Both the boys and girls tennis teams have enjoyed a long stretch of successful seasons, and now their performance will be even more closely intertwined under head coach Edgar Giffenig.
Giffenig takes over as head coach of both programs, working closely with an assistant coach for each team. The two teams hope to blend several aspects together, including practice, as much as possible, he said.
“Tennis is always a game where you are training boys and girls at the same time. At all the academies where I have worked before, it’s a holistic program,” he said. “Both teams benefit from each other.”
Although new to the position, Giffenig is a veteran of Hotchkiss tennis. In addition to being the father of three Hotchkiss alumnae (Pilar ’12, Lyndell ’15, and Katya ’19), Giffenig has been a volunteer assistant coach for three seasons and worked privately with Bearcats from both teams for more than a decade.
The focus for the players needs to be on both the physical and mental sides of the game, said Giffenig. “You’re always under pressure. A big part of tennis is learning how you react to pressure and what you do in pressure situations,” he said.
Players should focus on elements that they can affect, such as their own play, and let go of things that they cannot control, like their opponents, he said.
One of the best ways for players to hone their mental game is through competition, and Giffenig said he hoped all his players would use the summer months to compete on their own.
Although the two teams were not able to work together this spring, Giffenig said that he had seen enough working privately with most players to be able to recommend what they needed to work on over the summer to improve their games.
Several aspects of the Hotchkiss program set it apart from other schools, chief among them the William and Martha Ford Indoor Tennis Courts, said Giffenig. “You can go out and play tennis any time you want. That makes us pretty special,” he said.
Giffenig added that he appreciated having a robust JV and thirds program to help players at all levels continue to improve. He added that he hoped that members of the JV and varsity teams would have opportunities to practice and play together.