Ken’s in the paper (again)

Ken made the Press of Atlantic City (again) for tennis:

Boys tennis notebook
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On his way to his second-straight Cape-Atlantic League individual tennis title, Keith Goldstein dropped his first set to familiar foe George Gennaoui of St. Augustine Prep, 6-2.

Eagles’ coach Ken Keim called him over to the fence and spoke to Goldstein, who nodded for the better part of the 30-second lesson. After trudging through the first set and looking beatable throughout, the sophomore promptly went out and won the next two sets 6-2 and 6-3.

When it comes to offering pep talks, Keim is readily available, but when it comes to offering pure tennis instruction, specifically with Goldstein, there’s little he can say that his star singles player doesn’t already know.

“I just try to keep his head steady,” Keim said. “As far as improving their tennis skill there’s not much you can do. It’s more nurturing a player then coaching them.”

It’s a common theme among high school tennis coaches, one arrived at not because of their lack instructional knowledge or experience playing the game, but because there are players like Goldstein, Gennaoui and Absegami’s Bryan Nguyen, who finished third in the CAL tournament, who are just on a higher level.

Those top players come into high school having played tennis their entire lives. Players like Goldstein, Gennaoui and Nguyen play in tournaments outside of school against competition that’s often better than what they’ll find playing on a high school team.

The key for these coaches is having their top players buy into being part of a team.

“The thing with tennis is it’s all individual,” Absegami coach Greg Goodwin said. “You go to tournaments, you’re by yourself and you’re just kind of alone. As a coach you just hope that they want to be part of a team.”

Absegami’s Nguyen, a Press All-Star last season, has found individual success this season, but in a loaded American Conference the Braves struggled as a team to start the season. Goodwin credits Nguyen’s patience and dedication to the team concept for helping to make positive strides.

“It makes it easy (to coach),” Goodwin said. “A lot of time with tennis it’s not what you do from March to May but what you do from May to March. He’s on a higher level. He wants to help, and if he didn’t want to help, I don’t think the team would respond to him like they do.”

A look ahead

The Vineland Invitational will take place on Sunday with Vineland hosting Toms River North, Pennsville and Lenape.


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