USTA High performance coaches quitting

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by willshot, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    I've heard from the grapevine that 4 of them recently left the USTA. Wonder whats going on...... maybe you can't blame them for leaving.
     
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  2. mrmo1115

    mrmo1115 Hall of Fame

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    Do you know which coaches left?
     
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  3. gauchotennis

    gauchotennis New User

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    Definitely would like to know who has left, is this at Carson or Boca ?
     
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  4. dannythomas

    dannythomas Semi-Pro

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    I hope it's the coaches involved in the talent id program so someone can be brought in to choose kids on ability and talent instead of who you know in the USTA. Patrick Mcenroe and his team should have been fired long ago. Look at the complete absence of any young high level US players on the pro tour with any remote chance of getting into the top 10 or on the WTA tour the top 30. But then I almost forgot Quick Start will change all that. The whole of US tennis structure needs to be re- thought if there is any chance of competing with the Europeans.
     
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  5. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I wish they would scrap the entire high performance nonsense. Throwing millions at a few select kids is silly. The USTA should support tennis, grow the game, and make tournaments and local coaching as affordable as possible. If a kid proves to be a true talent then pay for their private coach or an existing academy to train them further.
     
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  6. gauchotennis

    gauchotennis New User

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    TennisCoach,
    you are right on the money. The talent ID portion of the USTA has never been developed properly. You would have to go into rural areas, inner cities all over really and develop a talent pool of athletes, no matter what race, socioeconomic level or what have you.

    The very best players are the ones who start early with the best coaching and have drive.
     
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  7. willshot

    willshot Semi-Pro

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    i agree.... the usta stinks in this department. It seems like theres been too much of a corporate political game than anything. Alot of very talented kids can use the help......

    dilouie and hugo are 2 of the 4 that are no longer there.
     
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  8. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    TennisCoachFla - You should apply for a job at the USTA. This is the best I have ever heard this stated & you did it in 60 words. If you implemented this, you would save the USTA millions of dollars (or redirect those funds better) & do a better job than they are doing.

    I hope the USTA is reading these boards.
     
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  9. mackimac

    mackimac New User

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    I think we need to look at the college park tennis center and take notes from those guys. They seem to be doing a great job and its non profit and good for tennis.
     
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  10. mackimac

    mackimac New User

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    speaking of that I saw Pasha play at Kalamazoo. that kid is not very good wasted alot of money on him
     
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  11. tenniscrazed

    tenniscrazed Guest

    I think College Park is a "USTA regional center". So maybe they have looked at them already.

    He's not the only one, from the 14s on so much money is wasted on these guys. Look at 15 yr old Diguilio and his whole 1995 crew (full time at Boca, went to spain, so many w/c's, junior team to Serbia) and I don't think any of them are doing a thing.
     
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  12. decades

    decades Guest

    they need to stop producing roddick clones and let natural talent shine through.
     
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  13. tenniscrazed

    tenniscrazed Guest

    The whole system is in a bit of disarray.

    ---> Most private coaches cost between 60-90 per hour with some of the bigger names pushing 150+ (for a junior with zero or limited prospects at the time the coach starts with them).

    ---> Most full time academies are between 20 and 30K per 10 month school period.

    ---> Most tournaments are between 60 - 100 when room and board is added we are at roughly 500 - 1000 per away event.

    The cream of the crop is not going to come from the group that can afford this. This group has zero desire to be professional touring players. This group is playing to include it in their Harvard, Stanford, Yale applications.
     
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  14. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I disagree with TCF on this one. The private sector has failed many times over and will continue to take money from the rich regardless of their abilities. I believe USTA grows the game on numerous fronts well beyond the high performance program. It's a lot more complex than growing the game, making lessons cheap, etc...
     
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  15. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I don't believe there is a mass exodus. Andy Brandi has joined USTA as a national coach - great addition. Gullikson has also relocated to Boca Raton from Carson. One of his students Coco Vandeghewe had a great result in CA last week beating Madduk-Sands, Sloane Stephens, Dulko, and Zvonereva before losing to Kuznetsova. You can't ignore Mardy Fish's recent success either. I believe he also receives coaching from USTA.
     
