With a coach full of experience, it was time for the Lakeland boys tennis team to begin its season.

On March 25, the LUHS boys tennis team started the season inside the fieldhouse as they waited for snow to clear off. Nets were set up and the team began simple drills to get the ball over the net with the proper form.

“This is like their first opportunity to really hit the ball,” coach Ted Dasler said. “This is sort of like day one.”

One aspect Dasler likes to use is a different ball, one different than the average yellow tennis ball and is less bouncy and easier to control. It allows his team to learn the game a bit better from the start, especially since they haven’t hit a ball in a long time. Eventually they’ll graduate to a faster, more aggressive ball.

“We’re starting with a red ball to get strokes down,” Dasler said. “It’s a half speed ball and keeps things more in control.”

The goal for the week is working on how to play the game properly. There is proper form with serving, returning and how to keep going mentally. The scoring system is a diabolical one according to Dasler.

“If you think about it the score goes up in a game, back and forth until somebody wins and somebody gets a one and the other person gets a zero. For all that work you get nothing,” he explained. “I want them to stay in the present and move forward each point and just be determined from there.”

Working indoors is not ideal for tennis, but it’s something the team will have to settle for. The ball bounces differently whether indoors or outdoors; learning that difference will be tough to translate when they get outside.

“Once we get outside, it’s almost counter-productive to come back in,” Dasler said. “Now their re-learning and now their timing is off.”

One last thing Dasler loves to do is end his practices with something fun. It keeps his team engaged and keeps them excited to the end.

“We’re gonna always try to end with some fun activity,” Dasler said. “Some of the things we’ve done I’ve found they ask for it over and over again.”

No matter how it is learned, the Thunderbird’s boys tennis team will be one of growth and one of fun.

The Thunderbirds first match is  at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 against Medford.

Brett LaBore may be reached at brett@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.