Talking with Hawaii Pacific's Lauren Conching
by Harry Cicma
, 18 January 2017
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For the past ten seasons, the Hawaii Pacific Women's Tennis Team have advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships. And for the most recent five seasons, they have done so with Lauren Conching as head coach. Conching has led the program to three Final Four appearances in her five seasons, and she was recognized as the ITA/Wilson Tennis National Coach of the Year in 2013.
This year promises to be another good one - last month, HPU was recognized as the No. 5 team nationally in the Oracle/ITA D-II National Rankings.
Harry Cicma of NBC Sports got the chance to talk with Conching about her experience coaching at HPU - and about her advice for junior players.
Questions and Answers Harry Cicma (HC): What do you enjoy the most about coaching college tennis?
Lauren Conching (LC): I love that I get the chance to be part of what is the best time in most people's lives. Hopefully I can make it a bit better - or more memorable - or both.
I also love watching how my players grow both as people and players throughout their time in college in Hawaii.
HC: What are your goals for the up coming season?
LC: My goal for this current team is to really just get better every single point, every game, and every match. We are a new team with only two returners from last year, so there is a lot that we need to tackle this year. But if we can keep getting better each time out, I think we can be very successful.
HC: What advice would you give a junior player who is looking to play college tennis?
LC: The best advice I can give a junior player is to work hard while you are still a junior. Learn how to really compete by playing a lot of tournaments. Also, learn what it means to be coachable - be open to suggestions, understand that criticism is to make you better, learn how to analyze your game and provide feedback to your coaches.
Finally, when a junior player decides that they want to play college tennis, know that there is a level of college tennis for everyone if you are realistic in your own abilities. I think so often, people only see the big D-I teams on TV and think, "I could never be a college athlete." But that isn't true - there are so many levels out there, and if you understand where you belong - or what is realistic - you can be a college athlete.
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About Harry Cicma
When it comes to college tennis, Harry Cicma is your man. Cicma
covers tennis and other athletic stories for
writing articles and producing video segments.
He is co-founder and host of World Tennis
a weekly tennis show on NESN, and host of of Tennis Live Radio's
Cicma competed as a junior in USTA/New England and went on to play
college tennis at Rutgers University. As a professional, Cicma
competed at the ATP Newport tournament and the San Jose Siebel Open.
He reached a career-high #75 in the ATP doubles team rankings and
#1262 in the ATP Entry System.
In media, Cicma has run the gamut. He has worked for NBC, CBS, ABC,
ESPN, FOX Sports Net, the Tennis Channel, and World Team Tennis.
Cicma has announced NCAA sports as well as the US Open Tennis
Championships on both TV and radio.