Coach’s Corner: Steven Zaret

Khadija Ahmed, Staff Writer

Steven Zaret has been the boys’ varsity tennis coach for four years and counting. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and attended college at American University for his undergraduate and then George Mason University. This year his goals for the team are to win as many matches as possible and most importantly, to have fun.

How did you discover your interest in tennis?
I always enjoyed watching tennis but played mostly baseball and table tennis growing up. I discovered my interest in playing tennis after college.

What other schools have you previously worked at?
I coached at Dominion for a year and taught middle school at a private school for four years.

What are your strengths as a coach?
I can teach anyone how to play. I have even taught three-year-olds.

What are your best and worst memories in coaching?
I really enjoy seeing the growth in my players. As a player myself, I learn to put the bad experiences away quickly.

How do you handle the discipline of players?
Tennis is an interesting sport in that it has its own Code of Conduct and players make their own calls. I’m a big stickler for fair play, and I’m happy to say I’ve only had to take one point from one of our players for their conduct.

What advice do you have for your players regarding the balance of athletics and academics?
We have the 2nd highest GPA among any sports at AHS (girls tennis is first, so we’re trying harder) so my guys know to keep up with their class work.

How would you describe the organization of a typical practice?
Practices are organized similar to my History lessons with a warm-up, central theme (such as volleys), drills to emphasize the theme, play, and a closing activity which is usually a fun and competitive drill.

How do you promote community support for your team?
I have a large network of friends in the tennis community who provide racquets and sometimes tennis clothes.

What is the best advice you have ever given a tennis player?
I like to stress that tennis is a lifetime sport. You can play when you’re 8, 18, or 80. It’s a great way to meet people.

Who are your role models in coaching?
Hassan Mims

What do you enjoy most about coaching?
We just have a great group of young men in the tennis program, and it’s always a joy to work with them

What other sports are you interested in?
Pretty much everything. I really want to try curling in Maryland so if any teachers are reading this, come see me!