USTA Youth Tennis Town Hall meeting

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by TennisFan2Day, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. TennisFan2Day

    TennisFan2Day Rookie

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    The 2012 ITA Coaches Convention is at the Waldorf Astoria Naples in Naples, Florida this year. They are going to have one of the USTA Youth Tennis Town Hall meetings there. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

    http://www.itatennis.com/AboutITA/Convention/2012.htm

    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2012
    12:15-2:00pm
    USTA YOUTH TENNIS TOWN HALL & LUNCHEON
    (Comp for Meeting Attendees - Advance RSVP & TICKET required)

    It will cost $280 to attend. You have to be registered for the weekend.
     
    #1
  2. fitmom

    fitmom New User

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    you have to pay $280 to attend this "listening meeting"???? seriously???? USTA, please fix this - you are just feeding the argument that tennis is only for the wealthy. these meetings should be open to all, free of charge.
     
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  3. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    I would doubt it is $280 since it says "comp for meeting attendees". I think you could get a ticket just to hear what they have to say. I couldn't find anything about it on the junior usta site so my guess is that they really don't want a lot of people there.
     
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  4. fitmom

    fitmom New User

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    taken directly from the convention's website:

    Youth Tennis Town Hall & Luncheon, presented by the USTA (Sunday, Dec. 16th, 12:15 - 2:00 pm)
    An overview of the 10 and Under Tennis efforts for coaches and opinion leaders registered for the Convention.


    registration now costs $280 since it is after the early-bird deadline.
     
    #4
  5. fitmom

    fitmom New User

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    sorry, non-coach attendees who register through an ITA coach can get in for $155.
     
    #5
  6. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    I think the intention is for the USTA to get feedback from the various constituents of the national junior tennis system. This meeting is an ideal forum to get feedback from college coaches. I am sure, well almost sure, there will be other forums more appropriate for tennis parent and other constituents.
     
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  7. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Notes from the 1st USTA Town Hall Meeting

    Notes from the 1st USTA Town Hall Meeting 11/17/12

    from Parentingaces blog
    Hope "fitmom" would not mind sharing.

    The following information was emailed to me by a parent who was in attendance at the Reston, VA, “listening” meeting held by USTA. I am reprinting it exactly as it was sent to me. Please read and share with other tennis parents and coaches so our voices will be heard. Thank you.

    USTA Town Hall Meeting

    11/17/2012

    Mid-Atlantic Annual Meeting — Reston, VA

    Representing the USTA: Lew Brewer, Director Junior Competition

    Scott Schultz, Managing Director, Youth Tennis

    Scott Schultz (SS): Introduction

    wants to really listen and wants participants to leave feeling like they have listened

    This is 1st town hall meeting

    This is not about kids going pro. These proposed changes affect critical group of kids: those who devote the most time, energy, and money, and those with lots at stake — college, scholarships, etc.

    Lew Brewer (LB): effort is to serve vast majority of players competing

    it is NOT about trying to make great players

    the tournament structure is there: if it works for you use it, if not, don’t

    the junior tennis competition committee was asked to look at changes that would increase player development, increase affordability, and decrease missed school (and missed work for parents)

    the vast majority of players are better served by playing locally

    only changes that will happen in 2013: new nat’l doubles tournament (to be played at us open series event) and new national grand masters tournament

    in 2014 draw sizes for hard courts and clay courts will be reduced (assuming USTA approves committee’s recommendation to postpone this change for 2013)

    Q (audience member): why reduce draw size?

    LB: it used to be 128

    the purpose of these tournaments is to crown a national champion and therefore they need the best players

    Coach Chuck Kriese (CK):
    I agree with the reduction. The field at Kalamazoo has been diluted. Recently, there were 51 defaults in the backdraw. Lots of kids cramp the first day because they are not prepared to win, they are there just to have shown up. But maybe there can be a qualifying tournament.

    Q: If there were 51 kids pulling out of the backdraw, the majority was actually those kids who came expecting to win and wanted only to be part of main draw. It was not kids who were so excited just to get in.

    Q: There are amazing kids who are between 128 and 192, or even alternates who get in and have phenomenal tournaments.

    It is also much better for college coaches to have larger draws.

    If a parent doesn’t want to travel, they always have that option.

    LB: We could debate this issue all day and would still disagree.

    Q: Have you studied the impact of those kids between 128 and 192?

    LB: Yes, we studied players who lost 1st round to see how they did in backdraw but I don’t have the results with me. There have been kids who have done very well, even a kid who made it to quarters of Kalamazoo.

    But players will now qualify solely based on results in section and this will greatly change the complexion of who makes it.

    Q: But mid-atlantic is so strong, it will be impossible for all of the great players to get in. Our number 8 kid could be top 100 in the country and not get in.

    LB: they will have to work hard and train hard and win.

    Q: There are other very valid reason for tournament besides crowing a national champion. These tournaments give kids an incredible opportunity to learn and grow and improve.

    Q: Could you make some change so older kids don’t lose their last chance to play?

    SS: maybe we could look at phasing it in with 12s first.

