Cyclones focusing on mental aspect of tennis


Photo: Ryan Riley/Iowa State Daily

Sophomore Emma Waites practices on the Forker courts on Tuesday, March 27.

Michael Schmitt

With its last two home meets of the season coming up, the ISU tennis team is focusing on the unexpected.

Along with that, another component that will be honed in on is mental toughness.

“Tennis-wise, they’re doing what they need to do, but when they start competing, that’s when we lack mental toughness,” said ISU assistant coach Rod Puebla. “It’s about the mentality. We had a little talk on Friday, and I think hopefully they can get this: It has to come from them; they have to believe in themselves.”

Puebla said the team is playing better together, but it still needs to improve mentally.

“It’s just about believing in themselves and believing that they can win,” Puebla said. “Sometimes having a great schedule can play both ways, but now we don’t have that confidence because we haven’t won that many.”

Along with the mental aspect, ISU players added a few other things the team has been working on.

“We’re focusing on adjusting our game when we’re outside, and doubles, we need the doubles point,” said ISU senior Maria Fernanda Macedo.

Earlier in the season, the Cyclones (3-15, 0-5 Big 12) were playing a lot of indoor meets, but now they have been playing more outdoors, and there is a big difference in playing style.

When playing outside, the players just have to focus on being consistent, because the sun and the wind affect the players’ hits — unlike playing indoors.

ISU sophomore Simona Cacciuttolo said the team needs to switch up its playing style a little bit against Kansas State (5-13, 1-5) on Friday.

“We need to attack more, and kind of go for every ball, because they are pretty consistent and they attack a little bit,” Cacciuttolo said. “With this team, we have more chances to have shorter matches and get them.”

After hosting Kansas State, the Cyclones will try to accomplish the rare feat of defeating Kansas (9-9, 0-6) on Sunday. The Cyclones are 3-37 overall against the Jayhawks, but the record does not tell the tale of the history.

“We’ve been so close in so many matches, and I think this weekend is going to be another one like that,” Puebla said. “Especially with KU, it’s going to be a dogfight.”

As a coach, there is only so much they can do, and Puebla said it is up to the players to show up ready for the meets.

“They’re doing it individually, but it has to be as a team,” Puebla said. “It’s just going to be up to them, they need to believe in themselves.”

The meet against Kansas State is set to start at 2 p.m. Friday at the Forker Tennis Courts.