Iden prepares like a veteran

Parker Valentine, Women's Tennis Reporter

 

Four years of college experience and Kelly Iden is as focused as ever.

Iden is a senior who has played all four years of her collegiate career at Eastern.

She also lettered all four years that she spent at Hamilton Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind.

Playing eight years at a competitive level as a student, players must learn different ways to remain focused on and off the court.

Iden earned second team All-OVC honors as a junior last season, and she looks to build on that performance this year. Preparation is key to sustaining solid play on the tennis court.

When it comes to pre-match preparation, Iden does not focus on individual opponents.

“I do not think about my opponent, but instead think about the strengths of my game,” she said.

She went on to elaborate on self-strengthening, although she does do quick scans of teams she has played before.

“I do not research each team in detail because I believe it is important to focus on what I can control,” she said. “I have control over my own game but not my opponent’s game.”

As well as focusing on her own strengths on the court, Iden puts plenty of time into staying physically healthy.

“I focus on hydration, stretching and getting plenty of rest,” she said.

Music helps Iden calm her nerves before matches.

“Listening to music energizes my body while calming my nerves,” she said.

She also tries to have a big meal and an energized warm up before matches, as well as having a pep talk with her teammates.

When the matches start, her focus shifts to the live points.

“I focus on building points one at a time and finding the most effective methods to beat my opponent,” she said. “I do not let past points affect my performance but instead use them in a positive way to influence future points.”

That mentality of learning from past points comes from playing for as long a time as she has. Instead of getting upset at a bad point, she uses it as a positive learning experience for future points.

Staying active in between sets is important, too. Iden stated that she always stays active during a match even when not playing.

Different activities can accomplish that feat, whether it is keeping her feet in constant motion or fiddling with her uniform between points.

Iden looks forward to competing in each match.

“I look forward to the high-level competition and getting off to a fast start,” she said. “I enjoy fighting on the courts and being a part of a dynamic team. The atmosphere is an indescribable experience that I love being a part of.”

Rooting for her team, focusing on self-growth and appreciating the liveliness of tennis events for what they are — that is the recipe of success for this Panther veteran.

Parker Valentine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]