2008 High School Coach of the Year: Sue Bordainick
Ever since Sue Bordainick started coaching tennis at Ramapo High School in Spring Valley, N.Y., in 1973, she has not cut any player who’s tried out for the team. While numbers were modest when she first began coaching the team, 25 years later her boys’ and girls’ teams are attracting upwards of 60 members each.
“The students know when they come out that they made the team,” says Bordainick. “So there’s no pressure on them. They can just relax.” For her work to make the game available to all students who want to play, Bordainick has been named the RSI’s 2008 High School Coach of the Year.
The Ramapo teams consist of three divisions — varsity, junior varsity and “modified” for seventh- and eighth-graders bused to Ramapo from the local middle school. To manage time and court space, the varsity practices first, followed by the JV team, then the modified squad. “We just go until darkness,” says Bordainick.
“Tennis owes a great deal of credit to coaches like Sue who work extra hard and spend more time because keeping extra kids on the team is more challenging than simply cutting to a more convenient or manageable number,” says Kirk Anderson, USTA director of Recreational Coaches & Programs.
“The kids just love coming out for tennis,” says Bordainick, who recently received the 2008 USTA Starfish Award for no-cut coaches. “Most of the kids from our district, when they come out, have never played before. It’s nice to see them grow.”
And it’s not just the students’ tennis skills that are growing, but also a bond between schoolmates. “They are so close-knit by the end of the season,” says Bordainick. “After a long match, win or lose, they yell ‘Team Hug!’ And the whole team runs out on court.”
- For a no-cut tennis team, on the first day of practice (which is not a “tryout”), let the students know they all made the team.
- Compliment players on their success. Bordainick’s motto: “If you get the ball over the net one more time than your opponent, you’ll win the point.”
- Try to keep players moving throughout the entire practice. Bordainick has each player hit four balls, then run and place four balls back in the hopper. There is no down time.
See all articles by Kristen Daley
About the Author
Kristen Daley is a contributing editor for RSI magazine.