The boys tennis team has a new head coach, Anthony Perrotti, a long time East Haven resident. He recently took on the role as the new coach and is ready for a competitive and fun season.
Alongside coaching the boys tennis team, he attends Quinnipiac University, majoring in Psychology and minoring in education through a program called MAT (masters in arts & education). His ultimate goal after college is to be a school psychologist however he fully intends to continue his education beyond his bachelors/ masters degrees. Before becoming a head coach, he volunteered to help the EHBT at practices and also volunteered at QU for their three summers for their summer program. He had also coached youth football for three years. Coach Perrotti played tennis for over nine years and was captain junior and senior year of the boys tennis team here at EHHS. He moved to East Haven at the age of 12 and has been here ever since. Coach Perrotti says why he became a coach, “I became a coach because I love the game and I want to each other to love the game the way I do. Beyond the sport, I love being in position where I feel like I’m making a positive impact on others helping them on and off the court.”
Tennis is one of the most popular sports played around the world.Everyone can play the game, no matter their age or their athletic ability. It is played with one player on each side (singles) or two on each side (doubles). You have to hit the ball with a raquet over a net spread across the court onto the opponent's court. The ball must only bounce once on the court before it is hit back to the other player(s). You can’t touch the net or hit the ball into the net otherwise the point is your opponents. The game begins with zero points for both teams, which is also called “love”, then as you score points it goes fifteen, thirty, forty and then that’s a game. If both players were to have forty points then it goes to duce, in which you must win by two points. The player(s) must win six games in one set and two out of three sets to win the match.
Last season 2017-18, their record was 7 wins and 13 loses and to make states you need at least 10 wins or half of the matches you play. However, they were very close to making states. This season, their goal is to qualify for states. Coach Perrotti ensures that they practice, improve, and work hard to reach their goal every day. Along with practicing everyday he makes certain that his team is having fun.. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that they are having fun everyday they come here but at the same time I want to motivate them, encourage them to want to get better, to put maximum effort every time they are on the courts,” he said. The team led by captains, Dan Murtagh and Joe Brown have goals of their own for the team they hope to achieve together. Dan says, “We can help these young guys with their forms and teach them what we have learned on how to hit a forehand, backhand, allie shorts, anything. We also take in everything our coach says to us, whether it be compliments or strategies that we need to work on and use those in games and practice to teach the younger players how to get better.” Both Joe and Dan want to help all younger players improve everyday, prepare them for matches and practices and teach them to be respectful to each other and themselves.
Dan and Joe believe the team has the potential to achieve their goals this season with Coach Perrotti leading them. This is possible by the effort put in by each player and their coach. “This is the first coach that I feel like I can have a conversation, just laugh about stuff that’s not tennis related,” said Dan. What sets Coach Perrotti apart from their former coach is how he connects with younger guys because he himself is still young and in college. Joe says that Coach Perrotti is a great coach, like a friend and he is calm. He treats the players with respect and handles all problem and mistakes made by a player in a dignified manner.
Freshman Matthew Gaudioso, a singles two player, has never has had the experience of having a coach before and he loves the fact that his first coach turned out to be someone who he can rely on and is comfortable around. Matt says that Coach Perrotti understands their mindsets, knowing what life is like for them being a student athlete, how it feels to be in their shoes lets him have a better understanding of how to teach them because not long ago he was the one doing the drills and working on different techniques. Sophomore Mateusz Wiszniewski, their singles four player believes this season is going to look great and with a couple more wins from last year, they can make it states. He also says what sets Coach Perrotti apart from their other coach is: “He is more strict but sometimes with strictness you get better because it shows that he wants to see everyone succeed and be their best on and off the courts.”
Coach Perrotti believes there is always room for improvement. The best way to measure improvement is by playing each team twice, so compare how they lined up against them the first time vs. the second time, meaning checking the scores. If they lost the first time, they want to try to beat them the second time around. If they lose the second time, they still can see their improvement, see how well then completed the first time vs. the second time. As a coach, the best way to improve he says is, “It’s definitely different for me because I've never coached tennis as a head coach so I would like to just get to know the players, know how to work with each guy because everyone is different so different things motivate each player and there are different ways to fire players up to get them at their best. To bring out the best in them and of them.”
Joe and Dan work hard everyday to integrate their knowledge and cooperate their skills into practice to help each player improve. Observing previous captains and having some experience from being captains this season, they realized that being captain is more responsibility than it looks like. Joe says, “I need to make sure that they are ready for next year because Dan and I are the only seniors so basically no one is leaving. We need to take some things more seriously than others and make sure no one is messing around in practice so they take this sport seriously.” Everyday, whenever they don’t have practices or matches, they try to get out on the courts as much as possible and just hit around. Dan says, “As a captain, my job is to make sure that no one is a troublemakers, keep them disciplined and making sure they are all prepared for matches and practices.”
Coach Perrotti hopes that being a coach for such a young team he can influence and pass down his knowledge of this sport to the players.