Keeping up with the Binders

posted in: Sports, Spring | 0

Pacific Women’s Tennis is a family business

Coaching collegiate sports is not for the faint of heart: It requires a level of dedication, passion and commitment above-and-beyond. It is a testing endeavor that requires a coach to take young adults, and not only build their work ethic, strength and overall athletic ability but also their grit, character and moral compass. Embarking on a journey that can come with a variety of highs and lows. Within these trials and tribulations, many coaches find one of the most rewarding experiences of their careers. 

   “I wondered why I didn’t do it sooner,” says Traci Binder, Head Coach of Pacific Women’s Tennis Team on her experience as a tennis coach. Binder herself was a collegiate tennis player, competing at Cal State Los Angeles before returning home to finish her career at Boise State University. Shortly after, she was certified as a coach and began training individuals ranging from children to adults, eventually becoming a high school coach, and then college coach. Binder explains that there’s a lot of similarities and differences between high school and college, “[In high school] I coached boys and girls, which was so much fun. I mean it was just a huge team of kids out there having a blast. So, to come to the college level, it’s much more competitive, bigger and more of a balance act for the students.” Coach Binder boasts about both of her experiences; but specifically one in particular.

   This pertains to her daughters, who followed in their mom’s footsteps of becoming collegiate tennis players, and in a heartwarming turn of events ended up at Pacific. “I honestly didn’t think that my daughters would actually come here and play,” says Binder, as both of her daughters wanted to compete at the Division one level. A feat Sydnie Binder was able to accomplish as she played her freshman year at Boise State, obtaining a winning record. After her first year, Binder decided to transfer, desiring more balance between academics and tennis. She found herself right back at home, landing here at Pacific. Not long after Sydnie committed, Cassidy Binder visited Pacific. “She liked it, she felt good about it, and then she wanted to play doubles with her sister again. So I got them both!” Binder says with a smile. 

   But this one-of-a-kind experience also comes with its own challenges. Coach Binders recalls the difficulties of juggling coach and mom as well as giving proper attention to the rest of her players. “I feel like I’m constantly trying to balance it all out, and I think the toughest thing is I know my daughters the best, so I know their needs. I don’t always know what the rest of the players’ needs are, so I’m constantly trying to get to know them.” This can prove to be a difficult and time consuming task especially as tennis is a sport heavily based on individual performance. “We do a lot of things as a team, such as yell a lot, we yell little chants like “Go Red!” We do that as a team because when you’re out there fighting against another opponent, it’s just you. I have the girls talk to each other as they’re playing on the court so they have more of a team environment.” Binder emphasized that regardless of what position or rank you’re playing in, your point is just as important to the team as everyone else’s. Commenting that “you can do really well individually, but it’s a whole lot more fun when you get to do it as a team.” 

   Overall, the team has had a solid season, and Coach Binder’s philosophies have led the Boxers to finishing with a 4-3 Northwest Conference record. On top of that, Sydnie Binder finished the regular conference with a record of 15-0 in singles and doubles. Along with her younger sister and doubles partner, Cassidy Binder, who went undefeated in doubles and 11-2 in singles. Both of them were able to achieve All-American status in the fall on top on Sydnie’s 100th career win this spring. Together, the Boxer squad was able to qualify for the Northwest Conference tournament for the first time since 2010 after their 7-2 win against Lewis & Clark College on April 14. “I hope this program just continues to grow,” says Coach Binder, “We’ve made some serious leaps and bounds in the program.” 


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