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  16. bsardana

    bsardana New User

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    TennisCoachFLA and tenniscrazed - you folks summed it right. Tennis in US is a business. Developing athletes and running a business are two completely different objectives and cannot be combined. USTA needs a new vision and expert help to determine how to produce next set of dominant players - NBA, NFL and MLB have done it, so can USTA.
     
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  17. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    With all due respect, that makes absolutely no sense. Don't you think IMG is in the business of developing athletes? Of course they are! And of course they can be combined. That's what business is all about. It just boils down to developing a strategy and being able to execute that strategy.
     
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  18. christo

    christo Hall of Fame

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    Do it the way they do it with Russian WTA "fem-tenn-bots"
    Select the biggest, strongest girls and have them hit baseline groundies for 12 hrs a day from the time they can walk. Makes for really entertaining matches.
     
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  19. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I don't think it is more complicated chalk. The game is not supported on the local levels and the tournies are too expensive. Local coaching and local tournaments are not supported enough financially by the USTA.

    And the private sector has not failed because I included private coaches and existing academies and clubs. That also includes parent coaches. All of the top players have been coached at local clubs or academies or parents or local private coaches.....please name the ones developed by USTA high performance? Can you think of 1?

    The USTA can have its talent scouts like they do now. But instead of selecting 30 kids for Boca and Carson, instead of maintaining dorms and facilities and a team of high performance coaches, pay for the talented kids to train where past champions have.

    Its a case by case basis.....if you find a Nadal type who is grooving with his coaching Uncle, support his training. If you get a call from a tennis club in Georgia who has a Melanie Oudin, pay for her training. If you find a kid at a tennis academy in Texas who is awesome, support them. Maybe some kids will need to be moved to a better facility...again, case by case.

    There is no need for the USTA high performance to maintain its own facilities and high performance coaches.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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  20. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    I agree with pretty much everything you stated except for the above. It's just not fair to judge the USTA HP yet on results since this is still relatively new. Academies definately have plenty of failures per every champion they produce.

    Also, from speaking with one HP coach in particular, they push kids to play towards college more than just thinking about going pro. They don't put pro pressure on them & instead make sure they keep strong academics so that all options can be open for them.
     
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  21. bsardana

    bsardana New User

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    Are you sure about this? Read the following and identify where "developing athletes" is their primary objective:

    http://www.imgworld.com/about/default.sps

    Training athletes is very different from developing. One is relatively easier than the other.
     
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  22. dannythomas

    dannythomas Semi-Pro

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    I agree with you on this as I have done in the past. Where we differ a little is in the concept of taking tennis to the masses . I think an ongoing marketing campaign inviting kids / parents / coaches to send a video of the next young Federer or Serena to the USTA is a good way of getting across the message . It should not be based on junior tournament rankings .The regional centres should be a stepping stone to inviting these kids for camps and funding the good ones at the Academies.
    I do agree with Chalk that the appointments of Brandi and Gullickson are positive ones - I hope they will be active in working with the kids from the youngest possible age instead of some of the people presently working under Patrick Mcenroe.
     
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  23. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    If they are spending that many millions for that limited number of kids and pushing them towards college tennis than that truly is a waste of money. Name the women pros in the top 30 who played college tennis?

    That HP coach is not in tune with Pat Mac who has said from day 1 that the goal of high performance is to develop the next American tennis champion.

    But the reality is most of these kids will not be successful pros...and thats why the USTA should get out of the high performance business. USTA high performance is a total waste of money. The next champion will not come from that program, guaranteed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
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  24. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    I agree 100% I say case by case basis....encourage parents to send videos, have a team of scouts traveling about. Have local and regional programs. Then let the cream be developed by a private coach or parent or academy or whatever way works best for the individual kid.

    The USTA throws huge money at kids as long as they commit totally to Boca or Carson. Thats dumb. They should support a talented American kid no matter what training route they choose.
     
