Published on April 9, 2018 at 9:18 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ With Syracuse’s season in the home stretch, head coach Younes Limam is getting creative in practice.The NCAA allows 20 hours of tennis per week while in season, but Limam knows he can’t do drills and conditioning without burning out his team. To keep them fresh and engaged, Limam uses different practice strategies during the daily afternoon practice.With Syracuse playing almost two matches per week, Limam keeps practice interesting by playing against the team himself and proposing games for the team to play against one another. No. 25 Syracuse (14-6, 6-5 Atlantic Coast) has two distinct practice settings with different vibes: individualized morning sessions and full team afternoon sessions.“It’s really important to have them compete against each other, and we try to have everything in practice count,” Limam said. “We want them to have that mentality where every single point, every game, every match is important.”Limam said he is careful to balance the players’ fitness with practice time. Whenever SU plays on a Sunday, it doesn’t practice Monday. When SU doesn’t have a Sunday match, players get that day off and practice the next day.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDuring the offseason, the NCAA heavily regulates how much time players can spend in practice and fitness training. Limam is only allowed two hours of tennis weekly during the off-season with six hours allowed for fitness. William Hicks, SU’s assistant athletic director for athletic performance, provides a workout plan to help the Orange improve fitness. Hicks develops two plans, one for the offseason and one for the regular season.“When you’re feeling fit, it helps you mentally to know you can go the distance in tough matches,” Limam said. “Coach Hicks has done a tremendous job with the team.”When the players build their class schedules for the spring semester, each plans around the daily afternoon practices and two individualized morning sessions each week. Individual practices are much more technical and focused towards improving skills with individual drills, Limam said.Often, there are only one or two players that attend the morning sessions at a time with Limam and assistant head coach Shelley George. These individual practices are similar to how many of the players practiced growing up.In the afternoon, Limam and volunteer assistant coach Len Lopoo frequently join in competitive mini-games. Syracuse’s favorite game is triples, where two teams of three face off on opposite ends of the court.The ball is fed to two players standing on the baseline with one player at the net. This fast-paced, 3-on-3 game helps with reaction times, volleying and keeping the ball away from the person at the net, a major key to being successful in doubles.“It’s important to have a lot of playful games within our practices,” Gabriela Knutson said. “Because if we don’t, we get into a lull and we’re too focused on just our game.”SU plays king-of-the-court style games, keeping track of points to see who wins on the specific court. When Limam stops play, whichever team has more points moves up a court. The team with fewer points moves down a court. After the drill, there is either a prize for the victors or a punishment for the losers.The winning teams sometimes win extra shirts or shorts, while the losing team is faced with a conditioning penalty. Limam joins the games to motivate his team as the players try to beat their coach.“I like playing coach, it’s always pretty competitive,” Knutson said. “It’s always a goal to beat your coach, and I’ve beaten him a few times.”When Limam isn’t playing alongside his players, SU practices more broad concepts, such as serving and returning. Limam and George discuss strategies for the upcoming match, making small changes in tactics.After a 7-0 loss at Miami on Sunday, the Orange didn’t practice on Monday. But by Tuesday afternoon, Limam will be wearing a tracksuit, wielding his Babolat racket and ready to challenge his team on the court. Comments
All scheduled soccer matches for this week have been postponed, the Premier Soccer League (PSL) said in a statement on Monday morning.“Stadiums that were going to host some of our fixtures have been confirmed as venues to host memorial services and other gatherings to pay special respect to Madiba,” PSL chief executive Brand De Villiers said in the statement.“We therefore took a decision that, due to logistical challenges faced by the PSL and the clubs, we should postpone the fixtures scheduled for mid-week and the weekend.”The announcement comes after former president Nelson Mandela died in his Houghton, Johannesburg, home on Thursday night.The struggle icon’s memorial service will be held at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday and he will be buried at Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up, on Sunday.The postponement of matches affects the Premiership, National First Division and first division qualification fixtures until December 15, following Mandela’s funeral. On Tuesday, Mamelodi Sundowns were due to host Kaizer Chiefs in a crucial league encounter, while Wits would have hosted SuperSport United in an equally important fixture.On Wednesday, Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates were due to meet at the Cape Town Stadium and Platinum Stars would welcome Bloemfontein Celtic.Friday’s action saw Maritzburg United up against Wits in Pietermaritzburg and Saturday and Sunday had a full weekend of fixtures scheduled, with no fewer than six matches set to take place.De Villiers confirmed, however, that Premiership fixtures would resume on Monday, December 16, and matches would be re-shuffled to accommodate the late changes.