NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - It is said that practice makes perfect.
In tennis, it takes more than skill to perfectly perfect your game. It takes mental toughness, confidence, and sometimes, a little bit of luck.
For New Providence’s Katherine Ge, she has reaped the fruits of her labor throughout 2016, seeing a major improvement in her game.
“Last season one of the biggest things I learned was to be mentally tough on the court and focus really hard, and I had to transition that into this season,” Ge said. “I had to work on that in order to see the benefits in the long run with how I play.”
Ge, a junior Singles 1 player, is 8-3 so far on the season, with her most recent wins coming in a come-from-behind effort on Oct. 7 against Oak Knoll, and then on Oct. 11 against Roselle Park, where she did not surrender a single set. She advanced to the Union County Championships earlier this season, but came up short in the finals against Kent Place junior Emma Verpoucke.
“She’s been great for us this year,” said Head Coach Marc Willemsen. “She has a really strong backhand, and there’s no real weak part to her game. However, tennis can be such a rollercoaster ride, and players have to be really poised, and she and the team have shown that.”
Ge has attributed her improved game to the motivation and support she has received, which has helped her tremendously throughout the season.
“I think the support from my peers, parents, and coaches has been very motivating,” she said. “They made me believe in myself and what I can do, and it made me play my best and give it my all. My mental game needed to improve so I could play better and that support helped.”
So much of tennis is mental, the improved focus from Ge has helped her hone in on her ultimate goals for the end of the season. Coming into the season as the definitive first singles go-to player, Coach W has seen her grow as a player and a person this year, and he believes that there is still much more in store for her.
“She’s had a few tough, grueling matches where she had to come back and fight emotionally, and it was tremendous,” Willemsen said. “It shows her resiliency and composure, because these games can get so heated at times.”
The road will continue for Ge after the regular season, as she will compete in the state tournament and look to achieve her goals.
“I have big expectations for states not only for myself but as a team,” she said. “One of the biggest things we need to work on is team chemistry and support because I know we can do it and everyone believes in each other.”
She will look to improve on and continue her strong campaign, as her next match will take place on Saturday versus Glen Ridge.