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  25. HookEmJeff

    HookEmJeff Semi-Pro

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    The NBA, NFL & MLB do NOT set out to produce future champions as far as I know as part of their corporate strategic plans. They are corporate giants, not non-profits like the USTA. These sports make millions off of TV contracts, tickets to games & they have endless resource streams. Yet how is the USTA to compete when all you hear is a guy complaining about $$ for his son's $19/yr jr member fee? You just dropped that on 2 beers at the baseball game you just went to & supported that sport!

    Yet developing champions is part of the USTA's goals, so I guess that's why everyone expects them to produce. But no one complained in 2004 when the USA (errr...NBA) didn't win the Olympics in basketball or all these years in baseball where we can't win that World Championships competition, or advanced the notion that it was the fault of those sport's governing bodies for not developing players to win those events. Yet nary a Grand Slam goes by without someone taking a shot at the USTA for the O-for-the-USA Grand Slam Men's Title Drought, especially on this forum, in the media.

    Plus, players in those sports are already in their pipelines & there's no need for intense grassroots development from these organizations. I think all these sports DO help support groups at grassroots levels pretty extensively in the forms of charitable contributions. But it's not like they have a true wing/offshoot related to junior development as far as I know. I've never heard of or seen NFL High Performance w/ 12 yr old future QB prodigies living together.

    Those sports don't have to do that. They have incredible advantages in that they have well-developed pathways for kids to enter into & follow as they age. THAT is why they succeed. The organization of Little League or Pop Warner Football-type programs is way above what the USTA has in place for juniors. That is where the USTA would make some hay with a shift in strategy.

    But the resistance to QuickStart has been dificult. The USTA has been trying to make QuickStart THE du jour entry program for ALL kids, but there is a ton of resistance to it from people who are worried about developing one or two champs (look at the outcry for developing QuickStart at 10-&-under level).
    It seems people are more worried about developing a select few kids than trying to just flood the courts with kids playing! What is wrong w/ that picture?

    Redirecting resources to pay for organizers of these types of programs is key. You move into any city in the US & you can find a Little League program for a child. You simply can't do that with Jr. Team Tennis for many reasons (how many times do you play baseball on a LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD as an adult--but we ALL play on the same tennis courts!). It's not even a comparison when it comes to the incredible level of organization behind these sports at youth levels. That's where the USTA is most lacking & what it could do to change things most - develop/communicate a better entry into the sport.

    Here's an example using the town I grew up in - Galveston, TX. I just did a quick search of "Little League, Galveston" & found many things immediately. Like this: Where to go, where to register http://www.eteamz.com/WestIsle/teams/

    I did the same search with "QuickStart, Galveston" did not find anything even remotely like that. Where are the teams, the registration? Where are the volunteer coaches willing to help? You can insert "GALVESTON" for most cities in the US. Same result.

    First off, I KNOW that Little League is synonymous w/ baseball through playing it as a kid, but years & years of marketing & branding have made it so. I can tell you what the logo looks like w/o even thinking. How many people are making the connection that QuickStart is tennis' equivalent to Little League? How far are we away from having the Jr World Championships broadcast on ESPN like Little League?

    Also, how can the USTA succeed at such an effort when you've got people more worried about 100 kids whose rankings might suffer because their kid (who is one of those 100 instead of one of the other 1,000,000 potential) has to play on a short court! God forbid they be the best at 10 on a short court ---or go play in the 12s or 14s if they're that good.

    Nevermind the hundreds of thousands of kids we could be introducing the sport to who would actually benefit from a yr or 2 of QuickStart & might actually enjoy it! Oh no, let's talk it down & worry about that select few # who can actually hit a 80 mph serve at 10 years old. Crazy.

    Tennis being an individual sport, it is MUCH harder to make this type of pathway apparent, as everyone feels they have their own solution. But this underlying level of organization to entry programs absolutely has to happen if tennis is to grow in the US!

    If we had legions of kids playing Jr. Team Tennis in the US & taking a stab at it...maybe TENNISCOACHFLA's well-known assertion that the solution to the problem is 'having many kids involved & letting the cream rise to the top' would work. But until you address then solve the problem of why that's not happening & change HOW we get many kids involved, it doesn't really matter what you try if it's not focused on remedying that.

