Coach Nick Loudermilk isn't suffering the so-called Sophomore Slump in his second season at the helm of the BC Women's Tennis Team as they improve to 4-0 with a win over San Diego-Mesa.
But don't worry about his team getting big heads.
"I've already told them that we aren't the best team out there, and I've told them we will lose. But we can work just as hard as the best teams, and prepare as hard as the best teams," Coach Loudermilk said, "But we can only control the way we play, not how the other teams play. We 've got to keep a mental edge, our physical edge, and then at the very least we'll be in position to beat those teams if they slip even slightly."
In 2016, Loudermilk inherited a team that didn't win very many points in 2015. And that didn't sit well with him.
"Tennis is my only thing, it's the one thing I'm passionate about. And I have to make sure I'm Coaching the right way because I have an impact on people other than myself," Loudermilk said, "And it's important that I relay the best possible message to the athletes; because if they fail...", and he pauses to emphasize that 'fail' may not mean what you think it means, "Then I've failed. And I don't ever want that to happen."
Loudermilk's small audience sits at rapt attention, and they want to know what he means by failing. After all, the team that barely won a few points in 2015 won quite a few in 2016, and now in early 2017, they are sitting at 4-0 with the entire world in front of them. Does he mean they fail if they lose a match?
The Coach played baseball and basketball in high school before taking up tennis prior to his Junior year at BHS, and the competitive streak was instantly obvious. He played as much as he could, and quickly became a fixture at his home tennis club. When high school tennis season came around, he didn't have a full year of competition under his belt, but he immediately made the Varsity team and competed as high as the #4 spot while compiling a 19-4 record.
He did this in his first interscholastic competitive season. So what IS failing to Coach Loudermilk?
"Failure is not…playing the best that they can play. Failure is not being the smartest that they can be…Failure is not taking ownership of things that they can control. They can control their attitude, and their preparation. But they can't control if the other team is better, more naturally talented. You know what we CAN do when they are better? We can overcome 'better' sometimes via mental toughness and preparation. So we must control the things we can control," he said.
So far, it seems like the BC Women's Tennis Team has done just that. But a test is looming on the horizon this week when Glendale College plays at BC Thursday, February 9th at 2p.
Before that, nothing would make Loudermilk happier than beating Victor Valley on the road, and then inviting Glendale into their home court with a glistening 5-0 record to both defend and embolden them.
BC will have more experience competing this season, as Glendale beat College of the Sequioas 8-1 at home in their season opener, before losing January 31st at Irvine Valley in a 5-4 nailbiter.
"My hope is that we do the little things to be ready for that match. It doesn't matter what their record is, or what anyone's record is; the team that wins is probably going to be the team that practiced a little more, ate a little better, and did everything in their power to gain the edge."