Varsity Tennis: A Wrap up to a Memorable Season

  • High School
  • Sports
Ayumi Matsuzaki

An Overview of the HS Varsity Tennis Team

The first sports season has started the school year strong with its several victories and games against other schools such as YIS, ASIJ, and CAJ. Now in November, the fall sports — tennis, volleyball, and cross country — teams have come close to an end with their practices, and games. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, sports activities have been very limited to follow safety protocols. Due to the various precautions to prevent the spread of the disease, some sports did not have any matches with other schools, while other sports canceled in the first place. However, this year, practices and games have gradually been returning to normal. 


                  Varsity Tennis (mixed doubles) 

The Varsity tennis team is Seisen's leading tennis team involving players who represent the school to compete with other schools. The team is selected by the coaches from a few days of tryouts at the beginning of the season and usually consists of around eight to ten members. The varsity team is given a special opportunity to participate in major competitions against other Kanto schools, such as through the annual Far East Championships in Okinawa. They usually have practices four days a week, with most being after school and some rarely in the morning before school hours. Until now, they have had around eight matches against other schools, as well as a friendly game against St. Dominic's Junior High School, a private Japanese school. On November 1, the team traveled to Chiba for the Kanto Finals where they placed second as a school and further strengthened bonds. 


The after school practices usually take place from 15:45 to 17:30, starting with the members all briefly doing some dynamic stretches and warm-up exercises including standing high knees, hip rotators, and toe touches. Particularly as the weather gets colder in October and November, these types of stretches are essential for improving performance and avoiding injuries as they release muscle tension and increase blood flow. The practice always begins with the same process of pairing up with a partner or two and hitting some easy rallies on the service line (the middle line of the court) and baseline (define) to get warmed up. After some rallies, the members move on to practicing their serves. For every double faults they do, they have to do 5 repetitions of a specific muscle exercise chosen every practice. 

In each practice, the team coach, Ms. Lui, or the seniors of the team suggest an activity for the entire team aiming at their general weaknesses. Depending on the day, this may be focusing on volleys, working on forehands and backhands, or some footwork drills. For the rest of the practice, they do proper matches against each other, either in pairs for doubles, or individually for a singles match. 


Game days
Games against other schools typically occur 1-2 times a week during the season on Saturdays, as well as on school days. The games can also be either home games within Seisen's campus or away games that take place at other schools. On the day of home games, members of the team quickly warm up at the tennis courts straight after school until the opponent school arrives. However, for away games, the team usually leaves school early to head over to the opponent school. The bus rides can be quiet at times but also one of the most memorable parts of the season, where everyone connects as a team. After arrival, everyone comes together to greet one another, following the tradition for the international schools where everyone lines up and introduces themselves and playing position. Afterwards, members of the Varsity team get together for a team cheer in order to get motivated. 


On November 10, the team wrapped up the season with a fun mixed doubles event with the St. Mary's varsity tennis team and made everlasting memories. Through the hard efforts in all the practices and the valuable matches filled with countless new experiences and learning, there is no doubt that this season was a remarkable one. As the winter season sports now begin, we hope to see more unforgettable memories being made.


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