Bradley hopes to ace competition with newfound mentality


by Tanner Krueger, Staff Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Bursting onto the scene this season, Megan Bradley, a senior tennis player for the Storm, has gotten off to a strong start in singles play. Since coming to Simpson, Bradley is working harder than ever on her game and is off to a 5-0 record to start her singles play this season.

Going into the 2017 season, Bradley had played three years of varsity tennis for the Storm along with four years during her high school career. She played singles and doubles which she has continued throughout college.

“Last year was pretty good, I definitely improved my single record from last year,” Bradley said.

One of the reasons for her success early in the season is how she has been playing and preparing mentally which was one of her major focuses for the offseason.

“It’s a lot different going into the match knowing you’re going to be playing good opponents,” Bradley said.

She was the team’s No. 4 player last year. Now, she is the No. 2 player and is living up to her role. She expects to beat the opponents she competed against last year.

Her mentality has changed. She goes onto the court with determination and strong mindset on how she wants to perform in her matches.

Before tennis, Bradley fell in love with swimming. At 4 years old, she put all her effort into swimming. She’d have two-a-day practice, long meet days and nonstop competition. All the swimming workouts took a toll on her body.

Bradley’s body could only take so much of the stress swimming put on her. Just before high school, her back started to give out and she had to do what was best for herself.

She decided to take her talents to another individual sport: tennis.

While playing tennis with her brother at Johnston, Bradley began training hard with her private coach, Faith Bliss, head coach of the men’s team at Dowling Catholic. Since then, she has grown immensely in the sport and continues to have private lessons with Bliss.

Bliss and Bradley have put an emphasis on letting the opponent make the mistake. She keeps the ball in play and has started picking certain times to hit winner shots. This is one major component Bradley has added to her game this season which has helped her to the 5-0 start she’s experiencing.

A huge part of finding success is finding yourself. Bradley took that concept to the next level when she studied abroad, finding herself in the process.

“I went abroad for a month and I figured out more of who I am,” Bradley said.

Traveling to three countries for her study abroad trip and learning more about herself helped her better understand what she can expect as it applies to her tennis skills. She has realized how much each tennis match affects her life.

Getting upset about a hit that ended out of bounds is something that used to upset Bradley. After the study abroad trip, she has thought about the grand scheme of how tennis fits into her life and uses that experience to keep her calm at practice and in meets.

Playing alongside a freshman Carter Stacey, Bradley’s doubles team is new to her this year. In the past, she had been the younger teammate on the doubles team, but in her last season, Bradley knows she needs to be the leader.

Bradley knows firsthand how her emotions can affect how her teammate plays. Having a positive attitude helps her become the best player that she can be and, in turn, as a team with her partner.

For Bradley, the biggest goal for the rest of the season is to beat rival Central Dutch, something the team hasn’t done in the last four years. For the team, Bradley hopes to make the IIAC tournament in the spring.

The Storm will host IIAC rivals Buena Vista and Nebraska Wesleyan on Saturday.