NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There used to be a public service announcement on television saying “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your kids are?”
Jamie Aid, Lipscomb Lady Bisons tennis coach, knows exactly where her players are at 10 p.m. They are either in bed or getting ready for bed by 10:30 p.m. with a morning wake-up call of 5 a.m. and shoes on the court by 5:30.
“We had some pretty good reactions to it in terms of being awake,” Aid said. “A lot of it is about time management. This was the only time we could all get together and not have any class conflicts.
“There is a lot more to be taken out of practice when we are all together in terms of coming together as a team, hitting different balls and learning each other’s styles. There is always a rhyme or reason for why we do things in practice. We are looking at certain things. They know it is hard.”
The Lady Bisons are coming off their best season in history. Aid, in her second year, has eight players on her roster. As the Lady Bisons try to qualify for the Atlantic Sun Tournament for the second year in a row they will also be striving to better last season’s total of 10 victories, a program record.
“Depth is what we were missing last season,” Aid said without hesitation. “We could do no shuffling around because we only had so many puzzle pieces with six players.
“Another huge advantage is everybody is present in August. That hasn’t happened since I have been here. It is definitely an advantage having all eight here for preseason and the fall season.”
Last fall the Lady Bisons when through grueling daily drills under the direction of Jon Flinn, strength and condition coach. They are getting more of the same this fall. Aid stresses that the players in the three-to-six singles slots really benefit from the harder workouts.
“The endurance level both physically and mentally is huge especially at No. 3 through No. 6,” Aid said. “The ability level in college tennis in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots is 50-50. Either player can win on any given day. We are looking for our No. 3 through No. 6 players to have a winning rate of 70 percent to get where we need to be.
“Where you see matches being clinched is the No.3 through No. 6 spots. That is why our doubles teams are so important. We had a lot of 4-3 matches last season. Either the doubles point clinched it for us or Lorena Djuknic clinched it for us at No. 5 on several occasions.
Aid has welcomed three newcomers – freshmen Hannah Gamage and Kathryn Evans and junior transfer Dani Kinnen.
“We are going to put our six strongest players on the court whether they are seniors or freshmen,” Aid said. “All three of our new players have the potential to impact our lineup.
“It will be interesting to see where they fall and where the rest of the players fall. It will also be interesting to see how they adapt to playing in spots they might not be used to whether it is higher or lower.”
After the first day of practice Aid knows where the improvements need to start.
“Right now they could all be in better physical shape across the board,” Aid said. “When won a lot of our matches last year because, No. 1, we were healthy, and No. 2, we outlasted our opponents.”