Reconsideration of USTA Junior Competition Changes

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by TennisNola, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. TennisNola

    TennisNola New User

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    #1
  2. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Special Announcement:

    WOW....... Did the USTA hear the uprising... Can I venture to guess that the Taylor Townsend debacle is giving them pause?
    Junior Tennis in this country might be saved after all :)

    NEWS & FEATURES

    Special Announcement
    Reconsideration of USTA Junior Competition Changes
    by TennisRecruiting.net, 20 September 2012

    Tennis Recruiting received the following communication on Thursday afternoon, September 20, 2012.



    http://tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?id=1543

    This week, a group of people concerned with junior tennis - Steve Bellamy, Robert Sasseville and Kevin Kempin - were able to spend several hours speaking with USTA leadership (i.e., Dave Haggerty, Gordon Smith, Kurt Kamperman) about the planned upcoming changes to USTA Junior Competition. That group is pleased to say that there was a very open and candid exchange of ideas.

    The group shared many, if not all, of its concerns about the proposed new competitive structure, and the USTA definitely listened. The group also got a better understanding of the USTA's long-term objectives for making these changes. Long story short, the group requested that the USTA hit the "pause button" for the 2013-2014 junior comp changes before instituting them. That approach would obviously come with some procedural challenges for the USTA, but the USTA was open to the recommendation and said they will discuss it internally and give it full consideration.

    In addition, the USTA acknowledged that, moving forward, they wanted to seek input from a broader group of constituents, i.e. parents, college coaches, and tournament directors. To that end, the USTA will be getting back to the group with some suggestions. All in all, the feeling is that the meetings with the USTA were very productive, and the group believes that everyone should hit the "pause button" for a short time to allow the USTA to come back with their plans for moving forward. Recognizing that time is of the essence, the group expects to hear back from the USTA within the next two weeks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #2
  3. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    Time to guess PMac's username!
     
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  4. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    -------------------
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #4
  5. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

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    ----------------------
     
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  6. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Thank you USTA for listening!
     
    #6
  7. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Could someone please define what "opportunities" means in the context of this discussion?
     
    #7
  8. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    I believe it's the cumulative numbers of draw sizes of all level 1,2,3 tournaments scheduled in that age group.
     
    #8
  9. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    An opportunity to play in a tournament. 128 draw = 128 opportunities.
     
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  10. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    So the draw sizes will add up to an odd number in some of the age groups?
     
    #10
  11. jrtennis

    jrtennis New User

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    Exactly. The number of spots available in level 1, 2 and 3 tournaments. Thank God the USTA seems to be listening.
     
    #11
  12. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    Colette Lewis (as posted above):

    No one has asked me, but I would much rather the USTA go to the standard worldwide tennis format of qualifying tournaments immediately preceding any and all major national events. If the majority of selections are made by sectional endorsements/rankings and a national ranking list, I would be delighted to see a 128-draw with 16 qualifiers, just like the US Open, here in Kalamazoo for the boys 16 and 18 Nationals.


    I could get on board with something like this. But I wonder if it would satisfy the three main areas of concern with the current changes, as stated by others?

    1. Not enough family travel opportunities to National tournaments
    2. Inconvenience and expense for college recruiters
    3. Not enough variety of opponents
     
    #12
  13. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    I wonder who came up with THAT brilliant idea :rolleyes:
     
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  14. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    I do enjoy reading the comments on articles on Zoo Tennis.
    Here is the comment from this article:

    They govern themselves, commentate on their players, and coach their players against other members.
    Judging by their players record and ...mostly behavior on court, there is very little regulation or results.

    We the masses really loathe the USTA.
    We really do.
    We have so much ammunition it's just makes skeptics out of the best of us


    I couldn't pass this by.....
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #14
  15. jrtennis

    jrtennis New User

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    Yes there will be odd numbers in one age group (16s, i think) because of the allotment that group gets for the new "grand masters" is uneven
     
    #15
  16. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    BG18s 3232 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2432 in 2012 -> 542 in 2014
    Only 16.77% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2690 opportunities – or a decrease of 83.23%

    B16s 3104 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2432 in 2012 -> 583 in 2014
    Only 18.78% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2521 opportunities – or a decrease of 81.22%