    Q: The proposed quota/endorsement system does not work for a section like the mid-atlantic. Why is size relevant? The 8th player in the 14s in the midatlantic is in the top 100 nationally but would not be allowed to play. There are 16 midatlantic players in the 14s in the top 200 nationally. Meanwhile, the top kids on different sections would get spots even though they could be in the 600s nationally.

    LB: Many people have argued it should just be the best players but the structure of the USTA demands that every section is represented.

    SS: There will never be traction on this issue. Midatlantic has to make a proposal and fight that fight.

    Bonnie Vona, mid-atlantic: under the current structure these issues are addressed. Every section gets endorsements, and others can get in off of the NSL.

    Q: much better for college coaches to have larger draw sizes.

    If player is injured in summer out of luck unless they have Easter Bowl or winter nationals.

    Q: at NCAA division 1 tournament, only 22 of 128 players were american.(Collette had corrected on Parentingaces blog 11/18/12 to be 61 of 128 players were American)

    CK: Very big and serious issue.

    Only Americans in top 50 or 60 can easily play — otherwise competing against all international players.

    $63 million in scholarships given to foreign players.

    Q: So can’t the uSTA address this issue and help US kids play tennis for US colleges?

    SS: this issue is incredibly upsetting and we have to do something.

    Q: If we are not competing well internationally, how do we improve kids beyond top 50?

    LB: Most kids better served by competing locally

    CK: kids should play with people of all different ages. See universal tennis.com ratings. Play should not be so age specific.

    Q: Keeping kids playing in their sections limits playing styles and chance to play different types of players.

    LB: Lots of different playing styles in mid-atlantic.

    SS: 88,000 kids play tournaments. 370,000 play in high school. Tournaments don’t work for all kids. It is very impt for kids to compete against different ages.

    Q: there are many reasons to compete in a national championship besides crowning the one national champion.

    it is very important to college recruiting to have larger draw sizes.

    The quotas are horrible.

    LB: explains how quotas will work.

    Q: in mid-atlantic, the top players don’t play sectionals — only nationals and ITF’s. Won’t the quotas force them back into sectional play?

    LB: yes.

    Q: The quotas are the most disturbing proposal. Will take away a kid’s chance to play and that will squash all enthusiasm.

    LB: quotas are good or bad depending on how you look at it.

    Q: There needs to be two means of entry: quotas and NSL. ANd no player should get in off of a quota unless they have a minimum ranking on the NSL.

    SS: New email address for comments: letusknow@usta.com. We are absolutely open to making adjustments. We won’t be going back to the system as it is but we can make the changes better.

    The proposed dates for the remaining “listening” meetings are as follows:

    November 24: Boys & Girls 14s National Open, Rocky Hill, CT
    December 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples FL
    December 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, AZ
    December 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson, AZ
    Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta, GA
    Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, TX

    Okay, this is Lisa “talking” again. It is crucial that parents and coaches take the time to educate themselves on the issues and attend these meetings. If you can’t attend a meeting, then please use the new email address, letusknow@usta.com, to communicate your concerns. I propose that we identify one or two parents in each USTA section to act as the voices for the section. If you are interested in serving in that capacity, please contact me ASAP so we can get to work on compiling a list of speaking points. Your ideas are welcome in the Comments section below. If we present a united front to the USTA, letting them know that parents and coaches are on the same page and are only interested in what’s best for our junior players, I believe we stand a decent chance of being heard. The onus is on us now. USTA is providing the forum – we must seize the opportunity!
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
    #7
  8. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for posting this, great info. I have been parsing this primarily looking for areas of compromise and nothing jumps out. A couple comments from Scott Schultz(for example recognizes the college scholarship problem "this issue is incredibly upsetting and we have to do something") seem positive but no surprises from Lew "Ill send the a T-Shirt" Brewer, man is stubborn as mule. Typical LB quotes : "We could debate this issue all day and would still disagree." ; "the tournament structure is there: if it works for you use it, if not, don’t".

    I dont know if they figured this out yet, but Lew's not the listening type. If it's him they send out on a listening tour, this effort is doomed.
     
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  9. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    If the only purpose of Kalamazoo is to crown a national champion, then why do they have a back draw at all?
     
    #9
  10. HIGH-TECH TENNIS

    HIGH-TECH TENNIS Rookie

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    Raise your hand if you're surprised. :(
     
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  11. jigglypuff

    jigglypuff Rookie

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    Thanks for the update. Very indicative of Lew's condescending manner. I believe it is going to be more of the same unless we have someone with more authority on the parent's side attending these meetings.
     
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  12. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    I think I love Lew Brewer. Sounds like he has a backbone.
     
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  13. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    So you think having a national championship tournament just to crown a champion is right?
    There is no need for other players (from not so strong sections unlike your Ca) to compete with good players from other sections and develop? Most juniors are not going pros....just so you know.

    We live in a strong section and the new schedule won't affect us. Above is a fair question to ask.
     
    #13
  14. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    I think is much more important to emphasize better tennis in each section and if detering weak first rounds assist with driving motivation to be better across sections I am willing to give it a chance. MOST juniors do not play of a quality to go to a national tournament, thus I understand they are not going pro.
     
