to having a shot at them. Leffler and Towne got us off to a great start demolishing their opponents at #3 while Peder Davis and Eliot Heaton lost a close one at #2. Turchin and Godlove turned their level up a notch in the middle of their set to closeout the doubles with us having a 2-1 lead. Turch finished off his opponent first to give us a 3-1 team lead. They caught us with wins at #3 and #4 before Ben Godlove finished his opponent off with an amazing down the line backhand on match point to put us in the lead 4-3. Witt took the #6 spot and #5 split and came down to a single set for the match. We took the lead but the Wittenberg player played a gutsy match coming back to give us a heart breaking defeat with a 6-4 win in the 3rd to beat us 5-4.

The growth of our team became apparent at this point in that instead of allowing this defeat to tear us down, the guys became more determined that we would not lose the final match of our season. It ended up that we were to play Wooster and that really excited our guys since we had lost to them 3-6 in the regular season without two of our starters. We started play outside and quickly established our dominance in doubles. Godlove and Turchin were the first to come off the court with a win soon followed by Leffler and Towne. Rain began to fall and with Davis and Heaton leading 7-4 we had to move the match indoors. We quickly finished off the next game with Eliot serving indoors to go up 3-0. Unfortunately Eliot had to retire after the first set of his match at #3, but we were well in control of Sam’s match at #4 and Ben Godlove’s at #1. Sam closed his out first with a definitive 6-0 score in the 2nd set and fittingly Ben Godlove got to clinch the match with his win in his final collegiate match. This earned us a 7th place finish in the conference.

I also want to congratulate alums John '61 and Carl '94 Erikson for winning another USTA National Championship in April. They have now won 5 gold balls!!!

“You have to want to win and expect that you are going to win. Top players have that edge. Even if they’re down a few games, they know they’re going to toughen up and come up with what it takes to win.”

- Martina Navratilova

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tournament Time!

Conference tournament time!! Our men’s team is excitedly working toward the conference tournament this weekend. We are finally healthy again and anticipate playing our full lineup. The guys are excited about the opportunities that are there for us. We will play Denison (the #1 seed from the NCAC west) in the first round on Saturday afternoon. Two matches will play on Sunday with opponents and times to be determined.

We’re going to miss our two seniors and hope to send them off with a bang. Ben Godlove and Sergio Sanchez have both contributed over the last 3 years and are going to be hard to replace, each in his own way.

“What is, is. Live with it. Learn from it.”

- Brad Gilbert

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break


We depart for Orlando on Friday evening. We are breaking the drive up into two days so the guys will have a lot of bonding time.

We are going to Orlando instead of Hilton Head this year because we have the opportunity to play more matches. We are going to play 5 matches while in Florida. Our first opponent is Cornell College from Iowa. We play them on Sunday afternoon. We play 3 team from Minnesota on this trip. Saint Mary’s, Hamline, and St. Thomas are all members of the same conference. We played St. Thomas last year and are looking forward to a rematch. Our other match is against Division 1 Stetson University. This should be a good experience for our guys as we are playing at Stetson under the lights.

This series of matches will be great for us as we get our injured players back into the lineup and prepare for conference matches.

"One thing cycling taught me was that if you can achieve something without a struggle it's not going to be satisfying."

-- Greg Lemond

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Paddy's Day

We have had an eventful time since my last post. The team had a great time with family and faculty friends during our parents' weekend, but had rough results in the two matches that day. We are dealing with some injuries right now and bounced back from those losses with an excellent 9-0 win. The guys have stepped up to the challenge of "playing up" while others are injured and we are getting better every day.

In the process of getting better, I have the team ask themselves 2 questions every day. What have I done to get better today? What have I done to help a teammate get better today? These two questions drive our preparation.

We are getting ready for our final match before spring break and it is going well. The guys are breaking through barriers that at one point were out of reach and the injured are beginning to practice some again. Midterms are next week so we have no matches and will take at least one day off during the week and do some light practices because the trip to Orlando is full of matches. I'll preview our spring break matches next week.

