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Coach Calvin

Posted 05/02/2024 by Ben Hartley

 TJ Girls’ Tennis has had a successful season under the guidance of Coach Calvin. photo by Mariah Williams

This spring, assistant boys’ tennis coach Calvin Alexander joined the girls’ tennis program as head coach. 

The TJ Girls’ Tennis team has had a positive first half of their season with five wins and three losses. With six matches left, the girls are playing hard to clinch spots in regionals and eventually state. This season, the team has greatly benefited from its newest addition, head coach Calvin Alexander

While it may be Alexander’s first year coaching, he has been engrossed by tennis his entire life. Originally from Montclair, New Jersey, Alexander began playing tennis early on, following his father’s love for the sport. “I’ve been a tennis nerd since I was five years old,” Alexander said. “I’ve watched more tennis than I’ve even played.” Alexander loved his time playing tennis in high school, describing the experience as an opportunity to form lifelong friendships. Alexander’s passion for tennis is rooted in the individualistic components of the game. “I believe tennis is pretty unique in that you have to fail on your own, solve problems on your own, and deal with injuries on your own. I’ve always appreciated that aspect.” 

In addition to coaching, Alexander is currently a second year graduate student pursuing his master’s degree in sports and performance psychology at the University of Denver. Through his studies, Alexander is learning how to train individuals to utilize breathing techniques, emotional regulation, self talk, and focus in regards to athletic and occupational performance. When coaching, Alexander strives to put his knowledge to use in order to have a positive impact on the team. He admits that having a profound impact on a single player’s tennis skills in such a short season is tough. However, Alexander is incredibly proud of the girls for buying into the value that sports psychology brings. “Each day, I’ll ask the players to focus on one thing they learned and one thing they enjoyed,” he said. “I believe having a growth mindset and positive attitude are keys to success.” 

On and off the court, Alexander can be seen sporting a variety of fun-colorful socks. He admits he has “terrible fashion sense,” but takes great pride in his vast collection. The sock collection all comes from a deep-rooted bond with his family. He said, “my grandfather used to have an insane sock collection with super bright colors. He loved purples, blues, and greens. My uncle was also the same. I think my sister and I absorbed that through them.” Alexander’s sister always gets him socks for any holiday or birthday, keeping this special tradition alive. He believes that it’s important to express your individuality in both athletics and life. Before each match, Alexander tells the girls to “show people your socks” in hopes that the girls express what is unique about themselves and gain confidence. Cultivating a community amongst the team is a primary goal for Alexander. Allowing players to make mistakes and express themselves in an environment free of judgment breeds confidence as well as technical improvement. Alexander considers listening to be a fundamental ability for any good coach. “At the end of the day, they are the ones playing the matches. I can say, ‘work on your forehand and improve your attitude’ all I want, but if I’m not listening to their ideas and working with them on their own goals, it’s all for nothing.” 

As Alexander joins his first year with the Spartan Tennis program, eight seniors begin the process of saying goodbye to the program. Many of these girls have played tennis at TJ since their freshman year. Senior Stephanie Zabel shared that she will “miss the community and team bonding experienced through TJ tennis.” She also acknowledges that “Calvin’s organization and enthusiasm for the sport has really helped piece the team together.” Under the guidance of Coach Nate and Coach Calvin, TJ tennis is a perfect environment for those looking to build friendships, have fun, and improve upon their skills. Zabel admits that the program has helped improve her “teamwork, leadership, and self discipline skills.” Other players, such as senior Dagny McLain, view TJ Tennis as the “perfect opportunity to get outdoors and occupy free time.” Tennis is a fantastic option for students looking to play a sport at TJ next year. A knowledgeable coaching staff and welcoming team creates the perfect environment for finding success in the sport!