Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by barnes1172, Jan 10, 2012.
Taylor Townsend has blossomed under Rinaldi's guidance.
This is all true, but our best players at their best would still be able to compete with the best of the world's players.
I am 100% sure that Capriati in her best form would be a top 5 player in today's climate against those russian "tennis babes" and everybody else.
The reason I am so sure is that Serena in her top form is still very dominant and there wasn't that much between Serena and Capriati when Capriati was playing well.
I agree. I think that college can be a stepping stone to trying a pro career, but I definitely do not think that these top players should give up on their dream (because it's "too hard" ) without really trying.
Even if predictable. It's just true.
Time will tell how much better Grace is able to get under the USTA's guidance, but there is no denying that Grace was a great player long before she starting training under the USTA full time.
If the USTA spent a lot of that money on developing poor kids, I bet we would find the next crop of US tennis champions. Those kids are "hungry" and desperate for success.
Right now, we have a system where mostly kids of wealthy parents rise to the top of US rankings because only those families can afford to produce a top junior player.
However, that doesn't mean they have a player with great potential simply because mommy and daddy have deep pockets.
It's a no-brainer.
Also, I wouldn't say life outside the top 150 is horrible. I don't know about the ATP but I know of one WTA player who moved up the rankings steadily and had a great time doing it...traveling the world and competing.
If that is your dream, I don't think that would be a "horrible life."
I think a horrible life would be never really pursuing your life's dream because of fear.
If the USTA takes all the money out of PD - all the resources being wasted away (http://catennis.squarespace.com/most-recent/2011/11/16/ustas-focus-on-player-development.html) - and uses the money to support mid-level pros, more players are going to work hard at U12s, U14s, U16s, U18s and college. This would produce better, tougher players at every level.. Players who know that there could be a future with tennis. Currently, only 00.5796% of the total USTA revenue goes to actual individual player development..drop in a bucket...useless. They could easily give every top 500 player $20K/year; every top 300 player $30K/year. They could couple it with either a repayment plan for participating players (or have the players donate time growing the game in inner-city areas or non-tennis hotspots). Right now, only the truly well-off (or the really, really good) can afford to stay on tour and grind through the mid-levels. Problem is that, given our system, we are not producing really good players and the rich kids have no fight. Think about it...
I can sum it up a with a couple of words "desire" and those who "doubt" we don't have parent and coaches to team up with a kid who has desires to be at the top, also anytime someone says this is what I desire to do you have all the experts saying it can't be done .
The problem is , they listen to the people who doubt it can be done rather then the reality it is possible.
I agree, Jennifer would do very well today. My point is that I do not there are other Capriatis out there who went to college instead of the professionals. If they are that good at that young age they would not ever end up in college.
I think you are way off base. In our families years in juniors we have known plenty of kids who were only focused on the pros with full family support. They lived and died for tennis and had no doubts at all. A few were interviewed as local prodigies and all said they would be # one in the entire world. They trained as hard as possible and took their tennis as far as they could. This happens all over the USA but at some point they reach their level in tennis. Out of all those USA kids we have some Ryan Harrison and Jack Sock types who get nicely ranked. Some day one of these kids will be the next American wonder player. So please know your student is not the only kid focused on being number one and many USA kids are going for it. Most of them reach a certain level and stop there but they go for it 100 percent. My nephew knows Chi Chi Scholl who never thought of anything but the pros since she was little and she has made it to 164 rank. In 3 years even with that ranking she has made only $46000 which is $15000 per year so of course she is losing lots of money. Lots of USA kids have gone for it over the years and will continue to do it.
This all sounds nice but is not going to do anything really. Like I said the USA public needs top 10 players who are real threats to win grand slam championships. Those are the only players who will get sponsored by the big companies and be stars. Sorry but those type of players will not come from grinding it out in the low level pros. Nadal and Federer and all the star tennis players made large jumps once they were later teens. The odds of a player grinding it out for years and then being a superstar the USA needs is so small it is not realistic to aim your USTA money that way. I do agree the USTA could do more to help more of the young players but the next kid good enough to the Tiger Woods of USA tennis will shoot like a super nova onto the scene as a 17 or 18 year old, probably be top 100 young and then into the top 20 very fast. None of the top 10 players spend much time at ranking 500 or even 300, well maybe it happens but would be pretty rare. We have something like 35 top 500 guy players right now and having 50 instead will not make a difference, anyone good enough to be top 10 will move quickly. I will give you Mardy Fish taking his time but that was due to some issues he had with work ethic and other things so it was not the grinding that made him top 10. In fact he might have been better off maturing in college and then his rise up the pros might have been fast.
You're completely missing the point...it's not about helping a couple of players here and there for the next 1-2 years. It's about sending a message to parents and juniors that we take tennis seriously...that if you try hard in the Jrs, there will be a guaranteed support system down the road. That support system is going to produce a higher level of play at every step. In 6-8 years, we will have a handful of lions ready to attack the top-30, top-10 (simply because the competition will have been tougher throughout juniors). Europeans have the club system and the federation system to rely upon. They know that if they get to a certain level, they are taken care of..even minimally. We don't have that. Our players give up (and aim for college) without giving themselves a proper shot to succeed. Even those who have hunger and desire cannot support the $100K a year that it takes just to compete..so we keep aiming for lower and lower levels and then complain why there are so many foreigners in D-1. Or we can keep doing the same thing and hope for a better result...