    G16s 3072 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2432 in 2012 -> 583 in 2014
    Only 18.75% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2489 opportunities – or a decrease of 81.25%

    B14s
    2944 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2304 in 2012 -> 580 in 2014
    Only 19.70% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2364 opportunities – or a decrease of 80.30%

    G14s 2976 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2304 in 2012 -> 580 in 2014
    Only 19.49% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2396 opportunities – or a decrease of 80.51%

    BG12s 2656 national opportunities in 2009 -> 2304 in 2012 -> 416 in 2014
    Only 15.66% of the opportunities will remain in 2014 vs. 2009
    This is a reduction of 2240 opportunities – or a decrease of 84.34%


    Folks, what is very important to note here in these numbers,
    is that some of the tournaments have been lost forever,
    unless the USTA goes back to the system before 2010.
     
    #16
  17. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Never, never saw this coming: "The feeling is that the meetings with the USTA were very productive, and the group believes that everyone should hit the "pause button" for a short time to allow the USTA to come back with their plans for moving forward. Recognizing that time is of the essence, the group expects to hear back from the USTA within the next two weeks." Read more here and post your <hopefully positive> comment: http://tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?I
    d=1543
     
    #17
  18. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I am inclined to wait two weeks before I get excited....we'll see what happens...
     
    #18
  19. tball2day

    tball2day Semi-Pro

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    ..........................
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
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  20. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Also, it's not clear to me that it was USTA that released this statement, or if was it the group that met with them. On tennis recruiting site it does not say who the communication was from, and it seems to be written from the perspective of the group who met with them, not the USTA. Might be an attempt by Steve Bellamy, Robert Sasseville and Kevin Kempin to put pressure on USTA.
     
    #20
  21. Tcbtennis

    Tcbtennis Professional

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    According to Collete, "As I understand it, the statement was approved for release by the USTA, but it was not supplied by them."
     
    #21
  22. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    It sounds to me like all three concerns would be satisfied:

    1. You can travel to the qualifying rounds. Someone could object that a family does not know whether their child will make it to the main draw, so they don't know how many nights to book at a hotel, but they don't know exactly how far in the current draw their child will get, in any tournament, so this is nothing new and works the same for any tournament format.

    2. Some college recruiters are only after the very top players. They don't show up for round 1 at Kalamazoo today, and won't show up for the qualifying rounds in the future. Other recruiters know they cannot sign the top 20-30 players, so they will show up for the qualifying rounds but will probably save money by leaving before the main draw concludes, which they probably do today, as well.

    3. Because players from all over the nation will descend on Kalamazoo and the Clay Courts for qualifying rounds, there will be a variety of opponents there, just like there is a variety of opponents in the early rounds of the current Clay Courts and Kalamazoo.
     
    #22
  23. Misterbill

    Misterbill Semi-Pro

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    I generally concur with this.

    1. I really don't understand the complaint here, even though I respect that a lot of people have it, so hard for me to figure what would satisfy. Unless people really need to fly or drive to THE NATIONAL TOURNAMENT, I think this would provide good tourist and family time opportunities.

    2. Heartily agree!!!!!!

    3. Heartily agree!!!!!!

    PS. Didn't you come up with the qualifier idea in some thread here last week?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    #23
  24. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

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    Sorry but these numbers are fishy.

    It's very deceiving and disingenuous to count the regional tourneys in the 2012 totals and ignore them 2014. I just looked at the numbers and came up with 1,298 for 18s. It discredits those that would put these forward.

    National:
    96 (Feb L2)
    128 (Easter bowl ITF closed)
    128 (Clays)
    6 (July Team)
    128 (Hards)
    12 (Oct Gr Masters)
    96 (Nov L2)
    64 (Dec Team)

    Regional (counted before so should count now)
    128 (Feb L4)
    128 (May L3)
    128 (July L3 or L4)
    128 (Oct L3)
    128 (Nov L4)

    Total 1298
     
    #24
  25. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    It is good that our voices are being heard and considered

    Originally Posted by HIGH-TECH TENNIS in related thread USTA needs more NAt'l Tournaments not less...
    to 10S4US---I didn't create the petition, I don't know who did, the customer who asked us to forward it did so because they want to notify other parents ... please understand that we have been and continue to be strongly opposed to the changes. However, there appears to be NOTHING that anyone can do to prevent them from taking effect. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