    The biggest reason these other sports continuously succeed in finding young talent is:

    1) These are the most high-profile, media-supported, $-driven sports in the US, so kids are attracted to them first. Basically, if we could get Erin Andrews to cover tennis...we'd be golden, & we'd have arrived. But it's not going to change soon. Those sports are so far ahead, so entrenched culturally, & tennis has to be realistic w/ what it can get & work to grow. But that doesn't mean it still couldn't have HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of kids playing.

    2) Other sports major platforms of discovery of their talent is high school sports, not a series of expensive national or international competitions. Granted there are plenty of developmental academies & select competitions (AAU basketball) that perform those functions in these sports, but the bulk of kids being discovered/offered scholarships comes through their high school exposure. That is NOT the case with tennis. High schools are a very distant 2nd to USTA when it comes to DI potentials.

    3) The actual amount of scholarships given to baseball, football, basketball. These sports completely blow tennis out of the water at NCAA scholarship levels in the US. I guarantee you if we had 50 foreigners on every SEC football team, there'd be a HUGE outcry about scholarships going to non-US players! It happens in tennis & gets worse each year, yet still colleges are recruiting foreigners en masse.

    Seriously, would you be willing to send your child to a tennis academy for $25K/year from 12-18, say he/she ends up in the Top 100 nationally (which is incredibly respectable), & be happy with a 1/4 or 1/3 ride to your state university as a scholarship result? That's about how it goes right now for tennis. You're top 100 in any of those other sports listed and you're a DI stud without a doubt & you paid a fraction of that. Colleges in those sports will come find you & make the offer. In baseball, good Lord, you would have a pro contract waiting if you were the 100th best player in the US at 17 years old.

    4) *Cost to produce a champion. This is the most important in my opinion. You could give a kid about 5 basketballs over his life, updated clothing & shoe sizes as he/she ages up, and you're pretty close to good. Maybe $7-10K dollars in total. A kid who played all four 12s age group national events here in the US & had his parents come with him for that time, would probably spend close to that figure just on those four events for that year. You don't have to take out a second mortgage or do a lot in other sports & you can become mega-huge.

    Look at LeBron James. The poorest of poor, had a deadbeat dad. He didn't have to join a club to develop his game. You can be Bill Gates' kid & still be needing to cut coupons for all the tennis travel you do! Once LeBron got to the ELITE LEVEL, he was taken care of. Even the Williams sisters - the poorest of poor in tennis & the ultimate "streets" story got a lot of freebies along the way from people willing to foot their bills. But I guarantee you Serena's bills in her "development stage", whoever was paying for them were a helluva LOT more than LeBron's.

    I always think it's funny that people believe the USTA should develop future champions. It's an interesting point to raise & one that really interests me as it always seems to generate discussion.

    The USTA IS actually investing in its youth, but it's a LOT tougher to develop champions in tennis. You're No. 150 in the world on a skill level in basketball & your name is Derek Fisher, you're world famous, rich beyond imagination, everyone applauds you. 150 in the world in tennis & nobody knows who you are & you're grinding it out in the Challengers.

    Big big difference. You can't just line it up evenly & look at these sports apples to apples, so I always hate those types of comparisons.

    The sport of tennis also needs to seriously focus on ATHLETICISM in marketing to youth. You look at the NBA & you see dunk. MLB...home run. NFL --monster hit. Tennis is a crazy athletic sport...more Clijsters stretches, Sampras jump overheads, Monfils dives, Nadal ridiculous gets, Fed tweeners...that's what attracts kids. That's why I love those new US Open commercials w/ Fed's - IT MUST BE MAGIC tweener. That's what it takes!



    Jeff
     
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  26. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    HookemJeff....the USTA has stated the objective of High Performance over and over again as "finding American champions"....they said it, not us.. That is what we are discussing. And the USTA barely supports youth tennis....I know, I have been in the trenches for a long time. Their support of youth tennis is haphazard and random. The tourny fees go up and up and up while the ex-CEO got $9.3 million.

