Julius Robberts, a school psychologist since he interned with the city system the 2001-'02 school year, said his goal for Cartersville tennis students is to help them continue making the state playoffs routinely as they did under Karen Ruff, who retired the past year.
"She's obviously done very well with this program. That's where you want your program to be, having your kids compete in the state playoffs," Robberts said. "I would hope they play several rounds in the playoffs."
The former college tennis player said that's what Cartersville tries to offer its students, a chance to compete at the highest levels.
It is a level Robberts is familiar with, having competed in college at Middle Tennessee State University, a member of the Sun Belt Conference, and also as a high school student in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"I was lucky enough, my junior year, to be selected as one of eight students to compete in the South African Junior Masters," he said.
Robberts won that competition and later received a scholarship to play tennis at Middle Tennessee, in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where he obtained his Ed.S degree.
Robberts also was an assistant tennis coach at Middle Tennessee for three years.
The new Cartersville tennis coach said he is looking forward to working with high school players.
"It's a different environment with different skill levels from college, where I've coached," he said. "But in Cartersville I have done some private coaching with high school students, so I'm familiar with the type of kids I'll be working with."
The coach also hopes to apply what he has learned from his study of psychology to the high school tennis game.
"I still play club tennis and using some of what I have learned has helped make me a smarter player as well as a more patient one," he said. "I hope to be able to pass along some of that, especially about being calm throughout your matches and not helping your opponent."
He said tennis is a game where young players can get "caught up" with what's happening on the courts and lose their focus on simply playing to the best of their ability during matches.
The coach said one thing he already knows about his teams is that Cartersville's tennis cupboard is not bare.
"We have both of our top players from last year back," he said. "We also have some young players who will be joining our program and I'm eager to start working with them and seeing what they have to offer."
The team begins practice on Feb. 1 and will be playing matches a couple of weeks later.
"I want them to play a few matches and gain some confidence in their game before we get to the region part of our schedule," Robberts said.