    10s4US replies
    NO.....
    THANK YOU
    The petition serves as a documented mandate, as a voice to amend 2014changes that the USTA can not deny. It is a mandate from the USTA membership and affiliates served and serving to give access and input to the decision making process and structure to the USTA membership and affiliates served and serving where the USTA system needs be more receptive,open and transparent.
    ....This forum provides an illuminating communication source to inform and network
    As far as a DONE Deal 2011 is DONE, 2012 is on its way yet serves to
    provide evidence/case studies of the changes negative effects of reduced natl opportunities and participation despite the desire for more by players,parents,coaches,directors
    There IS still hope and time to amend changes to 2014 and open up access to participate in input and decision making process by membership served
    by MEDIA blitz, high profile celebrity support the current
    by Understanding ,working within, and modifying the USTA system
    (2 meetings a year, special meetings can be called)
    to be continued...

    It is encouraging that the USTA executives are listening and holding discussions with major experienced John Q coaches,parents,players,directors, industry leaders such as Bellamy(coach,parent, facility director, Tennis Channel Founder),Sasseville(tournament director), and Kempkin (industry)

    Hopefully basic economic principles of supply and demand, economies of scale, and social/political principles of freedoms of choice and self determination which have been negatively impacted can be highlighted and drive the dsicussions towards some pause and adjustments to changes.

    It will be interesting to see what can and or will be done by this USTA group.
     
    #25
  26. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Another option would be to run 128 slot L3 or L4 tournament for BG16-18 at the same dates and locations as Summer L1s.
     
    #26
  27. dallasoliver

    dallasoliver Rookie

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    The statement was written by the above group of people, but the USTA made some small edits and approved the message for distribution.

    Best,
    Dallas
     
    #27
  28. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    While you pose a related qualification these numbers are neither fishy,deceiving, disingenuos,nor discrediting for reasons that you stated
    While a few nat'l points are still gven in 2014, players are restricted to play only in their regions, unlike 2012 where a player can enter any where of choice in the country thus the regionals in 2014 are no longer nat'l opportunities
    The regionals do not qualify to nationalslike Little MO
     
    #28
  29. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

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    I believe this is the plan for Clays already. Could add same for Hards. Also, I think they've heard a lot of feedback to open up the regionals to everyone again - so I wouldn't be surprised if that is one change/concession. (10s4US - If they did that, then would you say those 640 spots count?)
     
    #29
  30. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Thanks, that makes sense.
     
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  31. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    We really need to discuss how proposed 2014 Nat. schedule can be improved to satisfy various participants instead of crying about what was there in 2009. Not all their changes are bad. I like qualification for big events through local play. I do not see anything wrong with running multiple level events at the same time (and at the same locations for older age groups to simplify recruiting). Nothing wrong with the idea that everyone should play at their own level. My daughter who practices 6 hours a week does not necessarily need to play against somebody who practices 6 hours a day. But maybe she should have opportunities to play against somebody like her from another part of the country when school is off.
     
    #31
  32. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I agree.

    I think most of the objections to the changes revolve around couple areas, such as,

    The draw sizes are just too small. Increase the draw sizes. Recognize that all ranking systems are imperfect, that there are inequities between sections, etc., so err on inclusivity not exclusivity. You shouldn't have to be best player in a three state area to got to to the next level.

    Acknowledge the birth day problem. All Levels 1 are in summer now, except for the elite tea parties. Let them have there tea parties, but bring back winter nationals, or keep Easter bowl as full size event, not an elite 32 event.
     
    #32
  33. tennisgene

    tennisgene Banned

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    I think UstA will do the right thing
     
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  34. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    Yes,
    Follow the USTA mission statement to grow the game of tennis
    Give everyone a chance to compete at multi levels, nationally as well, fairly
    by earning it.
    The existing structure is OK and can be improved by going back to 64 draw Nat opens or do qualiies for
    or use Level 4's or 3's for qualies or way back to qualifying locally
    Ther are Good New ideas moving forward such as sweet 16's, masters, and add training workshops for more kids than just the elite elite, increasing sectional quotas within section strength factors, fine but utilize reasonable wild card #'s and factors with specific accountable guidelines based on his level like the kid is a succcessful highly ranked ITF player doing only a few NAts/locals now or was injured and top ranked before, top ranked in lower age playing up etc which is the current criteria..,
    In general try a few new adjustements without drastically limiting nat'l opportunities. Let our kids play.
     