    Many of us have said many times the athletic ability is the key...find better athletes and get them into tennis young. That is done by promoting and supporting the game and making the tournies and coaching local and cheap. It is not done by spending millions on 30 kids. It is not done by paying Pat Mac and a few coaches big money.

    We all get that hoops is different, millions of kids play it, and tennis can not duplicate that. That has all been said here numerous times. We do not need 300 great players to fill our NBA. We need to grow the game and get better athletes and find ONE or TWO great players. Thats it, a few great players....and thats why it does not have to be near the scale of hoops but a similar model.

    By the way, there seems to be some confusion that USTA High Performance is "new". Thats not true.

    Pat Mac is just the latest to take over the job. USTA High Performance has been around long before Boca. For a long time it was run out of Key Biscayne.

    Several different regimes, all announced with breathless press releases, no American champs. Below is the announcement before Pat Mac's of the regime that took over in late 2002....and there were other regimes before that.

    Please note the objective of creating American champs is clearly stated in the 1st paragraph. The objective has never involved creating a bunch of college players.

    http://www.playerdevelopment.usta.com/news/fullstory.sps?iNewsID=112841&itype=&iCategoryID=
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
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  27. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    TCF, you are a hard person to support. I have been trying to agree with you, but it is difficult when you tear down those that are 99% in line with your thinking because of the 1% dispute.
     
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  28. TennisCoachFLA

    TennisCoachFLA Banned

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    polski, didn't mean to offend. We do agree on most of this. However there are 2 points that needed to be addressed, the HP coach who told you they were pushing for college yet that is not what past HP and current HP leaders say. And the fact that some may think high performance is new so deserves time when the program has been around for a long time with no results.

    It seems to me that if a HP coach thinks college is just as important as producing pros, yet the mandate of High Performance clearly states it is producing pros, then the program has a major problem. The guys in the field do not know what the leaders want.

    I am glad you brought that to our attention.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2010
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  29. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    TCF, I fully agree with you!

    Grow the game, build more tennis courts, support more high school tennis programs, get as many people into tennis as possible.

    Then, like the 70's & 80's, we'll see many American champions.
     
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  30. TennisTaxi

    TennisTaxi Rookie

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    Look at an elementary school playground, you see basketball, baseball, football and soccer...generally not a tennis racquet! USTA needs to get young kids hooked early...set up mini courts with nets and donate racquets, maybe you will get more kids excited about the game!
     
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  31. Milan

    Milan Rookie

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    the USTA is a MAFIA... don't go to them... they're like the US Government.. they expand and eat up and steal all the good players...

    They under pay they coaches.. $18-32/hour which is a JOKE.....

    John McEnroe just opened up his academy over here in NYC... he's using the courts of Sportime so they have a mutual relationship in which both are benefitting...

    the story they won't tell you is that they are "GIVING SCHOLARSHIPS" but they're getting paid by the USTA for those kids anyways..

    Pat McEnroe and John McEnroe just expanded their empire/Mafia by combining.. in Otherwords SPORTIME and USTA are 2 heads of the same Monster...

    USTA money ($250 MILLION budget per year) is being given to Evert Academy and McEnroe Academy...and then those academies kick back to guys like Pat McEnroe who decides where the money goes...

    THEN.....

    John McEnroe goes and hires Gilad Bloom to run his academy as he'll never be around...a guy from ISRAEL of all places... not even an American Coach..

    It's all a SCAM People.... wake up.. just like when CANAS, CORIA, and DAVYDENKO have SCANDALS.. but AGASSI RODDICK GINEPRI AND BLAKE could do all the steroids they want and never be caught..

    It's time people wake up
     
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  32. dannythomas

    dannythomas Semi-Pro

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    Well those are quite some accusations with a lot of speculation. I won't comment on the drugs part but I was under the impression that Patrick Mcenroe had refused to give any funding to his brothers Academy. At least that was the public position.
    All I can say is that the coaches I have seen at USTA camps and clinics are hardly the best in the nation. Those hourly rates are about right. There is also in fact evidence that the USTA co-ordinators invite their own sons and daughters for training when they should be inviting higher ability kids.
    I also agree that early signs are that John Mcenroe will not get his hands dirty with actual coaching and leave it all to Bloom and co.
    As I said before I think Patrick Mcenroe is failing in his job but as fot the corruption you are suggesting, I doubt it goes that far.
     
