Sweta and Ajay Singhal have always enjoyed watching their two daughters, Arushi and Nishika, play tennis. Especially when competing in USTA Junior Team Tennis (JTT).
The couple was eager to become more involved with their daughters’ team and help the players improve. So naturally, they got involved. For the last three years now, Sweta and Ajay have been acting not only as tennis parents, but as coaches/managers to their daughters’ JTT team.
Sweta and Ajay were nominated by the New Jersey District as outstanding parent coaches/managers. Those around them say they go above and beyond the average duties of a coach/manager. They always pay attention to playing time, they organize additional practices, and they volunteer to get extra courts for matches.
We caught up with Sweta and Ajay to discuss JTT, funny moments on the court, and their outlook on coaching:
Q: What made you two decide to sign up first Arushi in May, 2017 and then Nishika with Junior Team Tennis?
A: We were looking for some competitive tennis events in close proximity and Mercer County Tennis Center provided a lot of activities including USTA JTT events.
Q: What made you decide to volunteer to become a JTT manager/coach?
A: We were always watching JTT tournaments while Arushi and Nishika participated in the events. It was always helpful for kids to have some parents / coaches around to answer any question whenever there was a difficult situation such as tie-breaks and no-ad rules.
Q: What have you enjoyed most or a couple things of JTT managing?
A: We were able to interact with all the JTT participants and some of the parents. Being a JTT coach provided a lot of opportunity to be socially active in the local tennis community.
Q: What is your coaching style like?
A: We have always felt responsible for providing a motivating and inspiring environment for all participants. Match lineup was a key element in ensuring that all players enjoyed matches as per their skill level.
Q: What are your favorite JTT moments/highlights?
A: There were few days when most of the matches went to tie-break and all participants enjoyed playing.
Q: What is it like to Coach at JTT Districts? How did you prepare a team?
A: In 2019, Our team advanced to districts and everyone came for self organized sessions (extra practice) and performed really well as a team in the district tournament. All the players developed a strong bond and coordinated really well in doubles matches.
Q: What is the funniest JTT coaching moment?
A: During one of the JTT seasons, all the players received USTA lunch boxes. All of them took funny group pictures by wearing lunch boxes as hats. 🙂
Q: What is your hardest JTT coaching experience?
A: Sometimes the JTT participants / court ratio is high and it becomes difficult to manage everyone’s expectations for maximum play time.
Q: What do your girls enjoy about your JTT managing?
A: Our daughters have always preferred our participation in JTT / USTA events. They always look forward to feedback despite the match outcome.
Q: Provide some examples of your coaching words.
A: “Try your best until the match is over.”
“Always be honest with your calls and respect your opponent’s line calls.”
“You have played really well, it was an awesome match!!”
Q: Any other thoughts about JTT?
A: JTT is a good platform for kids to perform and improve without pressure. Kids get to know other players in the area and make new friends. JTT is a very unique and inspiring event to motivate kids and develop a lifelong hobby.