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  15. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    same thought when I read it.. ask them if ITF's tournaments have back-draws .. ITFs win or go home maybe is a bigger incentive to be the best...especially if you have to pay your own way and travel into a different country to play..
     
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  16. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    Only a fraction of the 128 draw in a national championship tournament aim to go pro. Perhaps only 5-10. The rest of the draws aim to play college or just to compete in the championship to measure themselves against peers from other sections.

    If USTA will not help the rest of these dedicated tennis players develop to the next level then....... $63 million worth of scholarships to foreign players will grow bigger each year.
     
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  17. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    A view that I think is missed...

    ...is that many kids go to the tournaments and are not being scouted but crossed off list. Why? The tourney reveals via 1st round massacres, that their are vast numbers of uncompetitive kids at nationals. Maybe explains why those college coaches then turnaround dole out the spoils of 4.5 scholarships to international players.

    All that said, I am not discouraging all of you dedicated tennis parents for working to get what you think is right. I just am buying in that regional development, less travel, more planned player physical/mental growth and development is the efficient pathway for a speculative journey.

    If a successful mutiny occurs then the way I've chosen to proceed or endorse if largely unaffected.
     
    #17
  18. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Now national tournaments are only for those going pro? Did not know that.

    If they are following the "Bryan Principle" (you have to beat everyone in you can drive to before you can get on the plane), why not just cut the draws to 17 then and be done with it then ?

    Because even they now this is a guideline and a concept, not a rule. Fact is there is no general disagreement on the concept you must earn your way to nationals. We the disagreement is on how often the tournaments should be, how entrance is earned, and how many can earn there way in. Where's George when you need him ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkxaF5Pq5D8
     
    #18
  19. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    We know that national tournaments aren't the only way to go pro because scores of amateurs world round become pros without coming to play any USTA tournament first. High class, animalistic tennis can be had without any national tournaments. I have no major dog in this fight for larger or status quo national tournaments. It just does not figure in any equation I have for my children and this sport. We would be playing as a family, striving and sacrificing for this sport regardless.
     
    #19
  20. kme5150

    kme5150 Rookie

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    The only ITF summer tournament is the Grass Court Championships and that is the first week in June when half the players in the country are taking their final exams. I wish we had summer ITF tournaments again. The competition would do the USTA some good.
     
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  21. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

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    You might have missed the experience or your children have not played many tournaments yet. There are massacres in 1st round and deeper at EVERY levels.

    Look at your local tournaments, sectionals, ITFs, even at pro levels etc. Many times you might not see competitive matches till the finals.

    Nothing is unique to nationals.

    The fact that the new schedule will not affect us does not mean that we have to agree or accept it.
     
    #21
  22. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    As stated...

    ...before, I'm not discouraging anyone's advocacy. However, I'm not going to discourage the USTA from innovating and attempting radical change. Nor should people who are optimistic and undeterred by the changes refrain from making this position clear either.

    Clearly most related forums host views hostile to the changes, but that does not mean the changes should be rolled back. The revolt has always been a rear guard action. You could stop the changes, but it will require headline making massive mutiny of USTA membership. I don't see it happening.
     
    #22
  23. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    You have some good points, but....

    1) There are massacres in sectional tournaments too.
    My son has played in two tournaments where it was 6-0 all the way to the finals..... So, it is on every level.

    2) Kids are being scouted at tournaments, but the 16's and 18's.
    I don't see them being crossed off, but analyzed for playing style and sportsmanship.

    With reduced tournament draw sizes, all you have done is make it more difficult for college coaches to see American players,
    and increase the likelihood of foreigners.

    3) Regional play is great, but only if you are in a great section.
    If not, you have doomed the kids to playing the same few kids over and over again for years and years......
    A bit like the movie, Groundhogs Day, but it won't be as funny.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
    #23
  24. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Great questions asked.......

    Snipped it down and added my own thoughts in brackets.

    Notes from the 1st USTA Town Hall Meeting 11/17/12


    USTA Town Hall Meeting

    11/17/2012

    Mid-Atlantic Annual Meeting — Reston, VA

    Representing the USTA: Lew Brewer, Director Junior Competition

    those with lots at stake — college, scholarships, etc.

    Lew Brewer (LB):
    the tournament structure is there: if it works for you use it, if not, don’t


    [ Sounds like take it or leave it........]


    the junior tennis competition committee was asked to look at changes that would increase player development, increase affordability, and decrease missed school (and missed work for parents)


    [ Nobody asked him about why Winter Nationals is going bye-bye when it is during EVERYONE'S SCHOOL VACATION ACROSS THE ENTIRE US?

    How do you "increase player development" when you have cut away the tournaments ( remember there were many national tournaments in 2010, Copper Bowl, was the most well known,) and now in 2014, you cut out Winter Nationals and the Easter Bowl, and your reduce the draws of the remaining two nationals - are you kidding me, that is increasing player development?