    #34
  35. jrtennis

    jrtennis New User

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    The numbers posted on Zoo Tennis are not "fishy, deceiving or disingenuous."
    Let's take a real simple look at 2012 vs. 2014 levels 1-3 without including sectionals, grand masters, sweet sixteens or team championships. I'm going to use 14s because they are simplest and the numbers are most favorable to the USTA side (clay and hard courts draw sizes reain the same). 2012 numbers are also more favorable to the USTA than those of years past.
    2012: 512 opportunities in level 1s, 512 in 2s, 1280 in 3s.
    2014: 288 in 1s, 256 in 2s, 384 in 3s.
    As you can see, it is still a massive cut in playing opportunities to about 40% of where they are today. Combine that, in many cases, with smaller sectional draws and the difference is even more dramatic.
     
    #35
  36. BirdieLane

    BirdieLane New User

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    You are making my point. Don't say it's 580 when, according to your numbers, its 928. A reduction to be sure...but no need to exaggerate to that extent.

    Further, new L4s regionals are out-of-section opportunities that should definitely be counted because they will be a great place for the player who is a top sectional player but who is consistently a "2 and out" L1 player. They can go deep in these events. (But note that 25% will still go "2 and out") So hopefully, a strong sectional player can get out of the section and hopefully see a step-up in competition but not fly home having been able to count games won on one hand.

    With that, said, here's my count of 14s in 2014:

    Feb: 92 L2 + 128 L4
    Mar/Apr: 32 L1
    May: 16 L1 + 128 L3
    July:
    128 ClayL1 + 128 L4 (I think they made a mistake and called this L3)
    70 IntersL1 + 225 ZonalL3
    Aug: 128 HardL1
    Oct: 16 L1 + 128 L3 (Plus 4? for grand masters?)
    Nov: 92 L2 + 128 L4
    Dec: 32 TeamL1 + 32 TeamL2

    Maybe I'm off a little or missed something but thats what I get. Adding up and you get: 1900 OUT-OF-SECTION playing opportunities.

    Even just counting L1-3 like you did, I get 1035 so we're close, but both clearly a lot higher than 580 claimed in the above numbers....that's my point.

    Broken down like this:
    L1 (or L1A..whatever that means): 426
    L2: 128
    L3: 481
    L4: 256

    As far as USTA reconsidering. I do hope they open the L3/4 regionals up so you can play at any of the sites and could maybe add a L3 or L4 concurrent with Easters...but beyond that, I've always been willing to at least see how this plays out.

    I think it gives a player more concrete achievement steps. I.e. first feather is to work hard and get a shot at a L4 or L3. Double your efforts and then you can hold head high that you made a L2. Work triple hard and MAYBE you can make easter bowl cut (assume that will be about #50-60 or so??). And what if you work triple or quadruple hard and DON'T make Easter32 cutoff? Great!! You still had that goal and you worked your hardest for it...or maybe you didn't turn over every stone?..so try again!

    Versus right now, you can be ranked #200+, but you pretty much get to do 'everything' - yet you don't really have what it takes to go deep nationally. So you just fly to clays and hards and even winters and you happily "participate".

    But in 2014, guess, what? You might might need a ranking of #150 to get into the L2. And you might need a ranking of #60 to get into Easter. Well...now you have some work to do and some concrete goals beyond 'participation'.

    I have kids playing at different levels. I'm looking forward to seeing if my weaker kids can make it regionals and if my strongest player works double/triple/quadruple hard to 'make' some of these new levels of play. (Noting that even if the goal of Easters or whatever is not obtained, the truly important thing is the double/triple determination and effort trying to get there)

    My observation with kids and sports is that if they are truly passionate and there is a goal that is a little out of reach, they will "turn it on" and push very hard to achieve it...but the kid who is a 'lock' for tryouts (or national selection) will not have the same urgency to improve. (clearly theres a few exceptions, but this is a good generalization that I've seen play out over and over.)
     