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  33. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    Anothing amazing rumor with no foundation of fact. The McAcademy is not in partnership with USTA. The first sponsor McEnroe (John) signed was with Nike...5 year deal.
     
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  34. Milan

    Milan Rookie

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    i could write a book with all of the evidence.. it's a mafia...the wrong people are in the high positions making millions...if people want to deny the truth....so be it
     
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  35. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    how much is the ceo of USTA making now? the previous guy made multi-millions ...
     
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  36. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    :confused:
    Well, in that coach's defense, let me further clarify the conversation I had with him.

    He was at a women's ITF event with a then 15 y/o girl ranked top-100 in the world in junior ITF, top 700 overall ITF player (I'm sure a few of you can narrow down who I am speaking of).

    She was in a tight match with a woman ranked around 120 in the world & I began asking about her training, etc. I asked if she was planning on going pro in the next few years or if she was going to be looking at colleges. He stated that the intention was for her to go pro. However, she is a smart kid who they keep focused on graduating on time or early so that college is always an option if the pro process doesn't go as planned.

    He pointed out that she was only 15 so there are a lot of variables that could play out over the next few years:

    She could have some breakthrough runs in ITF's & see her ranking soar into the top-200, 100, etc. If that happens, the plan would be to continue pushing the envelope toward being a pro...ala, Oudin.

    She could get distracted, as most teens tend to do (boys, friends, etc). He understood that is a normal thing that kids go through and that he wants what is best for her no matter what changes in her life. If she were to go to college, they would pass her on to an institution suited to her academic and tennis pursuits & she would then be on her own after that experience to pursue a professional career...ala, Isner.

    What I took away from this conversation is that they aren't promoting the Agassi plan of allowing a kid to drop out of school to go purely towards pro tennis. They provide a support structure to plan for the unforseen & that is what I think any good academy should be doing. I believe that most are, however I do not doubt that there are mills out there that go "champion or bust" with their athletes & dump them once they begin to fade.

    As previous posters stated, the chances of a true champion being made is quite small at any adademy. I like how this coach stated that they want to produce champions at Boca and Carson, but they don't count on it happening with every kid they bring in. They have plans for the kids that don't work out. I think that gives them some credibility.

    All this being said, I still don't think that the USTA should be in the business of housing athletes. I don't think they are doing a bad job, but I think they are doing the same things the academies were already doing so it ends up being a waste of money. I think the USTA should:
    - line the HP kids up with coaching (academy, local, whatever) or support their current coaches
    - help the HP kids with expenses (travel, tutoring, etc)
    - help train the HP kid's coaches with coaches of past champions (consulting based)
     
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  37. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I keep hearing we need to build more courts. Talk about a money pit. Drive around town and check out the public courts across the U.S. and you'll see why we don't need any more tennis courts. Ain't happenin'
     
    #37
  38. giseppi

    giseppi New User

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    Yeah, where i am unless i happen to pass by a league practice, every court is empty the majority of the time.
     
    #38
  39. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    during peak hours, we are full around here
     
    #39
  40. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    At peak hours I would hope so.
     
    #40
  41. Jen10isFan

    Jen10isFan New User

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    I 100% percent agree. I would add that they should keep the center in Boca, or something similar, and that they should use these centers to have the top kids from the various age groups rotate in for practice sessions and match-play for various international tournaments etc. This way they get to see how the kids are progressing, create a competitive environment among the top kids, and better chance of picking the best kids for tournaments.
     
    #41
  42. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Take a look at the USTA player development organizational chart. There are 55 people whose jobs depend on the player development program. It will be very difficult to eliminate the program with that many people in a position to influence the decision.

    http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/PlayerDevelopmentOrgChartJuly2010.pdf

    Until this point I did not really care that they were not making a positive impact on tennis. It seemed to me that at least they did not actively hurt junior tennis in the US. Now that they are making changes in the junior national tournament schedule to fit into their plans they are hurting junior tennis.

