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Independent Voice

Order on the Court

Aug 25, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman

Coach Kevin Judson practices with one of the girls on Dixon High School's tennis team. Photo by Nicolas Brown

DIXON, CA (MPG) - Dixon High School Tennis Coach Kevin Judson is trying not to overexert his girls tennis team during the heat so he is taking practice a bit slower this week while the new players are being introduced and learning to keep score.

“You want to keep the sport fun, but you also know the game is competitive,” he said. Judson has always been a good athlete and played Little League Baseball up until he was 12.

“That’s when I started up tennis and my tennis coach taught me lessons from 13 years old on. We’ve been good buddies since,” he said. He attended McClatchy High School in Sacramento and played on the team there.

“I didn’t have much of a serve then as I wasn’t real big. But I was essentially like a wall when it came to hitting balls back.”

After attending Chico State and enjoying tennis as well as theater, Judson was an assistant tennis coach at McClatchy High School a few years before moving to Dixon. Here, he was an assistant for one season before the other coach moved on. That was about six or seven years ago, he said.

“I’ve been with them since and time flies nowadays,” he added. “I have taught the boys team for a few years as well. I’m able to communicate with the girls a little better but I enjoy working with both teams.”

Judson started this year with a goal of 12 girls and has about eight right now including two seniors, a couple sophomores and three freshmen with most of those returning.

“I feel I’m a positive person and I like to see the potential in the younger players, but I lean on the upperclassmen who have been on the team to help with scoring,” he explained. “I want to teach the basic instruction and the basic forehand and backhand skills to get them up technique-wise, but you have to get the point system down. The number one thing I find with regard to doing tennis matches is students trying to keep score and tie-breaker coaches try to practice but it gets lost sometimes in the fundamentals. So, I want them to know how to keep score.”

Sophia McNaughton, Nina Santini, Lita Moran, Alina Vera, Lauren Henderson and Maria Santos. Sierra Fong and Gabby Keller will be captains. He’s hoping Val Gamino will return this year and help them nab one of the Golden Empire League’s trophies.

The matches start on Tuesday, September 5, and Dixon will be hosting Mesa Verde that day. Then there will be two or three road matches the following Tuesday and Thursday. They will be back on the road for the September 12, 14, and 21 matches. Details will be published in future editions.

In Judson’s ‘other life’, he works as a tennis pro giving lessons on weekends and does some theater acting occasionally at the Theater in the Heights in Citrus Heights.

“I’m just trying to bide my time. Nothing stressful. Sometimes I play on the weekends with friends, otherwise I’m coaching little kids or coaching the high school team. But I am a proud uncle of five,” he said.