Tournament underscores this coach's commitment

Last weekend was one I wish I could have recorded on my DVR, so I could experience it all over. Perfect weather and a full slate of enjoyable tennis — and little work-related activity — made good for a breather. And Sunday evening’s slumber came easily after a lot of time on the tennis courts at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park.

A tip of the visor to Coach Randall King for putting together another smoothly run tournament in last weekend’s Dr Pepper Open. In the two years I’ve known Randall, I can say the kids who learn from him are fortunate to have him in their lives.

It is safe to say one of Randall’s mentors was Coach Paul Smith of Mason, whose talents I was exposed to from the other side of the net in team tennis. My senior year, we finished third in team tennis in Class 3A and under to Marble Falls and the ever-present Mason Punchers.

But my hometown of Rockdale was fortunate to have engaged, talented tennis coaches during my high school years, and it’s easy to see that Fredericksburg is similarly well-off in that respect. King has been here 20 years — long enough to have seen lots of players from middle school through graduation. He’s been assisted by Donald Hohn for the past decade, a great coach and player in his own right.

That type of consistency is a huge factor in building and sustaining a great program, and unusual for a Class 3A school, where football is king and minor sports sometimes get minor attention. (Nothing against football — I loved watching the Billies destroy Boerne on Friday.)

Coach King plays a mean doubles game, too, with a kick serve that perplexes, and expert volleys. FHS netters benefit from having a coach that can compete with, and beat, the top players. It keeps them humble and adds a competitive bent to a program, no matter the sport.

The old saying in coaching is that “good kids make good coaches.” That’s true to a point, but developing kids at all levels is the sign of a good leader — from the star player on down to number 10 on the roster. Seeing that each kid makes the best of his or her talents is a challenge, yet is often its own reward.

King sums up his philosophy like this: “One of the toughest things to learn is that each year your team makeup and team personality will be different. I try to be flexible and adapt to the persona of each group. My philosophy is to get the most out of what you are given.  Our kids may not always be the best athletes, but we will out-work anyone to achieve a goal. I can rely on kids to respond if the right buttons are pushed and the coaching is consistent.”

This year, Randall has led his team to a district championship, and the squad will compete in the Region IV team tennis tournament in San Marcos on Nov. 1 and 2.

For the rest of this column, read this week’s print and online editions of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!

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