    How can we get them fired?
     
    #42
  43. mike53

    mike53 Professional

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    There is a whole cultural thing in effect here that I'm not sure everybody is getting. The USTA Elite Player Development Program is kind of like the Air National Guard program that both of the candidates in the 2000 presidential election participated in when they were younger. These programs are "not something you walk in off the street and apply for" if you get what I'm saying.
     
    #43
  44. bsardana

    bsardana New User

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    Many folks in this thread have put forward great suggestions. We need a structure, strategy and vision to make USTA a leader - this is commonly done in many emerging corporate cultures:

    1) Introduce tennis at the grassroots level - someone mentioned elementary school. Provide schools, community the initiative (financial) to introduce and reward

    2) Make tennis affordable - equipment, coaching, tournaments etc. - currently, it appears to be competing with a sport like "skiing"

    3) Develop a value chain from grassroots to the top - this requires study. Hire folks who can do this at USTA. Hold them accountable if they are unable to achieve this

    4) Define success. Measure it

    Simply saying, "it is too tough a problem to address" is not going to cut it. If you are getting paid in millions, you need to show success.
     
    #44
  45. Milan

    Milan Rookie

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    Correct. They should FUND Successful Academies/Coaches and should coach and help build starting academies/coaches. They should also promote tennis by starting quickstart programs all over the country, and then feed those good players into other programs who are successful already. To steal all the players from good coaches and programs for themselves just damages Tennis overall in the country as you weaken the overall system. Ridiculous!!!!

    and to think these McEnroe brothers are not involved is naive.
     
    #45
  46. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    #46
  47. tenniscrazed

    tenniscrazed Guest

     
    #47
  48. Wondertoy

    Wondertoy Professional

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    #48
  49. chalkflewup

    chalkflewup Hall of Fame

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    I've heard it all from kill the high performance program, kill QuickStart, slap down more concrete across the country, make tennis affordable, etc... The high performance program is not the problem. I also dont believe that tournaments fees are the barrier. The answer to growing the game in the states is much easier than we think.

    Long before a parent considers signing up their kid in a tournament, they seek instruction for their kid. With that said, I believe that private lesson fees are a much bigger hurdle to the beginning tennis parent. Parents pay $80, $150, $250 an hour for a private tennis lesson. And im not saying that the fees are out of line at all, however; many parents get sucked into thinking that junior needs 3, 4 and sometimes 5 privates a week which I believe is a developmental mistake. Lets see.... So do I pay the $100 for Johnny to sign up for the baseball team this year or do we fork out $4,000 for a weekly tennis lesson? No brainer.

    The typical response on the street about coaches and high fees is "yea - but he's good." This works out well for the coach's bank account but it doesn't get more kids playing tennis. Kids need to play more matches, sets, and breakers. I also believe coaches need to do a better job with setting up local events to bring kids out to play tennis. We need more ladders and social tennis nights to grow the game. Play tennis, listen to music, eat a pizza, etc... World Team Tennis for kids.

    I believe the USPTA is in the strongest possible position to influence the growth of our sport to the masses. Talk about grass roots programs...they are the feet on the street that can serve as the ambassadors for our sport. USPTA should work hand-in-hand with the local USTA sections and get into the schools, park districts, clubs, and neighborhoods across the United States. Bring some of the top kids along. We need a better template and it's right in our own backyard!
     
    #49
  50. Soianka

    Soianka Hall of Fame

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    Nathan Pasha is a very good player. He won the doubles and will be in the US Open in doubles this year.

    He also has only been in Florida maybe the last 3 years. He came out of a local Atlanta city tennis center. USTA only notices you once you made a name for yourself or if your parents know somebody.

    Anyway...I saw Madison Keys get her clock cleaned by Irina Falconi over the summer in a USTA pro circuit semi. I wasn't impressed at all but certainly not ready to say that the USTA is 'wasting' money on Keys or that she is no good based on seeing her play on a off day or an off week.
     
    #50

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