    #36
  37. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    We've been too busy to even think about the fact that this whole issue is being revisited...and I'm certainly in favor of anything extra consideration of what I thought was a "done deal" (since I read that Lew Brewer used those exact words, if I recall)...but do I think we're gonna get a "oh, well, just nevermind all those changes?" NO---I really doubt that. Then again, I know nothing about it and really am sick of the whole topic, aren't you? ;) Wish they'd just let tennis players play tennis and let the parents make choices about what's best for THEIR children!!!
     
    #37
  38. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    #38
  39. klu375

    klu375 Semi-Pro

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    Translated from corporate speak this is a clear mandate to the Composer(s) to go back to the piano and produce a better piece of music. Nevertheless JCC and PD did an outstanding job!:) And CEOs made this letter public - King cares about his people, long live the King!
     
    #39
  40. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    Numbers of Nat'l opportunities reduced

    Whatever and However parents/players spin their nat'l opportunities is a personal perogative/perspective, but THE POINT IS THEY NEED TO BE THERE
    IN ORDER TO Allow each of us to choose THEIR CHOICE OF WHAT TO DO WITH and EXPERIENCE THE NAt'L Opportunities
    Again, restricted regionals are not NAt'l as proposed for 2014.
    and is not counted as such. and you are getting the point by thinking hmm.. maybe they should open it up as a nat'l evnt and allow US to make the choice

    MORE IMPORTANTLY
    Thank you to those that took the time to present the facts that
    NUMBERS of NAT'L OPPORTUNITIES ARE BEING AND WILL BE REDUCED
    DRASTICALLY IN 2014
     
    #40
  41. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Don't pop the champagne yet........

    Has anyone read the letter that the USTA lawyers wrote.........

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0By9sEF9wNPH-M2RRcEVFcnlaNFk/preview?pli=1


    I tried to copy it in here, but guess what, this letter can not be copied.


    Statements like,

    "There has been no representation, implicit or explicit, that changes will be made."

    make we wonder if there will be anything changed back that will be meaningful....
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
    #41
  42. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Raise your hand if you're surprised...
     
    #42
  43. 10s4US

    10s4US New User

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    For full context....
    The letter from USTA execs, current chair and incoming chair to Jr Committee
    continues.......

    "However it is certainly possible modifications may be appropriate and or that parts of the schedule of implementation may need to be adjusted.
    The goal of everyone is to work towards a system which we can align behind as we look to the future with many times the #'s of participants as we have today."

    So here the USTA execs are positioning that there are no changes that will be made(guaranteed)or(committed to yet)
    However "Modifications" might be appropriate
    and or parts of "schedule of implementation" an opening for timeline "pause"

    They are positively acknowledging the universal goal of a system where we can support a future of more participation than today.

    So the # of nat'l opportunities charts were and are being heaviliy considered
    and is a primary centerpoint.
     
    #43
  44. hound 109

    hound 109 Rookie

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    I agree with this.

    (my only other major beef is the arbitrary "regional" tournaments which prevent my kid from competing in Little Rock (6 hours away but in a different region) & instead playing in Minn or Ohio (which are IN our goofy arbitrary region).
     
    #44
  45. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    True. If they are going to stay with the principle of you have to play within your own region, I think they need a minimum of six regions(3 sections per region except one 2 section region), or preferably eight(2 sections per region except two that have three sections. Then they can keep the 'principle' of advancing from section to region to national, but with more regions you can make some geographical sense, although there will always be cases of people who live on the 'edge' of ther region. The same thing happens now with sections.
     
    #45
  46. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Foreshadowing of what is to come?

    THIS IS A LETTER ON ZOO TENNIS....

    ( Is JB really PMac?)

    JB said...
    This is my first attempt to “blog” so please excuse me if I make do not write in the correct format. I have been involved with this issue for many years--as a director of a junior academy, as an NCAA Division One coach, and as a tournament director for a National Championship. I am not yet a parent of a national junior, but I am a parent and I understand the passion we all feel in regards to our kids. So, in other words, I feel I have a good grasp of the issues surrounding this proposed schedule and I would like to throw in a few thoughts:

    1. Some of the postings I have read have acted as if the USTA didn’t ask for or listen to parents, coaches and players before they came up with this proposal. That is 100% untrue! There have been taskforces, committees, town hall meetings & open forums, etc. for over 10 years regarding the tournament structure.

