Sports & Analytics
Tennis Coaching I’ve coached high school tennis intermittently since playing in high school & college. For several summers, I ran tennis programs at summer camps in New England. I’ve coached high school varsity tennis in three states (Colorado, Wyoming & Oregon) and returned to coaching in 2019 after about a decade away.
My philosophy is driven towards helping students trust themselves on the court, tennis is unique in that you don’t really have a coach able to call a timeout to help you figure it out, you’ve got to problem solve in real-time. Winning and losing aren’t my priorities, I’m far more interested in seeing kids grow and the lessons they might not realize they’ve learned at the time, but come to discover at other parts of their lives.
I’ve been fortunate to coach state champions in two states and was honored as the 2022-23 Oregon 4A/3A/2A/1A Girls State Tennis Coach of the Year Award.
Sports and Analytics My journey with analytics started in early 1990s when I ran across Pete Palmer’s book The Hidden Game of Baseball and became transfixed at the idea you could dig into “the numbers” to find stories. Over the years, this obsession remained (until a math teach suggested to me that it was a waste of time…and I moved onto other things) and gradually evolved into other sports.
High school tennis generally suffers from data quality given the paucity of matches and relative difficulties of sourcing match information, but I’ve leveraged rudimentary anayltics and models to help my teams improve and gain an edge. My favorite part of this process is teaching players to track their peers matches and having them get excited to do it.
The proliferation of video tools have made it easier for me to bring my own statstical models to teams over the years, though generally these ideas scale better for college and/or high-performance players and as match-specific tactical support.
Omnivore College Football Computer Poll My computer football ranking, Omnivore Rankings, was listed in the Massey Computer Rankings Comparison for several years, it crowned a Omnivore National Champion which took the highest ranked mid-major program each year.
I started around 2007 and ended it at the end of the BCS era, before bringing it back for the 2023 college football season.
My tennis journey
Tennis is only organized sport I’ve ever played, unless you count that one year of rec baseball or all of the skeeball championships I’ve won. After 4 years of high school, I joined the Air Force. During my time in the Air Force, I came back to tennis after taking two years off and really worked on my game. I joined a club and really improved, mostly for something to do. I played one year in college and thought I’d give the sport up, but it was a nice way to earn money in summers and turns out, I had a knack of building engaging tennis programs at camps that kids gravitated towards.
One of those summers, we even invented a sport.
I’ve always worked in tech, but tennis wasn’t far away. Early in my career, I had the chance to coach at a university where I worked. When I moved, I had no problems taking over a JV program and approached it with the same zeal, especially with lower stakes.
After a few more summers at camp, I kind of thought I’d never coach again. Besides the occasional lesson or helping out high school programs in towns I lived, I never imagined I’d spend springs like my own coach once did.
I returned to tennis coaching after 8 years away in 2019, driven by a desire to give back to the community, learn more about Oregon, and pay tribute to my own mentor, Mr. Van Blake.
While I relish victories, I’m equally committed to honesty and realism with my players, motivating them to improve year after year. My favorite moments aren’t really the championships, it’s all the moments that lead up to the wins and losses. It’s growing and getting better.
I’ve written about coaching on the blog about lineups & why I keep coaching.