    I do agree with "increasing affordability", as many kids will stop playing tennis after years and years of playing the same few kids over and over again....., and yes this will save the parents money. No more court time to be paid.]


    in 2014 draw sizes for hard courts and clay courts will be reduced (assuming USTA approves committee’s recommendation to postpone this change for 2013)

    [ Wait a minute........... the USTA didn't approve this change for 2013????????????????????]


    Coach Chuck Kriese (CK): I agree with the reduction. The field at Kalamazoo has been diluted. Recently, there were 51 defaults in the backdraw. Lots of kids cramp the first day because they are not prepared to win, they are there just to have shown up. But maybe there can be a qualifying tournament.

    [I like Chuck Kriese, but a lot of kids cramped the first day and threw up, ( kid on left hand side court in the flower pot), but he kept on playing. The first day was SUPER HOT this year......

    51 defaults in the backdraw of the national of 192........
    Has anyone ever looked at the backdraw of a sectional tournament since the new point system went into effect?
    With ONE NATIONAL POINT PER WON MATCH, who stays anymore. No one...... ]


    Q: If there were 51 kids pulling out of the backdraw, the majority was actually those kids who came expecting to win and wanted only to be part of main draw. It was not kids who were so excited just to get in.

    Q: There are amazing kids who are between 128 and 192, or even alternates who get in and have phenomenal tournaments.

    It is also much better for college coaches to have larger draws.

    If a parent doesn’t want to travel, they always have that option.

    LB: We could debate this issue all day and would still disagree.


    [Wow, is that a response or a deflection?]


    Q: Have you studied the impact of those kids between 128 and 192?

    LB: Yes, we studied players who lost 1st round to see how they did in backdraw but I don’t have the results with me. There have been kids who have done very well, even a kid who made it to quarters of Kalamazoo.

    [Yes, I wrote my term paper, but I don't have it with me....]



    Q: much better for college coaches to have larger draw sizes.

    If player is injured in summer out of luck unless they have Easter Bowl or winter nationals.

    [Excellent point, why is this not addressed by LB?]


    Q: at NCAA division 1 tournament, only 22 of 128 players were american.

    [ That number of 22 is not right, it is higher. ]

    CK: Very big and serious issue.

    Only Americans in top 50 or 60 can easily play — otherwise competing against all international players.

    $63 million in scholarships given to foreign players.

    Q: So can’t the uSTA address this issue and help US kids play tennis for US colleges?

    SS: this issue is incredibly upsetting and we have to do something.

    Q: If we are not competing well internationally, how do we improve kids beyond top 50?

    LB: Most kids better served by competing locally

    [ Is this a listening tour or a done deal?]
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
    #24
  25. coaching32yrs

    coaching32yrs Semi-Pro

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    It's all about trying to fix the "problem" of not enough Americans in the top 20. The USTA leadership should forget about changing the national tournament structure- that's not going to fix the "problem". They should focus on getting the colleges to limit the number of scholarships for foreign players. If they could convince the NCAA to require a minimum of 1/2 the athletic scholarships must go to Americans that would help American tennis.
     
    #25
  26. rww

    rww New User

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    why set the limit at 50% foreign? I say only allow a foreigner if the roster can't be filled with a national
     
    #26
  27. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    Sure, just get some guy out there who recalls picking up a tennis racket in elementary school but has not touched one since. I bet he would be willing to accept a partial scholarship. What do you mean by "can't be filled" by an American?
     
    #27
  28. usta10sfan

    usta10sfan New User

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    New Junior Schedule

    I really enjoy reading these messages. It makes me understand how lucky I am to live in America.

    My son is playing junior tennis and would like to play in a national championship. Instead of whining about the USTA, he is trying to stay home and get better by playing lots of good players near his home. If he doesn't qualify from his Section (Florida) then he doesn't deserve to compete with the best (and judging from these messages maybe a lot who aren't the best). He will play college varsity tennis - likely without a scholarship - but it's pretty hard for most boys now. The college coaches we have spoken with tell us no boy gets a full scholarship these days. Coaches are trying to spread their 4.5 scholarships to as many players as they can.
     
    #28
  29. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Why is "instead of" ? Are the players whose parents are "whiners" not practicing hard too ? How do you know that ? Can't they do both ? Why is that people who object to USTA changes are whiners ? Because we don't accept everything the USTA says as if were handed down from Mt. Zion? So, if the USTA follows Wayne Bryan's principles to the logical extreme and makes the national tournament a 17 player tournament, 1 player from each section, you would be cool with that ?

    By the way, good for you that he lives in Florida and has plenty of good players near his home. Not everyone is so fortunate. Instead of insulting people, why not take some time to understand the complexity of the issues.

    Welcome to the board.
     
    #29
  30. usta10sfan

    usta10sfan New User

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    OK, I don't agree with everything the USTA does or doesn't do, but I do think the 128 draws at National Championships are better and I deeply agree that players should qualify from their home Section. I would very much like to see that 17 player tournament. I think it would be very exciting to have each Section's Champion compete together. No wild cards, no ranking needed to get in - just the winners of each Section's Championship. There would be some pressure-filled matches.

    Thanks also for the welcome.
     
