Orange Lutheran junior Emily Thinnsen has had a tennis racquet in her hand for as long as she can remember, and growing up in a family of tennis players meant Thinnsen spent many of her younger days on the court. The three-year varsity singles player for the Lancers has learned that mental focus is a critical part of her game.
“The actual sport is more mental than anyone thinks,” says Thinnsen of tennis. “You can’t overthink. It’s knowing that you’ve got to stay with it and try your best. I have to stay really confident, not only physically, but mentally. It’s a huge mental game, and I really love it for that reason.”
Playing a sport that is individual by nature means Thinnsen values her time with her Lancer teammates and draws upon their encouragement as she competes.
“I love the support that we have,” says the 16-year old. “When I go out and play tournaments by myself outside, it’s different because it’s just me, and it’s a hard thing to be by myself. But when I’m with Orange Lutheran, I can represent the school. It’s a great feeling. It makes you want to try harder.”
As an upperclassman, Thinnsen understands that the example she sets for her younger teammates, both as a player and a leader, has a significant impact on team chemistry and performance.
“Emily is a steady, well-rounded tennis player,” says OLu head tennis coach, Flavio Rueda. “She is a player who has been getting more mature and more experienced through the seasons.”
With several musicians in her family as well, Thinnsen’s life is equal parts tennis and music, and as such, she participates as a member of OLu’s Performing Arts Academy, Creative Worship team, Honors Choir, Bel Canto and Vocal Jazz groups. Her time with Creative Worship has played an important role in the growth of her faith while at OLu.
“Creative Worship has been a great outlet for me to share my faith with my school and my peers,” says Thinnsen. “It’s a very vulnerable thing, but it’s been amazing. I’m so dedicated to wanting to spread the Word, and that’s a great way for me as a musician to do that.”
Thinnsen hopes to continue playing tennis at the collegiate level, but wherever the sport takes her, she is confident in God’s hand on the road ahead.
“Here at Orange Lutheran, they teach us very well how to use our faith in everything,” says Thinnsen. “So when it comes to sports…at the end of the day, all the glory goes to God.”