    2. I think everyone realizes that the tournament system is not efficient and it is not producing the number and quality of top players that all of us would like to see. When 90% of the USTA’s operating revenue comes from the US Open and top Americans sell tickets & sponsorships, this is important!

    3. The USTA, whether you like them or not, is the governing body of our sport. Everything they do is to promote the sport and to grow the sport. Nobody on the staff or on USTA committees is trying to force decisions, they are simply trying to make the system better!

    4. Lastly, unless something changes with the USTA bylaws and structure, this new tournament proposal can’t be “paused” or thrown out. There might be ways to slow the implementation or to alter a few things, but instead of trying to get this stopped, why don’t we all try and add some constructive comments and build a new tournament structure that will produce results!

    My quick thoughts for improvement of the structure are as follows:

    1. The best argument for keeping the 192 draw can be made for the 18’s. These kids have grown up with the current structure and it is wrong to change it on them in their last year of juniors. Plus, college coaches need to have an opportunity to watch players compete, and the National Championships have always been their best place to do that. So, leave the Boys and Girls 18’s as is for now.

    2. For all of the other National Championships, keep the 128 draw. There needs to be consistency throughout all of the age divisions, eventually even the 12’s. If the 10 and Under initiative that the USTA is championing works, then they are going to need 128 draws in the 12’s in the near future.

    3. The idea of a qualifying tournament, to me, does not make a lot of sense. It is just keeping the same format and calling it something different. With the new structure, Sectional Championships will qualify one player and then each Section can decide how to distribute their other quota spots. If a Section would like to hold a qualifier then they can, but we don’t need to have players flying in to these National Championships for a chance of qualifying.

    4. On the Winter Nationals, I agree. There has always been a national tournament that time of year and there is no reason not to offer something when kids are out of school. I like USTA team event concept, so keep that, but then run the Winter Nationals for the others.

    5. Having 6, or even 8 regions I agree makes more sense. Kids need to have opportunities to compete against players outside of their section but shouldn’t have to travel so far to do it. And make these Regionals a big deal, so kids feel as if they are playing a National event!

    Lastly, we need to all step back and look at the big picture here. We all want the same thing. For one reason or another, we love the sport of tennis, we love the positive impact it has had on us and our kids, and we want our kids to have the best opportunity to succeed! Let’s all agree on that and have some positive exchanges of ideas!
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2012
    #46
  47. Mitch Bridge

    Mitch Bridge Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    145
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    1. Some of the postings I have read have acted as if the USTA didn’t ask for or listen to parents, coaches and players before they came up with this proposal. That is 100% untrue! There have been taskforces, committees, town hall meetings & open forums, etc. for over 10 years regarding the tournament structure.

    2. I think everyone realizes that the tournament system is not efficient and it is not producing the number and quality of top players that all of us would like to see. When 90% of the USTA’s operating revenue comes from the US Open and top Americans sell tickets & sponsorships, this is important!

    3. The USTA, whether you like them or not, is the governing body of our sport. Everything they do is to promote the sport and to grow the sport. Nobody on the staff or on USTA committees is trying to force decisions, they are simply trying to make the system better!

    Comment on #1. I have traveled extensively with tournament kids locally, sectionally and nationally for 20 years. I have taught over 100 nationally ranked kids and been to 20+ tournaments a year. I have raised two sons that have played extensively all over the US, and I heard of these changes only after they were finalized. It had to be very secretive for me to not have heard ANYTHING about these changes talking endlessly to parents, coaches, officials and players in the states that we competed in: California, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Utah, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, South Dakota, Alabama, DC, and others I am sure.

    #2. Tournament systems aren't here to produce top champions at a national level. The tournament system that was in place did a much better job at giving young juniors a system to compete in that put the US kids back on track with the top tennis countries by eliminating the start system. This doubled the amount of matches kids played by chasing points, which is how the pros and ITF systems are set up. The US needs top players, but in the men's game we don't attract top athletes, so we won't have top players until we can steal some talent from football and basketball. More Americans will watch with more American men stars, but the Open is gaining in success year over year, so we still watch the stars even if they are European. Tennis is the 5th largest viewing sport in US and 4th globally, so we are in the right game!

