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Profiles of coaches and student athletes

Coach Profile: Stephan Zweifel

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What do you enjoy most about coaching at the Division III level?

Throughout my 15 years of coaching I have been fortunate to work with a remarkable group of players; I have admired their work ethic on and off the courts. They truly represent the ideals of the Division III scholar-athlete.

What is something unique about your program?

The tremendous participation at our alumni events is a testament to the impact this program has on our players. One of the most rewarding aspects of coaching is developing life-long friendships with these remarkable young men. I hope that my players look back on their four years, and say that the tennis team was one of the reasons why they enjoyed attending Carleton.

How do you build connections between your players?

Although tennis is by nature an individual sport, we work hard to foster a strong team dynamic. Our success stems from the fact that everybody plays an integral role on the team, and shares a common passion. We push each other to improve, and we support each other unconditionally.

How do you help your student-athletes balance the academic rigors of Carleton with the time it takes to be a tennis player?

As a faculty member at Carleton I respect the importance of a student balancing academics and a commitment to a sport. Being a member of the tennis team enhances the college experience, and in the end, it should be a lot of fun.

Describe a typical practice session and what types of thing you focus on as a coach?

Our player development program is a blend of team practices and matches, and individual attention (stroke refinement, shot selection, match strategy). Physical and mental focus is also stressed on our squad. The attention to detail during practice is what allows a player to make the right decision during a match, even when there is no time to think about your options–a skill that is even more valuable off the tennis court.

What things will your players learn that they can apply to life after Carleton
?

One of my favorite sports clichés is “Sports do not build character, they reveal it”. Collegiate athletics allows you to test yourself under pressure, and in the process teaches you something about how you deal with adversity and challenges.