Boys tennis takes on new leadership

New boys tennis coach Steve Bock will use previous tennis and coaching experience to lead the boys varsity tennis team

Tricia Drumm, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Last year, anyone sitting in the stands might have seen head coach Eric Ammerman giving the varsity boys a pep talk between matches. This year, however, a new leader has emerged. New boys tennis coach Steve Bock has taken Ammerman’s place as coach of the varsity boys tennis team.

Whether it’s the teams his kids are on or in his spare time during the summer, Bock has been coaching a sport since he was at least 15 years old. For the past three years, he has been the assistant basketball coach, and now, Bock plans on using his experience and love for tennis to lead.

“I’ve been playing my whole life for fun and enjoyment,” Bock said. “My favorite thing in the world [is when] my dad and I used to have [tennis] battles and we used to play all his friends. It was just a real good thing for us. When [the job] became available, I had some experience at it, and I really wanted to do it.”

While putting emphasis on the value of teamwork is one of his philosophies for the team, another idea Bock will focus on is mentality.

“One thing [the team] will learn is how to deal with failure because it is sometimes hard to put that [ball] over the net,” Bock said. “I want them to mentally be able to deal with failure. I’ve watched them for the past three years, and I think that’s one thing I can really help them with.”

Even though he views his coaching methods as more intense than Ammerman’s were, Bock continues to abide by his mantra “have fun while you get it done.”

“[Ammerman] is very meticulous and organized, and I really appreciate that about him,” Bock said. “I try to make sure every minute is filled with efficient drills that will not only keep them occupied. I want them to have fun while they’re doing it but be training.”

It really works better with coach Bock where everybody’s playing more and everybody’s getting involved in the game.”

— senior varsity player Parker Billings

As a player who’s experienced both Ammerman and Bock, senior varsity player Parker Billings believes both coaches are “really focused on improving each individual thing [the team] needs to work on, rather than attempting to help the entire team with drills.” Meanwhile, Billings also sees differences between the two coaches’ methods in the how much activity the team gets during practices.

“[Bock] likes to keep everybody moving and keep everybody involved in the practices, whereas Ammerman would have half the team play and half the team sit out,” Billings said. “It really works better with coach Bock where everybody’s playing more and everybody’s getting involved in the game.”

According to Bock, the team’s biggest challenge is transitioning into the EKL, but as he pushes through and schedules “tough” matches, he believes “it’ll be very good for [the team].” In the end, Bock has high expectations for the season ahead of him and the team.

“If we translate how we’re training into the matches, then I’ll be very happy,” Bock said. “I told all these guys not to focus on outcomes, but focus on what we can control, and we can control how hard we work. … I know what these guys are capable of, and I’m going to try and push them to their highest limits.”

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