    #30
  31. jrtennis

    jrtennis New User

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    10s fan, you might want to understand the process better before you write.
    If your kid is good enough to be a top player, please talk to be when he's #11 in Florida bu can't play a national even though 50 kids who aren't as good from other sections get in under the new, unfair quota system.
    Call parents "whiners" when you clearly don't have a sense yet of what happens at the national junior tennis level. Your dream 17 sectional winners tournament would be a total bust. In the top 20 in the country in the boys' 12s (in head to head rankings), only five sections are represented. In the top 30, only 8 sections are.
    Be careful what you write if you don't understand the issues, especially if you choose to insult people who have bothered to take the time to do so.
     
    #31
  32. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    The Nike format used to be just this for the 12's and 14's. They sponsored a tournament in each section and the winners got to go to a singles national tournament.
    They did away with this format though and just invited the top appx 20 kids to a national tournament
     
    #32
  33. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    From the notes it didn't seem like there was much listening going on.
     
    #33
  34. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    You are absolutely doing...

    ...the right thing. But IMHO, avoid gloating. It just makes things nasty quick. We all want a competitive fair system. These changes will apparently be very difficult for many. No use can come of appearing to rub it in. Just help your youngster keep grinding.
     
    #34
  35. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    From Tennis insiders

    AN UPDATE FROM WAYNE BRYAN

    Dear Tennis Friend,

    Hope you are having a nice Fall Season.

    As you probably know, there was a very positive and productive meeting on Sunday, October 21, with Steve Bellamy and his concerned group with the USTA officials in Chicago about the state of our National ‘n Sectional Junior Schedule and Rankings that led to a pause on the new changes and a listening tour to be held across the country to make revisions that will be fair for all our juniors and that will hopefully bring a smile to everyone’s’ face.

    I then met on the evening of Oct. 24 in Malibu and the early morning of Oct. 25 with incoming USTA President, Dave Haggerty,and USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis, Kurt Kamperman. We met for a total of 7 1/2 hours and the discussions on my outline of American Tennis Concerns were fair and frank and sometimes hard hitting and a lot was learned on all sides of the issues.

    Although we share many experiences in common with our sport, we come from different vantages and viewpoints – - - Dave, as the newly elected President, has served on several national committees and has been a very successful CEO of major tennis companies; while Kurt is employed by the USTA and was the former CEO of theTennis Industry Assn. and knows Community Tennis in all sections of this country; and Wayne, who spends a good part of the year on the road emceeing ATP events and doing clinics on the tour and at clubsand schools and who coaches World Team Tennis and speaks tocoaches and parents frequently.

    All of us are passionate about the game and its health and future. Although the meetings were rigorous, they were at the same time cordial.

    The issues discussed included:

    1. The general disgust and mistrust with the USTA. It is palpable and it is pervasive.

    2. USTA Governance and the feeling that the USTA is dictating from on high in an authoritarian manner from White Plains and they are not listening to Main Street.

    3. The National and Sectional Tournament Schedules are ruined and right along with it the Rankings - – - it is a sad state of affairs, indeed, when our college coaches no longer rely on our USTA rankings for recruiting.. But we are all so encouraged by the Chicago Meeting and the positive new direction that came out of those talks. There has got to be complete transparency in this process as it will impact thousands of junior players. I know the last competition committee put a lot of time and energy into this past process. But “getting it right” is far more important than “being right” in this situation. The listening tour is a great idea. But the USTA and the Committee must REALLY listen and act accordingly. And we need a blue ribbon Committee with our best and most experienced tennis coaches and veteran parents from all sections of the country, chaired by a well-known tennis leader that has no ties to USTA PD. And let’s study the history of our National Schedules and Ranking systems, even taking another look at the Star Computer System.

    4. For too long, the USTA turns a blind eye to the foreign player glut in American college tennis. They even have issued a White Paper saying there is no problem? College tennis should be for our US kids and not be a world class sport. Pro tennis, yes, college tennis, no! One player for international good will and understanding is fine, and even two if we must, but six overseas players on so many colleges across this country is so unfair and harmful to American tennis families.

    5. The alarming fact is that we have lost some 400 college tennis programs over the past few decades. Right now Athletic Directors are experiencing enormous pressure to cut expenses. Tennis, and especially men’s tennis, needs protection and they need our national governing body fighting for them. There are currently 4.5 men’s scholarships and teams average about 10-12 players. Of those 4.5 scholarships, a good 70% of the money goes to foreign players. This just leaves nothing for the American juniors whose taxpaying parents are footing the overwhelming majority of that bill.

    6. Similarly, we have lost so many ATP and WTA Tournaments over the past 40 years. In 1974 the US had 45 Men’s Pro Tournaments and in 2013 there is going to only be 11 Men’s Pro Events. The Women’s apex was 29 events and now it is down to 9. We are headed in the wrong direction.

    7. USTA PD is a long time problem area and many feel that it is the biggest obstacle to the growth of tennis in this country. It is not the administrator or the coaches - – - it is the system that: hires so many foreign coaches when we have thousands of great US coaches; a system that dictates the way coaches must coach; the number of harmful and ill-conceived Mandates they have issued through the years – - – each one overturned when the next USTA PD regime comes to power; they say they will work close with local coaches and parents of top players but they never do; they say they do not “cherry pick”, but they do; the fact that so many juniors have gone to USTA Centers like Key Biscayne or Carsonor now Boca Raton and their rankings drop precipitously during their time there; and many other sad tales through the past 23 years. I say again, leave coaching to the private sector and not to our National Governing Body. It has never worked. It will not ever work.

