For student-athletes to thrive in a culture that promotes athletic, academic and personal excellence. Through teamwork, engagement, accountability and mental discipline, student-athletes will become strong leaders with the drive to achieve great things now and in the future. Each member of our team leaves the University of South Carolina with the experience and tools necessary to have a successful career in tennis and beyond.
The driving force behind South Carolina Mens Tennis's success is its culture. We rely on passion and perseverance over time to achieve our goals. Following the work of Dr. Angela Duckworth, GRIT Culture is based on growth, resiliency, intensity and toughness.
Coaches encourage players to focus on the long-term process of developing, rather than short-term results. Through Player Development Plans and strategic scheduling, players have the opportunity to develop specific areas of interest during practice and compete within a framework that best suits improvement.
We build resiliency within the team by recruiting athletes that have a strong will to succeed. Once in the program, this trait is reinforced to ensure student-athletes persist even in the most challenging situations.
We encourage student-athletes to assume a readiness and awareness mindset in order to be high-achieving individuals. This energy comes from collective passion and drive to get better every day, remaining laser-focused on becoming a champion on and off the court.
We inspire players to love challenges and embrace difficult moments. When confronted with a tough situation they face it head-on and emerge more confident than before.
Individual Training Sessions
During off hours (outside of team practice and classes) players engage in one-on-one training sessions with the head or assistant coach to work on specific areas of their game. During the fall, sessions focus more on technical work; and in the spring, we lock in on competition and tactical development. On days where players have individual workouts, the afternoon team practice is shorter and competition focused, to implement what each player worked on earlier.
Players adopt a “competitor first, tennis player second” mentality. A healthy competitive environment is encouraged and fostered. Team practices center on competition between teammates – teaching players how to problem solve, work between points, manage body language, etc. Ultimately, players become more comfortable with competition and learn to embrace pressure or tough situations.
Each semester players are recorded performing all major strokes. Coaches use the videos alongside those of a pro player similar in body type and game style to illustrate areas to improve technique. All practices and matches can include the use of video to see successful patterns of play or areas that need improvement. During the spring season, video sessions serve as a framework early in the week for each player’s area of focus going into the next weekend of competition. We utilize both Dartfish and Hudl Technique Elite video analysis technologies.
Strength and Conditioning
A great strength and conditioning program has many benefits beyond basic fitness. It can serve as a catalyst for players who need to push past their limits in order to build mental toughness. A fit team is usually a healthy team, with few or no injuries.
We work closely with strength and conditioning coaches to identify key areas of deficiency in player technique and overall fitness, and address areas for growth or potential injury.
Using the First Beat Heart Rate Monitor System, players engage in a year-round system that analyzes heart rates on a daily basis. This is done to measure fitness levels and recovery rates. When players are not recovering from matches or tough practices, their heart rate is high and this is when injuries happen. At South Carolina, we used First Beat this past year and had zero players miss matches due to injury.
Pathway to the Pros
South Carolina Men's Tennis strives to find student-athletes who are looking to take their careers beyond college tennis and compete on the professional circuit. We are committed to creating an environment that will aid in the individual development of players and allow them to reach their ambitions at the highest level.
The Gamecock Promise
In Fall 2014, South Carolina Athletics formalized a commitment to all of its student-athletes to provide the best possible experience as a Gamecock. A big part of the Gamecock Promise is the degree completion program, which provides funding for any former scholarship student-athlete who leaves the University to return and complete his undergraduate education.
For our program, that means that a player who has the opportunity to turn professional before graduation can capitalize on that and then return to school after they are finished playing on tour. Players who believe they are on that track, do not need to worry about overloading their class schedule in their first few seasons to reach graduation before turning pro. They can keep a sustainable academic workload while playing college tennis, then return to campus following their professional career to completely focus on their degree requirements.
For more on the Gamecock Promise, visit http://gamecockstudentathletepromise.com/
Futures and Challengers
As an SEC school, we have the resources to schedule Futures and Challengers events into our fall calendar. This allows players to build their ATP rankings while in college and continue to move through the levels of the game. Being at an SEC school also allows players to compete in the toughest conference in the NCAA, with at least 20-25 high-quality matches a year. On average, South Carolina student-athletes play around 50 professional-level matches a year.
Surrounded by Excellence
The South Carolina Men’s Tennis seeks to provide players with access to the game’s most innovative minds. We host outside consultants who develop solid relationships with our players and staff and help to keep the information fresh and cutting-edge.
Consultants regularly involved with our program:
Paul Drake, MS
First Cardio Performance is a company that improves athletic performance and overall health of athletes and teams through cardiovascular testing and training. Started by trainer Paul Drake, First Cardio utilizes individual bio-markers, data, science and technology to craft custom training directions.
Brandyn Fisher, PhD
Sports Psychologist and High Performance Coach
Dr. Fisher specializes in coaching elite junior, collegiate and professional tennis players. He built and directed the mental training programs at three of the top training centers in the country, at which he worked with NCAA All-Americans, USTA National Champions, ITF players and ATP/WTA players.
The University of South Carolina is one of 32 public universities to earn the Carnegie Foundation's top-tier designations in research activity and community engagement. According to national publications like Kiplinger's Inc. and U.S. News and World Report, our programs stack up against the best in the nation and around the world.