Pat Houlihan's motto should be: "Fundamentals are everything. Winning takes care of itself."
Since Houlihan has took over the Carson High boys tennis program as coach, he's always stressed that approach. With a group of experienced veterans and talented newcomers coming in, Houlihan's approach could lead to quite a successful season this year for the Senators.
"My job is to let them enjoy the sport No. 1 and to play at a competitive level and the winning will take care of itself." Houlihan said.
Carson has one of its top doubles teams back from last year in senior Josh Caron and junior Bryt Lewis, who advanced to the Northern 4A quarterfinals a year ago. "I feel pretty good about that doubles team," Houlihan said.
Another top returner is junior Nick Smallman, who is one of the many Carson players who have been in the program since his freshman year. "He's going to contribute anywhere I put him," Houlihan said.
Other top returners include junior Chris Wear, junior Nathaniel Hamer and senior Evan Thayer. Hamer will be a steady doubles player while Thayer will be steady in singles, Houlihan said. "He just keeps the ball in play," said Houlihan about Thayer.
Another talented veteran is Adam Houghton, Carson's starting point guard on the basketball team, who has been at a basketball camp. Houlihan said he welcomes Houghton's athletic ability.
Another senior who should be in the mix is Derek Turoff, who played a great deal during the summer. Other seniors who will be competing for playing time will be Travis Trethan and Ryan Zaro.
Among the freshman who should make an immediate impact is Spencer Brinson, a talented newcomer who already has several years of tournament tennis under his belt. "You'll hear more of him," Houlihan said.
Another freshman who should have a chance to break the starting lineup is Jordan Rogers. Other returners and players who will look for playing time are Alex and Tyler Wing, freshman Gordan Lee, Jordan Miller, Dan Neiman, Brad Cobler, Grant Jeppson, Tom Dudley, Ian Gentner, James Pelz and Casey Good.
There are about 80 players in this year's CHS boys and girls programs, which each program having about 40 players. Houlihan said Carson's summer program is beginning to pay off with many younger players involved before they come to high school.
"They're good kids," said Houlihan about his team. "Usually really good G.P.A.s. I'm proud to be their coach."
There will be a major change in the scoring this year as singles and doubles points will each be worth one point. Three singles players and three doubles teams each play three sets, so it's possible that a match could end up in a tie. If a match ends up in a tie, the team that won the most total games will be awarded the win.
In the past, doubles points were worth more than singles points. "You can't stack in doubles as much any more," Houlihan said.
Houlihan said another advantage to the scoring system is it should force coaches to develop more all-around players who play singles and doubles. Houlihan also said the scoring system should favor teams that have more depth.
No matter what the scoring system is, Houlihan said he has one goal. "I'm hoping to come out with nine boys that can hit tennis balls," Houlihan said.
Carson opens the season at Centennial Park on Aug. 30 against Truckee. "It will be a good indicator," Houlihan said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Another key match could be the final one of the year when the Senators host Douglas on Sept. 29.