    8. U10 Mandate set off a firestorm across the US. The harsh and legalistic letter to and the treatment of the Little Mo Tournaments was disgusting. We all certainly want to increase the number of juniors playing the great game in this country, but we must also take care of and treat fairly the juniors that are passionate about the game and who have been playing since they were little tykes and who now want a shot at competing against their peers with regular tennis balls when they are 8, 9 and 10. We cannot just say that we know these players will be harmed – - – we must allow them to compete and not just be told to play up in the 12s. We are all for graduated learning and using the various colored balls and racket and court lengths as an option in tournaments and as a teaching tool, but there are a great many kids who want the right to be able to play with regular yellow tennis balls in U10 competition. This U10 Mandate must be removed or at least tweaked. Parents and coaches across the country are sayinghave all the nerf ball and soft colored ball tournaments you want, just allow regular tournaments for juniors that want to play them in the U10s.

    9. Restore doubles rankings and have more doubles programming.

    10. Improve JTT by looking again at the SoCal system before National took it over. Team Tennis is a great way to get started in the game. It is a self-running program. Free entry. National and Regional Championships ending up at the second week of the US Open. More team events in general – - – zonals, intersectional.

    11. More support for HS Tennis! State Championships and National Championships at the US Open.

    12. More support for the Tennis Channel to get in more homes across the USA. So goes the Tennis Channel, so goes tennis. It is the most powerful force for tennis since the BJK vs. Bobby Riggs Match at the Houston Astrodome in 1973.

    13. More Futures and Challengers in the US.

    14. Do a better job getting out the vote for college and pro tennis matches. Have the USTA use their good offices to help fill stadiums for college and pro matches. And even HS Matches. Very powerful tool for so, so many reasons!!

    15. Return Senior Doubles to the US Open - – - similar to other Grand Slams.

    16. Have a first class and powerful National/Sectional Junior WEB Site with results reported every Monday along with ranking updates - – - both singles and doubles.

    We drilled down on these issues from our various positions.

    I cannot say these areas of concern will be resolved like turning on a light switch. The USTA has its governance and by laws and committee system. It has thousands of hard working volunteers who love our sport and work hard for it in so many ways. By no means are we trying to step on toes and there is tremendous admiration and appreciation for what these volunteers do. But there is just such an overwhelming opposition to so many things right now, that I believe it is in the best interest of tennis to have a more transparent procedural process. And it is time that the sport at large was consulted more on changes that impact it so greatly.
     
    #35
  36. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    From Tennis insiders continued

    I do, however, think there is a fresh wind blowing in tennis. Club pros and college coaches and high school coaches and concerned parents and tennis leaders are getting involved and speaking out. They are no longer afraid of USTA backlash, either real or imagined.

    I am heartened by the inclusive leadership of Dave Haggerty. He said that we have an 800 pound Gorilla in our American tennis living room and he wants to reduce it to a 400 pound Gorilla during his term. With his determination and skill set and wisdom, I think he has a good chance of turning that Gorilla into a slender little 20 pound Gibbon Monkey.

    Kurt was very gracious to meet with me after my harsh criticisms of USTA policies in recent years. Steve Bellamy also took time out of his busy schedule to sit in and contribute at our early morning meeting in Camarillo even though he had just flown in from New York and had slept very little after a week on the road.

    To complete the record, it must be reported that we closed downCoogie’s Restaurant in Malibu late on Wednesday Night and we were the first ones to arrive at Eggs ‘n Things in Camarillo on Thursday morning at the crack of dawn. It also must be disclosed that I paid for both meals and that Dave and Kurt shared a rental car – - – it was not a Limo and it was not a Lincoln Towncar - – - it was a American made small Chevy midsize.

    I did my best to represent the views of the parents and coaches that I speak with in my travels across the US, while Dave must work within the strictures and by laws and mission statement of theUSTA when he takes office in January. And Kurt has his duties to fulfill as well, but I can attest to the fact that these two men are very talented and bright and dedicated and caring and passionate about our game and they traveled a long way to chop some wood for American tennis.

    I am enthused and upbeat about the future of the great game and I will remain vigilant and I hope to meet with them again at the US Davis Cup match vs. Brazil in Jacksonville in early February. As always, I sure welcome your input by e mail . . . and I will continue to speak out when I see USTA institutional programs that are harmful to our American juniors and the great game itself.

    Best and thanks for all you do for tennis each day.

    Wayne Bryan
     
    #36
  37. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Good comments on the article posted above

    Peter says:
    November 9, 2012 at 7:12 am
    Many thanks to Wayne Bryan et al.I am the father of a ******* junior and there is not one parent who supports the USTA changes.The idea that eliminating tournaments and reducing draw sizes will grow or improve tennis is absurd.The Big Lie… Furthermore, every kid with a spring or early summer birthday ages up before the only remaining super nationals and will never get in. Thats probably 25% of the kids in the juniors. Our sport is being ruined.

