Jessica Seighman admitted her players were bored during the inaugural girls' tennis season at Bermudian Springs High School in 2011.
Hours of the same drills will do that.
"They needed the repetition last year. They had to be able to get the ball over the net," she said.
This year, however, Seighman varied the drills and, coupled with the previous season's experience, the Eagles took flight in their first season in YAIAA Division II.
By the finish, Bermudian Springs had claimed five match wins, including three in the division, had taken its first postseason medal and had sent a doubles team to the District 3 Class AA Tournament.
The progress, led by her own adjustments to mold her team, is the reason Seighman gets the nod as the All-Area Coach of the Year.
She deflects credit to her assistant coaches and the administration for her team's continued development, but Seighman also has taken this program to heart.
"You have no idea how many tennis books I have bought over the past two years," Seighman, who herself played tennis at New Oxford High, said, adding, "You never know when you'll come over a sentence in a book that will change the way you coach."
Therefore, when the team gathered for the first day of practice in 2012, Seighman greeted them with a variety of routines, all designed to build upon the base laid one year earlier.
"We really worked on strategy and worked on accuracy of our shots," she said. "We were aiming for spaces on our courts. I felt we were improving and, by the end of the season, you couldn't believe they were the same girls that I was working with."
That didn't necessarily make the task easier for these Eagles. At one point, they dropped three straight 7-0 decisions to established programs in York Suburban, York Catholic and Kennard-Dale.
"I said to the girls before we went into the division, 'As long as you know you have left everything you have on the court, you can walk away feeling so proud that you're doing all you could,'" she said.
That effort paid dividends as the season wound down. The Eagles won three of their final six matches and then made a serious mark in the postseason.
There, the second-year doubles team of senior Morgan Anthony and junior Bryn Yurick placed third in the YAIAA Class AA Championship for the program's first postseason medals.
Seighman said the girls had to change their focus after she had stressed the entire team's performance through the season.
"Here, they realized they have to play for themselves," she said, "It's up to them to go as far as they can. It was very different from the dynamic of what they're thinking about the season."
However, another teammate, Emily Rohrbaugh, also competed in the YAIAA doubles tournament this year and so she and Yurick, the only returning members of the varsity lineup, may pair up to strive for more postseason honors in 2013.
In the meantime, Seighman's focus will return to the entire team. After all, she may have to experience in 2014 what so many other programs have already done for years -- rebuild.
"We really need to get our numbers up among our underclassmen," she said. "Next year, we will be losing more than half of my team."
She said the task to attract athletes to her sport will be difficult in a school with so many established and successful girls' fall sports -- cross country, field hockey, volleyball and now soccer.
Yet Seighman is determined to try.
"I'm going to try anything to help them become better tennis players," she said.
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