Ever since Mity Hill could walk, his father and Cohasset’s co-coach, Brian Hill, has been teaching him the game of tennis.
At first, Mity knew the basics, but he wanted to continue growing and learning as a player, so he decided to pick up court tennis, a combination of racquetball and tennis.
At 15, Hill took his first lessons in court tennis from Tony Collins, a three-time Court Tennis World Championship finalist, and started falling in love with the game.
“I’ve always been around the sport of tennis, since my dad plays,” Hill said. “At an early age, I knew tennis would be my sport, because I enjoyed the game and people around the sport.”
Brian Hill has been playing tennis his entire life, so when it came to children he was hoping to have a son so he could play in the national father and son tennis tournament.
Not only did he have one, but he had three. Mity is the youngest of the family.
Dad has enjoyed teaching his son throughout his childhood.
Now Mity Hill, as a sophomore captain, is teaching some of the Cohasset boys’ tennis players how to improve their swing or just understand the sport better.
“He loves the game so much, and it shows with the amount of time and effort he puts into the game on a daily basis,” said Daniel Varney, a senior on the team. “He definitely deserves the captain role, because he earned it with his performance and his leadership on and off the court.”
During his freshman year, Hill was the number one singles player, and he qualified to participate in the MIAA South Sectionals Singles Tournament. He lost in the first round to Dan Barrow of Franklin, but he took that loss as an opportunity to grow.
Hill said he’s working hard to not repeat the same mistakes, and the biggest thing he’s focusing on is learning the competitive nature of tennis.
He has always enjoyed hitting the ball around with his father or older brothers, because it’s not a competition, but rather a fun time with family.
On the high school team and in his time with court tennis, Mity Hill said he needs to get more comfortable with playing competitively, which will continue to grow with the more matches he plays.
Even though Hill lost in the first round of individuals, his team reached the semifinals of the MIAA South Division 3 Boys Tennis Tournament. They lost to Dover-Sherborn, who would end up losing in the state finals.
The goal for this season is simple — continue to progress from the end of last season as an individual and as a team.
Hill “gets to play with some of the best players in the state,” his father said. “It’s a great experience for him to learn from these players, so he can continue to grow.”
The biggest transition with court tennis isn’t the rules, it’s the racquets. Mity Hill said the scoring isn’t any different, but how you earn the points is. A person can learn the general rules in an hour lesson.
Court tennis has a smaller racquet that weighs more, so the focus is on hitting the sweet spot and learning to slice and top-spin a ball to catch your opponent off guard.
In regular tennis, the racquet is lighter and bigger, so it’s easier to get the ball over the net.
The sport is played by few people, but it’s expanding in the United States. Hill is ranked 13th in the junior category and currently has a 50 handicap. His goal in the next few years is to lower that handicap into the teen’s or even single digits.
During his first year with court tennis, he played in three East Coast tournaments.
The first was in New Jersey, where he played against the world’s top-ranked players, which was a great learning experience for him.
The second tournament was in Newport, R.I., a juniors tournament, and he made it to the finals, where he lost to a player from England.
That confidence led him to his first tournament win, in the Wharton Cup, also held in Newport.
Cohasset co-coach Chris Luvisi said he sees a bright future for Hill and his tennis career.
Hill wants to play for years to come, because he loves the sport too much to stay away. He’s not sure where he will attend college.
Right now, his main focus is to help his Cohasset team be successful, and to grow as an individual player.
“The best part about tennis is that anyone can start playing it, no matter what experiences they’ve had with the sport,” Hill said.
“I just hope to help more people understand the sport and fall in love with the tennis, just like I did.”
Brian Mozey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.