    -------

    Peter says:
    November 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm
    Unintended consequence of USTA actions: A number of parents of almost elite level juniors have decided to pull the younger siblings out of tennis and concentrate on other sports with a better chance of a college ride.These are tennis families and the core constituent group of the USTA…..AND THEY HAVE BEEN ALIENATED.The level of betrayal is palpable.

    -----------------------

    10smom says:
    November 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm
    Every single parent at this weekends Girls 14′s Nationals was against the changes. And there were a lot of girls who would still be getting in everything and they don’t want any reductions at all.

    If anything, we everyone wants more tournaments and larger draws.
     
    #37
  38. Tennishacker

    Tennishacker Professional

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    Great response from Mr. Bryan.

    I agree on all his points, especially the foreigners in college issue.
     
    #38
  39. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    I am thrilled he is standing up for Americans in college tennis.
     
    #39
  40. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    From Parenting Aces.

    Notes from 2nd USTA Town Hall Listening Meeting Nov 24, 2012
    NOV 26
    Posted by parentingaces

    The following information was emailed to me by Jason Lampione – tennis coach, mentor, and writer – who was in attendance at the Rocky Hill, CT, “listening” meeting held by USTA.

    These are simply Jason’s notes taken during the meeting – he will be compiling his own analysis of them over the next day or so which I will then post on ParentingAces for you to read.

    This second meeting was led by incoming USTA President Dave Haggerty and USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman and was attended by 30-40 (exact number unknown) parents and coaches.

    (Lisa Stone) - I have inserted my comments in italics at the end of certain bullet points below.

    Tennis5 - red comments

    USTA released a statement via email to some key people after the meeting – that statement is posted in its entirety on the ParentingAces Facebook page. Please read and share all of this information with other tennis parents and coaches so our voices will be heard. Thank you.


    In two years, we would like to see the USTA go from an 800 pound gorilla to a more balanced 400 pounds. (D. Haggerty)
    Sorry, but have to ask -
    Are the kids the bloated weight that they are getting rid of?


    Communication and structure are problematic within the USTA. (parent)

    This is an issue that I’ve been discussing with various USTA committee members and staff. They have to do a better job of communicating with the membership. USTA has a Facebook page, is on Twitter, and sends out regular emails – the tools are in place. There is no excuse for the lack of communication on these proposed changes and other relevant issues.

    We’re going to reduce the cost of travel within each section of the USTA.
    (D. Haggerty)

    How is USTA going to accomplish this feat? They’re proposing to CREATE REGIONS now, potentially increasing the cost of travelling to tournaments. Is USTA going to develop relationships with gasoline companies and airlines and hotel chains to give discounts to members? If so, I’m in full support!

    Kids at every level have better competition through earned attainment. (K. Kamperman)
    I agree with this statement as it applies WITHIN sections. However, we all realize that the strength between sections varies enormously, so if a player emerges as the best in a weak section then goes to a national event to compete against the best player in a strong section, I’m not sure how that’s better competition for the strong-section player.
    If that was really so, then the USTA wouldn't need to hand out all these wild cards each year. Fact is some of the really good kids haven't lived in their section or state in years.....
    Let me ask a different question, what about a junior from a weak section.
    Their chance to improve is to play up.
    Now if you can only get into the 12's off your sectional ranking, that ends playing up in the 14's for that year.


    Our children are playing each other at least 5, 6 and even 7 times within the tournament format within our section. (parent)
    That’s why it’s good to have the option to play OUTSIDE your section. Why would USTA want to limit or eliminate that option? I still don’t understand the reasoning here.


    The regional format is pretty good. (parent)
    I would question whether or not this parent has looked at the new region map and how much travel it could potentially involve.

    Playing other regions gives better competition. (parent)
    I agree. Kids love the chance to play against new opponents. That’s why we need to increase the opportunities to play nationally and increase the draws at those national events.

    Playing within only one region doesn’t allow for proper player development. (parent)
    I think it depends upon the region. But, generally speaking, yes, I would agree with this statement. Playing a wider variety of opponents gives a developing player the opportunity to learn how to deal with a variety of tactics, making him/her into a more complete player.

    In the small sections, playing the same 5 kids over and over is the kiss of death for most juniors and will lead to boredom and yes, quitting.


    The consensus is that variety is good! (K. Kamperman)
    Yes, it is!

    It is terrible that players cannot get on-court coaching. (parent)
    That’s an issue for another day.

    I spend all this money, and our players have very limited options. (parent)


    The pressure to perform and accumulate points in each round is incredible and very costly to us parents. (parent)
    Pressure to perform is a big part of tennis, of any sport really. If that pressure is harming your child, then maybe it’s time to find a different activity that is better-suited to the child’s temperament. High-level competition is NOT for everybody!


    You cannot limit a player’s potential just by their ranking or age. (parent)
    I’m not exactly sure what this parent is saying. I think we all agree that the current PPR ranking system could use some work.


