How practice adjustments have benefited Syracuse heading into conference play

first_imgYounes Limam is listening to his players and it’s working. At 6-0, Syracuse is off to its best start since 2009, when it began the year with seven straight wins. As a team, the Orange is 28-6 in singles play. Three of its players — Dina Hegab, Gabriela Knutson and Nicole Mitchell — are still undefeated in singles play. Another trio — Valeria Salazar, Anna Shkudun and Maria Tritou — has only lost a combined three singles matches. Last season, SU began 5-1 before a 3-11 mark in conference play. And with league play beginning on Saturday, Limam has taken into account his players’ fatigue and in turn altered the practice routine.“Every year is different,” Limam, SU’s head coach said, “and honestly, we kind of forgot what happened last year. We just take it one day at a time. We’ve got a big weekend coming up. We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, keep preparing and yeah, control what we can control.”In an extra focus on recovery, Limam has shortened practices before weekends with multiple matches. Last weekend, SU played Friday and Sunday, and this weekend, SU will play on back-to-back days. On five separate weekends after that, the Orange will play on Friday and then again on Sunday. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLast year, the Orange struggled when ACC play began, dropping its first three conference games and 12 of its last 15 to finish the year 8-13. This year, though, Limam has an almost entirely new roster for conference play.Limam has started to listen to his players at practice. When he feels their feedback will be beneficial, he’ll intensify practices but cut their lengths. “We’re just adjusting to how they are feeling, so we try to get feedback from them,” he said. “Our main goal is to have them 100 percent on game day.“A lot of it has to do with all the work being done behind the scenes,” he said. Valeria Salazar, a junior with a 4-2 doubles record this year, said she’s been working on more “specific stuff,” such as drills with her doubles partners. A member of the 2015 team, she acknowledged that SU folded, but that nobody has brought it up this year. Anna Shkudun, a graduate student with a 5-1 singles record, said she too has been able to start working on more specific drills, particularly her serve, which played a large role in her — and SU’s — win over St. John’s on Sunday. At times, players have been given the freedom to practice what they want. It’s one of the alterations Limam is making in hopes of Syracuse sustaining conference play.“If it works for us,” Shkudun said, “it’s better.” Comments Published on February 16, 2016 at 11:44 pm Contact Matthew: [email protected] | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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