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The East Vision

A look inside Sloane Teske’s practice regiment

Sloane Teske ‘19 never gives up. She showed this last year when she was determined in her team tennis match to win even though she thought her team would lose. The midwest was up against an east coast team, and her opponent had just cheated, saying the shot was out when it was obviously was not. Teske had to swallow her frustration and focus her attention on the next point, getting an ace and eventually winning the match, changing the fate of her team.

This is just one example of the success Teske has had since starting tennis when she was nine years old. She tried lots of other sports including gymnastics, basketball, and swimming, but finally decided that tennis was her favorite.

“Well I played a lot of other sports and I didn’t really like them so my parents put me in tennis and it just stuck with me,” she said.

Teske started to really take tennis seriously around the time she was 11 years old, when she played her first real tournament. Things went up for her from there, as she achieved many results including getting first place at a qualifier last season and being number one singles on the varsity team this year as a freshmen.

Teske practices year round, five or six days a week. She never has an off-season but her busiest season is in the spring and summer, especially when she has to juggle the school season and her normal training.

“We have a weekend off [for school tennis] and I have a tournament, in between states,” she said. Apart from traveling for the school team, Teske travels all over the country for her own personal training as well.

“I’ve gone so many places in the midwest, and also to Florida, Pennsylvania, and I may be going to Oklahoma this summer to go play,” Teske said. All of this travel helps her qualify for bigger tournaments towards the end of the summer, like nationals.

“So I play in random tournaments around the midwest, and it gives you points, so it brings up your ranking to get you into higher tournaments,” Teske said. Last year Teske qualified for nationals, but was unable to go. She hopes to do the same thing again this year, but will be up against older girls.

“I mean it’s hard because I just aged up to the sixteens, and I’m only fifteen, so it’s my first year in this age group,” Teske explained. Age is not Teske’s only challenge when competing. Unlike school tennis, when she competes on her own her coach is not allowed to help her at all during the tournament.

“You don’t get coaching at all,” Teske said. “No one can say anything to you unless you split sets or something, but that rarely happens.” Being on your own can be daunting to some, but is actually one of the things Teske also really likes about the sport.

“I just started playing it, and it was fun because I was in control of what is going on. You control it,” Teske said.  At the same time, Teske also likes getting the opportunity to be on a team when she gets it. Her favorite event is one that is coming up in Oklahoma this year, a week-long team tournament.

“Everybody you play against in the midwest is now on your team so you’re playing against people from all different parts of the country. So that’s the best part because all you do is play tennis and go hangout for the rest of the day,” Teske said.

This team atmosphere was also another reason she wanted to be on the school team.

“I love [being on the school team]. I love all my teammates on it, so it’s really fun.”

With so much experience, Teske has learned a lot along the way. She keeps herself from getting burnt out by skipping practice when she feels like it’s she’s getting sick of it.

“Ya, what I try to do though is like if i’m getting tired of it, I just like don’t go to practice for a day or so just because I need a break. It’s really a mentally draining sport,” Teske said. The mental toughness that she has gained from tennis has helped her in her everyday life as well.

“It taught me to not get so angry all the time,” Teske said.  “Like at all the littlest things. I have to calm down, and take deep breaths if I get in heated situations.” Lessons like this will serve her well on and off the court in her upcoming years of high school.

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