Girls varsity tennis score an ace with new coach

Team captains take success into their own hands

By Karen Li

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When seniors Brinda Pandi and Belinda Yan met on the tennis court in seventh grade, they became friends mainly out of necessity. Their first names were similar and they were the only girls in the league, so naturally they gravitated toward each other. Today, they are co-captains of the girls varsity tennis team and friends for life, they said.

A coach has to play every role. Sometimes you have to demand, sometimes you need to be gentle. A good coach knows how to balance all of those, because each player thinks differently. Each one has their own experiences, so you try to balance that.”

— Sundar Parthasarathy

Pandi and Yan have played tennis all four years at HHS and have watched their team grow throughout the years. This season, they said they believe, is the best one yet. In the past four years, the team has gone through four different coaches. The first was too strict, the second too relaxed and the third too stubborn, Pandi said. The revolving door  of coaches caused an imbalance that hindered the team’s growth, Pandi and Yan said. 

When they heard that last year’s coach wasn’t returning, the two sought out the boys varsity tennis coach, Sundar Parthasarathy, hoping to recruit him as their coach.

“If HHS wasn’t going to give us a good coach, why not try to do it on our own?” Pandi said. 

Initially, Parthasarathy was hesitant because he didn’t want to put in the effort if the girls weren’t willing to do the same, but the duo was able to prove the team’s passion for the sport, Pandi said. 

With Parthasarathy, the team has become much more cohesive and encouraging, she said, which the girls greatly appreciate. 

“[He] is really supportive and genuinely wants to help us practice and improve,” Pandi said. “He’s fun loving. The environment is super warm, and that’s largely thanks to the fact that our coach has been so accepting.” 

Yan said she also enjoys the more accepting environment that she and Pandi have worked with Parthasarathy to create.

Photo by Karen Li
Team captains Brinda Pandi and Belinda Yan confer with coach Sundar Parthasarathy prior to their last home game against LHS.

“I like the people and the environment,” Yan said. “Everyone here is also passionate about what [I’m] passionate about. It’s a nice environment to be in after a long day at school.”

When asked about his effectiveness and success, Parthasarathy said he strives for balance in his coaching and tailors his approach according to each player. 

“A coach has to play every role,” Parthasarathy said. “Sometimes you have to demand, sometimes you need to be gentle. A good coach knows how to balance all of those, because each player thinks differently. Each one has their own experiences, so you try to balance that.”

Parthasarathy was able to provide what previous years’ coaches did not: communication and understanding, Pandi said. 

“He asks us for input and allows us to have our own voices within the team, which has helped many girls,” Pandi said. “He makes sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to while also having fun. He keeps our passion for tennis alive.”

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