Dalrymple guiding program into elite status
By Tim Sampson
Round Rock Leader contriuting writer
“Practice makes perfect” is an adage that coaches have uttered for who knows how many years. It’s a tried a true aphorism to get players hustling in order to improve their game.
Travis Dalrymple won’t say it.
The Westwood varsity tennis coach, who just finished leading his team to their fourth consecutive district title, knows that only “perfect practice makes perfect.”
“It’s all about the way you practice,” he said. “Are you making the most of your time out there? If you’re just slapping the ball back and forth, you might as well not be practicing at all.”
It’s a simple and uncompromising attitude. Some might even say rigid. But there is no denying that it gets results. In the five years that Dalrymple has coached the Warriors, they’ve become a force to be reckoned with at the state level and an inevitability during district play.
Ranked eighth in the state this year, the Warriors were the assumed district champs before the season even began. They lost only one preseason match and went undefeated during district play this year.
“Their coach has built a serious program over there and they really can’t be beat,” said James Sombathy, Pflugerville High School varsity tennis coach.
Dalrymple’s drive to succeed on the court is practically hardwired in his DNA. His love of the game developed early. His grandmother was consistently one of the top ranked tennis players in Texas, playing well into her 80s. She was the one who first took him out onto the court to bat the ball around.
“I just remember loving it so much and seeing the beauty in the way the game moves back and forth,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple grew up in Round Rock, where just like in any other part of the state, football is king. But despite the pervasive football culture, he said tennis had a special attraction to him. The mental aspects of the game were intriguing.
“Tennis is 90 percent mental,” he said. “A player has to be prepared physically, but at the highest levels of the game, it’s about mental preparation.”
A strong mental and physical game led Dalrymple and his teammates to highest level of success at the state level while he played for Westwood in high school. He claimed two separate individual championship titles while in high school and was part of a No. 1 state team. He remains close with many of his teammates from the time. Four of his former teammates were groomsmen at his wedding.
Dalrymple took a break from tennis while attending Southwest Texas State University. But he knew he’d be coming back to the game. While still in high school, he had serious discussions about one day taking over the Westwood tennis team after his coach, James Hood, retired.
“He said ‘ You want this job one day, it’s yours,’” recalls Dalrymple.
After obtaining a teaching degree, Dalrymple came back to Hood to see if he would make good on his agreement.
“He said ‘I’m not done yet, give it a few years,’” Dalrymple remembers.
So Dalrymple did, coaching Stony Point tennis for four years. After that, Hood retired and Dalrymple was brought in to take over the program at his alma mater. It’s a position he plans on holding for years to come.
“I love this job,” he said. “I could easily see myself doing this for the next 20 or 30 years.”