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Coaching Roundtable
How College Coaches Make Lineup Decisions

Ever wonder how college coaches select a lineup to start the season? Are you curious why some changes are made for different matches?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula. Choosing a lineup is not an exact science.

In this month’s Coaching Roundtable, our panel of coaches provided their insight into the process:

Greg Patton, Boise State men

“It changes depending on the demographics of your team. We've been a young team the last two seasons, so I want to make sure the guys at the top are capable of handling the heat. It's almost like surfing. You need to make sure guys can handle the turbulence and be able to ride the big waves in Hawaii and not just the two-foot waves. I want the players to grow from it. I use the early season as a learning experience and will probably alternate a few guys to see how they respond and get us ready for the conference.”

“The lineup is critical, not only for matches at the time, but I think good coaches understand the importance of how you can use your lineup to develop and build a program over the course of a season and several seasons. You can use it as a motivator and use it as a way of making guys hungry. But you have to be fair and you have to be compassionate to the needs and wants of the players.”

“The thing about college athletics is there are such dramatic changes in the physical, emotional and intellectual maturity of athletes. The potential is so great and what you provide is an opportunity. Some guys take advantage of the opportunity and other guys don't. That is the reason good coaches have good pulses on guys and can help the get better by the end of the year and maybe move up in the lineup. But you also want to put guys in a position to be successful and put guys at the top that are solid and strong enough not to be afraid. That is the beauty of college tennis, some guys embrace the pressure and some guys crumble. The resilient ones will survive.”

“I try to put guys in the lineup where they are not going to be emotionally devastated and where they don't start feeling helpless. That can become self destructive and they can become negative. I am really aware of that.”

“I will rotate my lineup a little bit at the bottom because sometimes the changes from those guys are dramatic and shape your season. My programs, historically at Boise State and Irvine, have won a lot at the four, five and six spots. I really enjoy the journey of each new season and finding out how each team takes shape over the course of the year.”

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Page updated on Friday, March 23, 2018
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