Pine-Richland girls tennis coach Siriprasert focuses on process to build success

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Sunday, September 19, 2021 | 11:01 AM


As a tennis coach, Jirakorn “Dang” Siriprasert concentrates more on the process than the result.

Sometimes the two can go hand-in-hand.

With a largely new varsity roster this year, the Pine-Richland girls team won its first four section matches of the season and is on track to contend for a postseason spot.

“It’s been going really good,” Siriprasert said. “Even though our team is really new with only one girl returning from last year, everyone is working really hard. They work as a team. I always tell them that it’s team first and then personal needs.

“I look at the process every day. How did you do? If you lost, what did you do well even though you lost? My team knows that the process is more important than the result itself.”

The Rams have wins over Butler, Hampton, Seneca Valley and Shaler.

The only returner who played varsity last year is sophomore Rachel Smith, who is slotted into second singles.

Lily Hynds, a junior, is the No. 1 singles player. Siriprasert said Hynds was her No. 15 player last year and was on the junior varsity team, but her game developed exponentially over the summer.

“Lilly has worked so hard, and that’s allowed her to jump up,” Siriprasert said. “Everybody works hard, because they know that I’m not going to just pick them to be on the varsity team. They have to earn it.”

Senior Haley Katzfrey is the No. 3 singles player. A combination of Kiana Strahotin, Isabella Calabrese, Samy Ravichandran and Olivia Casario make up the doubles teams.

Siriprasert has worked with her girls with on-court placement. She said sometimes high school players have a tendency to return a ball and run to the baseline, and she’s encouraging them to stand their ground and attack the net.

“I’m not worried about a certain drill or anything like that. I want them to learn how to win the point,” Siriprasert said. “When they are playing singles, they have to know how to cover the court. There are three areas: the green zone, the yellow zone and the red zone. In the green zone, you play to win the point. In the yellow zone, you build to winning the point, and the red zone is a couple steps behind where you should be, so you work to return it and get into better position.”

Siriprasert has focused on making tennis an enjoyable environment for her girls. She cited pro tennis player Naomi Oksuda’s openness about mental health struggles and said she can serve as a role model for high school girls everywhere.

Winning is always good, but Siriprasert wants her program to serve as a haven away from the stresses of everyday life.

“We don’t know what’s going on at home or at school, so when they come to the court I just want them to be happy,” Siriprasert said. “I want the older girls to help the younger ones. I pair them out to help each other out. It teaches them leadership and how to work together.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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