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Wilson Featured Player - Sydney Homan PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Pamela DeLoatch   

Preparing to Succeed



ailing to prepare is preparing to fail.

It's a quote from John Wooden, the renowned UCLA basketball coach, but it's also the motto of Alabama 8th grader, Sydney Homan.


Currently # 3 in her district, Sydney firmly believes in putting in the time and effort to do well in sports and in school. In the winter, she does an early morning conditioning before school-with her basketball team, then attends school, goes to tennis practice, followed by a basketball game. On weekends, she plays in tennis tournaments. En route to activities, she catches up on homework.

A hectic schedule, to be sure, but Sydney seems to have a boundless energy and a view that all of these activities are preparing her for her goal to play college tennis at a Division 1 school-and her eventual goal of being an orthodontist.

As a little girl, watching her aunt play college tennis, Sydney caught the bug.
"I attended my first beginner tennis clinic at my neighborhood club when I was seven years old," Sydney remembers. "I loved it and couldn't get enough."

That led to more lessons and weekly clinics. Pretty soon, the neighborhood club coach noticed Sydney and began teaching her the fundamentals. In her small town, it was hard to find other kids her age to hit with, so she would get high school kids to hit with.

Age : (Rank G14s)
State : AL
District Rank : 2
Sect'l Rank : 53
Nat'l Rank : 505

"They were so nice to me. They will never know how much they helped me," Sydney says.

"My most favorite thing about tennis is that there is no time limit and it is NEVER over until the last point is played.Soon, though, Sydney encountered a problem. As she wanted to do more with tennis, she had to make a grown-up decision.

"At one time, I played golf, sang in the choral group, was a cheerleader, danced and played violin," she recalls. "I decided I wanted to focus and be great at something."

As a result, Sydney gave up golf, cheerleading and dance. She plays basketball-in fact, she is a starter on her team, but credits basketball with helping her tennis skills. She still plays violin, sings with the middle school chorus, and does community service projects with her school. Oh, and she has had the highest grade point average for the past two years.

While this might be challenging for even adults, Sydney enjoys her activities.

"I love the competition. I love meeting friends that have the same goals who know what it is like to balance school and an intense tennis training and tournament schedule, and all the other things that go along with being 14."

Training at Huntsville Elite Academy Tennis (HEAT) with coach Eddie Jacques, Sydney travels 40 miles (each way) and feels the trip is definitely worth it.

"We spend lots of time on groundstroke drills, serving, conditioning and situational play," Sydney says. Some of the most helpful lessons aren't physical, but are mental.

"Coach Eddie also has me keep a journal, writing down my goals and what I learn from matches," Sydney explains.

"It is cool to look back and see goals being accomplished and doing things that you were wishing for. Six months ago I had a goal of being in the top 10 in the State and Top 100 in Southern Section. Now I am 3rd in Alabama and 55 in the Southern Section. I have also realized that I learn much more from my losses than my wins!"

One of Sydney's greatest strengths is her mental toughness. While some players don't like pre-match butterflies, Sydney views it differently.

"I like that nervous excited feeling I get when I am about to play a match. I like the confident feeling of knowing I have put in the hours on the practice court so I feel prepared," she says. "My most favorite thing about tennis is that there is no time limit and it is NEVER over until the last point is played. No other sport is like that. You always have a chance and can come back. So I NEVER give up. I think that attitude gives me an edge in my game."

With Sydney's enthusiasm for tennis, dedication to physical and mental toughness, boundless energy, and long-term plan, she is definitely preparing to succeed.

Homan's FavoritesFavorite color: blue
Favorite actor: Orlando Bloom
Favorite singer: Lady Antebellum
Favorite vacation: Hawaii
Favorite book: The Outsiders
Favorite player: Rafael Nadal
Favorite movie: The Justin Bieber movie
Favorite pre-game meal: Fully loaded sub sandwich or fettuccine alfredo
Favorite post-match treat: Cookie dough ice cream

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 18:09
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