    #3. It appears that board members are trying to put their STAMP on significant changes in the tournament system that they are not incredibly familiar with. There can be a grandiose mentality of helping a problem-in this case "save US tennis-by creating even bigger problems by not being in touch with your subject matter on a daily basis.
     
    #47
  48. treeman10

    treeman10 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Messages:
    514
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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
    #48
  49. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,290
    Latest Update:

    Open Letter to the United States Tennis Industry:

    http://tennisinsiders.com/?post_type=featured_story&p=1323

    As many of you know, significant changes were made to the USTA National Junior Tennis Tournament schedule earlier this year, changes that are scheduled for implementation in the near term. As you likely know, those changes were not enthusiastically received by many constituencies within the US tennis industry and a large group of people from various sectors of the American tennis world, both USTA and non-USTA, have come together to discuss these changes.

    Last month, various industry executives representing this group met with USTA executives on numerous occasions to reexamine the changes. The USTA and its Junior Competition Committee invested a significant amount of time, money and effort into their plan and were gracious to allow these meetings to take place. Despite the large investment to get the plan designed and approved, these top USTA Executives were truly concerned with making sure that people from the tennis industry at large were heard and their opinions were vetted.

    While these discussions were going on, we asked those in the tennis industry who were frustrated by the changes to hold off on the public negativity that had become commonplace. That ”pause period” ends today, but, unfortunately, the discussions with the USTA are still not complete. Both sides have worked in earnest during this time period and although there is nothing to report in terms of a pausing the changes to the national tournament calendar or any amendments to the plan, both sides have agreed to meet again in person in Chicago on October 21st. That meeting will involve a group of the top executives of the USTA and some of the signatories to this letter, a diverse group of “tennis people” who have been involved for months in these discussions and who are dedicated to doing their best to represent the many opinions that exist.

    We believe that the management of the USTA truly wants what’s best for tennis and for kids who play competitively. We therefore respectfully request that this pause in speaking negatively about the changes, the USTA and the Junior Competition Committee continue. Of course, we live in a free country, but we truly believe that headway is being made and that it is in the best interests of tennis for everyone to be patient. We believe that by the beginning of November we will have something to share, whether that may be a “pause” to the changes, an amendment to the approved plan or an effort to reach out to a larger constituency to further discuss the future of junior tennis competition in the United States.

    We understand that many of you may feel compelled to take action because this has been such a sensitive matter for so many, for so long. We thank you in advance for listening and for being patient as we try to help make sure the industry at large is heard in the matter. If there is anything we have learned during this process, it is that everyone seems to have the best interests of the game in mind; it is just that sincere opinions differ on the best solutions.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Bellamy

    Kevin Kempin

    Robert Sasseville

    Sean Hannity

    Antonio Mora


    ZOO TENNIS: ( Letter above cited below in Zoo article).

    http://tenniskalamazoo.blogspot.com/

    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2012
    Update on USTA Junior Competition Changes

    The "pause button" that has been discussed regarding the USTA Junior Competition changes passed last March is still a possibility, but there is no official word from the USTA about any specific alterations after the two-week period mentioned in the initial release from the tennis industry group leading the discussion with the USTA.

    Steve Bellamy, the founder of the Tennis Channel and parent of four junior players, has been among those discussing the changes, and he asked me to pass along this update, which includes another USTA meeting date later this month, in this signed letter on the Tennis Insiders website.

    Bellamy added:

    "The USTA went through a lot to decide on this new format and we are appreciative and respect the amount of time and energy they put into this," he said. "But not everyone is going to agree on everything and there were a significant amount of players, parents, coaches, tournament directors, officials, agents, tennis media and tennis insiders in the US tennis industry who were ardently opposed to the changes.

    An unhealthy paradigm started to evolve so Kevin, myself and a few others with existing relationships at the USTA volunteered to broker discussions to see if the shared perspectives from all the constituencies in tennis could not be more included in the final outcome for the kids. We are a fragmented industry with diverse opinion. USTA Executives have been incredibly respectful to listen to the industry at large balanced against respecting all the time and effort that went into their plan. Looking forward to the 21st."
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
    #49

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