BONITA TENNIS: To Master the Game, It’s Best to Start at the Beginning

October 22, 2009
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Meet You at the Net: From left, front, Holly Alvarado, Katie Pinckard, Angela Escobar, Amy Manuel, Janice and Park. Back row, from left, Coach Ashley Broussard, Raisa Cramer, Aebrey Wurst, Nicole brown, Samantha Walls, Isabel St. Ives and Ast. Coach Mark Guzman.

Bonita JV tennis coach Ashley Broussard is a player’s coach by virtue of the fact that she’s not much older than the freshman and sophomore students she’s leading.

The 2008 Bonita graduate now attending Citrus College was handed the reins of the JV “B” team by head Bonita tennis coach Randy Bell and she has thrived. Her team is No. 1, a position she was long accustomed to when she was Bonita’s No. 1 player from her sophomore through senior years at Bonita, which included Bonita’s first league title in seven years in 2007.

After the 2007 season, there’s been a mini-boom in tennis interest on the Bearcat campus. More than 60 players tried out this fall, and Bell decided to expand the rosters by adding a JV B development team rather than stifle growing interest in the program by shutting some girls out.

It was a good decision. Many of the 10 girls on the JV B team – seven freshman and three sophomores — have been developing quickly under Broussard’s tutelage, while she herself learns the finer points of coaching.

“Coaching is actually much harder than I thought it would be,” Broussard said, with a giggle betraying her youth. “It was kind of confusing at first making the transition from player to coach. I had to ask myself, ‘Do I just do the drills I learned from Coach Bell or do I need to do more?’”

She’s found a happy medium, but admits she’s still a bit of a soft touch.

“It took me a while to learn discipline,” she said. “I’m pretty each-going. The girls are only four or five years younger than me.”

What’s important is she having as much fun as she did when she was a player. “I’m really enjoying this,” she said smiling broadly.

So much so that she said she’s aspires to be Bell’s replacement should he ever decide to step down.

“I really want to build this program up, and someday if he decides he doesn’t want to coach anymore I would like to take his position.”

For now, Broussard has her hands full teaching girls, who though quite athletic, have not played that much tennis. While many of her players participated in a two-month summer program, many are still learning fundamentals, such as court position, racket grips and backhands. Broussard, however, sees her once decided advantage over her players slowing slipping away.

“They have progressed really well,” Broussard noted. “Some of the girls didn’t know how to do a backhand or hold the racket properly; now they’re hitting some balls I can’t even return. I’m really encouraged, and expect many of these girls, if not all, to progress to the varsity.”

Asked what it will take for them to reach the varsity, she said, “They always have to carry a positive attitude; if you have anything negative going on, you have to leave it at the gate.”

Broussard didn’t want to single out any one player when pressed to name a No. 1. “Everyone is pretty much equal now. Everyone has different strengths to build on. All 10 work well as a team. As a whole, I’d like all my players get a little more aggressive, but that will come with time and experience.”

Sounds like a players’ coach from start to end – game, set, and match!

Good teams are always invite a second look.


Good teams are always invite a second look.

 After the match, why not head over to the Pizza Barn for a slice of pizza and a Coke! Pizza Barn is a proud supporter of La Verne Online. See Its Coupon

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