I think you are mistaken of why we have few superstars now. Our wonderful athletic children are drawn to other sports, tennis is down on the list in USA but is right after soccer in some other countries. Lots of players get support in USA, I know coaches who train them for free and make sure the USTA knows who they are. You are shooting the wrong target, the target should be trying to get great little athletes to play tennis but why would they? They can go down to the corner and play basketball with their friends and they see famous basketball players on TV all the time. Like I said coaches who trained our kids and others look out for prodigies and they get support. Sorry to say this but most of the children who would have a chance to the lions you want may be playing different sports. Europeans love tennis more than we do so they can we can convince their children to play it more than we can do that. Kids good enough to be top professionals would not give up anyway and I bet their coach or parents would tell the USTA about them and they would end up supported. Just because a player aims for college would not mean they would be good enough to be top professionals because their talent would become obvious at a young age.
I know your reference was basketball.
But, let us take those same kids...
Perhaps in Florida or California, you can go down the corner and play tennis.
But, in the NE, you can't go down the corner and find a free, open, indoor court. It doesn't exist.
Chi Chi stayed with me for a week this last year , I talk with her at length about this subject , I won't speak on what my thoughts of what she was doing was right or wrong but did notice one thing she was traveling alone which told me a lot.
Like I said you need a team around the athlete and all this must start being part of the process from the beginning. I will give you and example the work they are doing at 10-12needs to be "very" hard with a follow up of regular massages and stretching, this normally does not happen.
regular massages and stretching.. ?? you might have something here.. I know some young Asian golfer who get massages all the time and they are doing good.. they train hard and it keeps those injuries away(that's what they tell me)
I think you raise a good point. There is not much transitional help for players looking to transition out of juniors into the pros, so it becomes almost an impossibility unless the player is among the select few chosen by the USTA to give support of the player has wealthy benefactors.
Otherwise, it can be a lonely and expensive road trying to move out of the pro circuit onto the WTA or ATP level tournaments.
I would be great if there was some stuctured support in place for people trying to do that from the USTA.
What would also be great is if the prize money was more equitably distributed to the first few rounds of tournaments and to the lower level tournaments.
I think if you win a pro circuit level 10,000 tournament, you get around 1 WTA point and maybe 1,000 dollars, That certainly is not enough to cover travel expenses and training for that tournament.
If the money was shifted a little more downward so that these women and men are making enough to survive and train, we might see more people able to make some moves onto the respective tours.
I am not saying the "journeyman" player should get rich, but they should be able to make enough to train, travel to the next tournie, save a little and not have to live like paupers just scraping by.
Yea, I like your idea. How about the USTA giving...say 50% discounts on entry tournament fees for kids who are in the top 10 of their rankings, be it sectional or national rankings and events. In the sectional my daughter plays in, they give out grants for kids of modest means, but you need to provide proof of income and whatnot.
I disagree...I don't think that our struggles in producing top-10 players is due to lack of athleticism. Tennis is more about skill (which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop) than anything else. Athleticism can be developed as part of the process. I believe that our problems stem from the fact that most players/parents do not see a pro career as feasible. So they half-*** the development and think that college is going to act some sort of a stepping stone. If more players, beginning with U10, U12, etc. believe that there's a slightly better than remote chance of being able to play pro due to support from the USTA, they will try harder in the initial stages - thereby producing tougher and higher quality players at every stage. Eventually, a group of world-beaters will bubble through.
Exactly...and I'm not even saying that the support should be a "hand-out"...it could be coupled with a repayment scheme or the agreement of the recipient to donate time and grow the game...send the message to future players that tennis is a great sport and that if you try hard enough and get good enough, you are not alone. Economically, the USTA would be in the exact same position..of course, the P/D freeloaders would have to get real jobs...and, yes, more money (even expenses for JR tournaments) would go a long way towards growing the game.
I think the thing that separates tennis from other sports is not the skill or athleticism that is required for the sport. All sports require that. I think it is the mental factor.
It's one against one. You get to see your new ranking published every week or so. Sure there is dual meet competition in track and swimming....but the opponent in those sports is the inanimate clock as much as it is another individual. Maybe wrestling comes close.
Skill and athleticism are out there for all to see. It is much more difficult, I think, to develop and assess the mental prerequisites for a successful career at the highest levels of competitive tennis
Well, tennis might be right after soccer in the USA, too.
Yes, that is an awesome idea. If support was tied to an individual later on mentoring x number of upcoming junior players, that would serve dual purposes and result in helping develop a really strong US development model.
Agreed. I believe that, with proper coaching, technical, mental, tactical and athletic qualities can be developed. This all takes time and money. Tennis is too advanced to believe that some inner-city kid with little or no coaching (but heaps of athleticism) will make it far. It's a business where all human components need to be developed like clockwork.
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