"All progress requires change. But not all change is progress."
- John Wooden

Friday, March 5, 2010

Parents' Weekend Is Here!!

Tomorrow our team has the opportunity to play in front of the largest group of parents we usually get at any single match. We have a number of parents who are coming in this weekend to supplement the normal attendance of the Lefflers (thank you for coming to all our home and some road matches too)! We begin with Hope at 8:30 and then play Grove City with a scheduled start time of 3:30. Between the matches the team is going to have a lunch with the parents and a number of faculty that have accepted invitations to join us.

"It's like an orchestra with many different instruments working to make one grand piece of music. Each player plays his own way, but only if it conforms to the larger objective."
-Lou Lamoriello

Friday, February 26, 2010


We had a good win versus Heidelberg last night. Doubles set the tone with 8-1, 8-5, and 8-0 victories. Now we have to prepare for Ohio Wesleyan tomorrow (Saturday). The guys know we need to come out guns blazing in that one and I think we are ready.

Dealing with adversity and also dealing with success are two huge things you get out of competing in athletics. Can you bring yourself into focus when everyone in the crowd is rooting for you to fail? Can you, maybe accept is the wrong word, but deal with, and take as a positive challenge a coach’s decision not to start or play you? How do you continue to be relaxed when you know the score is tied and you are leading in the deciding match?

We work on these things as a team and by no means are they easy. Our group of young men have grown and matured greatly over the last two years. They have learned to accept challenges as positive experiences and not as obstacles. One of the greatest parts of my job is seeing this growth and helping to facilitate it. The young men who come and play tennis here at Oberlin WILL be successful in the fields they choose because they do embrace the challenges put before them and use those to propel them.

“Whether it’s playing or coaching, socially or professionally, there have to be some tough days to make you a better person.”

-Digger Phelps

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Matches Have Started

The first match of the Spring season is in the books and we came out on the short end of a 7-2 decision. Senior captain Ben Godlove played well, getting wins in both singles and doubles. He and first-year Ben Turchin won a tough 9-7 victory after being down 5-7. It was an excellent gut-check for a team playing their first match together. The 7-2 team score is a little deceiving as well. We lost two 3-set singles matches and two of the other singles were close as well. Here is a link to the scores from the match.

We are better coming out of this match than we were going in to it. Practice last night had an even higher intensity than before because the guys see what we could accomplish and they want it.

We travel to Crawfordsville, IN this weekend to play Wabash and Elmhurst. This will be another good test for us as it is the first overnight trip of the year as well as the first double-header. I’m excited about the trip and think the guys are ready.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spring (season) is here!!

It is spring again (although you can’t tell by looking outside)!! We are a week into practice and the guys are looking like they are ready for competition. We play Malone on Saturday, February 13th at 1:30 and are looking for some good results. The beginning of our season is full with two more matches on the 20th and starting with our Heidelberg match on February 25th we have four matches in 10 days concluding with our parents’ weekend on March 6th.

The team is primed and excited about a season where we expect to compete in every match.

“There’s a hell of a difference between doing it almost right and doing it right. The outcome of games, I think, are far more a result of mistakes than great plays.”

-Bobby Knight

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New Indoor Courts Are Done

The resurfacing of the indoor tennis surface is done and the results are awesome. The new color scheme looks great and the play is clean. The surface is slowed down a little from the old one, but is really true.

I want to encourage our alums to fill out the alumni information form so I can continue to compile a list of our program members. On March 6th when we

host Hope and Grove City I would like to invite our alums to come and take part in this year’s parents weekend. We are scheduled for 8:30 am and 3:30 pm matches and will be having a lunch for our current team, their parents, and our alums between the matches. Please let me know if you plan on attending.

“The mark of a good team is how it reacts when things aren’t going in its favor.”

- Chris Osgood