Consistency. Something we all strive for in our lives, through academics, our relationships with friends and family, or, in this case, athletics.
It’s one word that doesn’t ring true with the current players for our men’s tennis program.
Since coach Rob Bronson left the position in September, only a month after accepting the position, the men’s tennis team is again left without a permanent coach. Bronson is the sixth different coach to leave the team in six semesters.
Sure, Oswego may be a little out of reach from the hotbed of tennis action in the Syracuse area. But we’re not looking for Roger Federer to coach our team, just someone who will bring a much-needed consistency to a team craving it.
"None of us are getting the opportunity to improve," senior captain Geoff Sawyer said in last week’s article about the continuing search for a tennis coach. "Just winning anything would be a huge stride for the team."
The tricky part is that the position is part-time, which means anyone looking into the job must seek full-time employment elsewhere too. And even though the position is part time, the players certainly aren’t. For the time being, women’s tennis coach Erin Skaradek has stepped in as top dog to the team, and she should be commended for doing so.
Just how do six different coaches affect a team’s development athletically and, on a broader scale, as individuals?
Imagine transferring schools five times, six semesters in a row, beginning with a different major each time. Imagine working toward a goal for months, only to be re-evaluated and told you’re heading in a different direction. Imagine earning 15 credits toward a biology degree at Oswego State, then transferring to SUNY Plattsburgh and declaring a major in history. How are you supposed to improve? How are you expected to ever reach your goal and graduate?
The schedule is never the same. One semester may be filled with 6 a.m. practices in the fall, while spring practice is set at 6 p.m.
Players are constantly being evaluated by a new coach who is himself adjusting to the team environment. They never know where they stand. It’s completely up to the players to find any source of leadership within the ranks, and to find order in the chaos.
A full-time coach would, most importantly, add stability. The team needs someone to regulate practices, to organize road games and recruit and plan for the future of the men’s tennis program. The team can only scrape by and use interim fixes for a limited amount of time. And the clock is ticking.
At this stage the team is now is past rebuilding; it’s in the restructuring phase. Men’s tennis needs a solid foundation before they can put a roof over their heads and stop the rain of lose. All they need is a full-time architect to put the time in.