Netting success: Four Mitchell boys tennis players see hockey skills translated to the courts – Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL – Aside from both being played with a net, there do not seem to be many similarities between hockey and tennis.

The Mitchell High School boys’ tennis team can prove otherwise.

In a sport that involves fast movements, start and stop, hand-eye coordination, endurance, good footwork and strength in the upper body, the transition is natural for Marlins, who becomes Kernels in the spring tennis season.

Three university players and four members of Kernels ‘boys’ tennis team played hockey last winter, and they all believe that hockey has played an intricate role in their success on the tennis court.

“I do exercises in the winter for hockey, and even though I don’t do that much for tennis, a lot of things with tennis come naturally after playing hockey,” said junior tennis player and Marlins goalkeeper Drake Jerke.

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Mitchell’s Drake Jerke returns a volley during training on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at the Puetz Design Building in Mitchell.

Branden Hull / Mitchell Republic

As a goalkeeper, Jerke played in 17 of the 20 games of the 2021-22 season with the Marlins. He saved 85 percent of the shots on goal, which attributed to his good hand-eye coordination.

For Mitchell’s tennis team, Jerke Flight plays 2 doubles, primarily at the net. Last year at the Kernels State Tournament, Jerke and Cameron Miller reached the final round of the Flight 3 doubles, and Jerke said his hockey experience has helped him perform well over the years.

“I like to be very aggressive online when I play,” Jerke said. “I have a good hand-eye coordination from hockey so I can easily put volley away. All the things I have done during the hockey season, from flexibility, strength training and other things, just continue to help me and make me better. ”

As Marlin’s leading goalkeeper for the past two seasons, Jerke credited the footwork he had to develop to play the hockey position, but he said both hockey and tennis really come down to a mental match.

“When I play doubles in tennis, my focus is on the ball when we receive it, but when it passes me to my back doubles partner, my focus now is on the opponent closest to the net,” Jerke said. “That way I can predict the ball, because the next shot comes to me quickly.… It all comes together because it’s all spatial awareness. I know in both sports the courses that a pass or a shot can come from, and with my focus on the player in front of me, I can react faster. ”

Senior Josh Grosdidier plays Flight 5 singles and was the striker and captain of the Marlins. As someone who prefers hockey to tennis as his favorite sport, Grosdidier said the footwork he learned from playing hockey his entire life affects the way he plays tennis and emphasizes a quick reaction time.

“Hockey is a lot of side-to-side movements, and a lot of footwork goes into it,” Grosdidier said. “Our training on land in the break is very much related to tennis. It’s just quick outbursts, and it’s a lot of what tennis is. I’ve taken some of my foot exercises, speed and explosiveness training, from hockey to tennis. They get it. fast pulling muscles going and making me a faster player. ”

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Mitchell’s Josh Grosdidier returns an ointment during training on Thursday, April 7, 2022, at the Puetz Design Building in Mitchell.

Branden Hull / Mitchell Republic

Freshman Luke Jerke, the only Mitchell boys tennis player to win a state title last season, and sophomore Levi Loken, both played striker for the Marlins last season. They said the confidence built through hockey and brought to tennis is exactly what is needed to excel on the court.

“You have to go so fast and hard all the time in hockey and I feel like it helps me with tennis,” Jerke said. “I have to go hard, fast and play aggressively every time in tennis. You need to have a wealth of confidence in hockey because you are not going to play if you are nervous. It has to do with tennis because you have to hit similar strokes and believe that you will do it every time. “

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Mitchell’s Luke Jerke returns a salvo during training on Thursday, April 7, 2022 at the Puetz Design Building in Mitchell.

Branden Hull / Mitchell Republic

Loken added that the confidence that hockey gives to an individual sport like tennis has given him more courage to try hard punches.

“Hockey and tennis force you as a player to prepare and study your opponent’s movements,” said Loken. “Once you slow down and you gather your footwork, it’s about mindset and being sure of the photos you take. In tennis, I hit hard blows as a one-handed backhand, which I think differs from the competition. In hockey, I try a few things others would not like passes without appearance and between the back passes. Once you gain confidence in both sports, the other becomes much easier because they look like something. “

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Mitchell’s Levi Loken returns an ointment during training on Thursday, April 7, 2022 in the Puetz Design building in Mitchell.

Branden Hull / Mitchell Republic

The Mitchell boys’ tennis team returns to battle on Tuesday, April 12, as they host Aberdeen Roncalli and the Brookings in a triangular start at. 14:30 in Hitchcock Park.

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