    Distance and travel, financially, is troublesome for certain parents, especially outside our region! (parent)

    In the Eastern section, I am being charged 25 dollars per each tournament main draw entry along with traveling expenses. This is becoming too much for me and my husband to handle, financially speaking! (parent)
    I think we can all agree that tennis is an expensive sport, especially if you’re trying to develop a player to the top echelons. However, I must say I’m surprised by the $25 entry fee – we pay much higher fees ($45 and up) in our section, even at local tournaments.
     
    #40
  41. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Parenting Aces continued

    International players are heavily marketed here in the United States, and our American counterparts are being singled out! (parent)
    I’m not sure I understand this statement. If someone could clarify for me, that would be helpful.


    From experience, most USTA coaches only support players here in the United States who are highly ranked! (parent)
    That’s a problem inherent in the Player ID and Player Development departments of USTA. Those departments are charged with identifying players who have the potential to become our next American champions. The question becomes: would the dollars allocated to paying the salaries of those coaches be better spent supporting local coaches who are developing top-level players in their own backyards?


    The entire ‘talent id’ for pre-adolescents is a complete crap shoot. (K. Kamperman)
    Amen, Mr. Kamperman! I’m hoping to see USTA do away with this piece of the puzzle entirely and paint with a broader brush when using its financial resources for player development.

    So, if it is a "complete crap shoot", why continue to pour millions into PD?

    The Mid-Atlantic region converts every parent into a cash machine and is ultra selective as per the ability of the player they choose to work with. (parent)

    I feel that I should homeschool my child just so he/she can get ahead and attend a better school! (parent)
    I still don’t understand how the proposed changes are going to reduce missed school days. Can someone please explain that one to me? Is homeschooling going to become the necessary norm for those wanting to achieve the highest levels in junior tennis? Is it already the norm?

    Wow, folks, if you are pulling your kid out of school to attend a better college, they still have to be able to do the high level work in college.
    My daughter plays a college sport and why the coach cares about her performance, she doesn't care if she has a high level job when she is 40.


    By expanding the participation base here in the United States, we have a wider audience to draw from, player-wise! (K. Kamperman)
    Agree.

    When my child is being coached at a club, I have no idea how to measure the quality of the program with regard to the training environment! (parent)
    This is where USTA could really step in and prove to be a valuable resource to parents. I hope the parent quoted here finds my blog and reads my series on Choosing A Coach!

    I am in favor of increased draw sizes at the national level, tournament wise! (parent)
    Me, too!

    You [the USTA] need to make the draws more backended! (parent)
    What does that mean?

    We have to look at the structure, with regard to the rankings. (K. Kamperman)
    I’m not sure what Mr. Kamperman is saying here. Is he concerned about the current PPR ranking system? If so, I’m very glad to hear that and hope that it is re-evaluated to include head-to-head competition.


    There isn’t any other ranking system in any other sport that doesn’t come under heavy scrutiny! (K. Kamperman)

    I’d like to see more American players get more scholarships. (D. Haggerty)
    Me, too, Mr. Haggerty! How is USTA going to make that happen? Is it going to take a firmer stand with NCAA and college coaches and athletic directors? We need USTA to advocate for our kids in this regard.

    I think it is good for both the American and International players to compete with one another. (D. Haggerty)
    That is why the ITF circuit is such a great option for many players.

    If that is so, why were so many ITFs cut in this country?


    The USTA is not in the driver’s seat for college scholarships. (K. Kamperman)
    Right. Those rules are established by NCAA. USTA could, however, take a stronger position and advocate for increased scholarships on the men’s side and for limiting the number of scholarships that go to international players. The NJCAA has already paved the way.

    Well, we all saw the USTA exert pressure on the NCAA with the proposed college tennis changes, why can't they exert the same pressure about a 2 man foreign cap per team?
    Not to be cynical, but probably because that doesn't help the USTA get the two players into the US Open. If college tennis had a bunch of 4 star and 5 stars playing with their blue chips, that would be the kiss of death.


    The parents’ feedback and recommendations have no value with regard to influencing change within the USTA. (parent)
    I think these listening meetings prove otherwise. At the very least, USTA is making an effort to get feedback directly from those of us affected by these proposed changes. Whether or not it acts on that feedback is yet to be seen. I’m trying to remain hopeful.

    Actually, I don't understand the concept of a listening tour.
    What would be better would be a Q and A where they actually responded to valid complaints.


    The players from Florida and California are complaining that other sections have weaker competition. (parent)
    The statistics confirm that fact. I looked at the November 2012 National Standing List for the Boys 18s – the sections with the most players in the top 100 are (in order) Southern California (17), Texas & Southern (tied with 12), Florida & Eastern (tied with 10), and ******* (9).


    If I was running the USTA like a business, I don’t know why I would limit American players’ options! (parent)

    Folks, that is a veiled threat. There is talk that if the USTA goes through with these changes, there are a few deep pocket tennis folks who will start another tennis association and I believe TRN will cover those matches.


    I think it is good business if the USTA supports the passion of players here in the US. (parent)

    The emotional rollercoaster that my child suffers, because of the extreme pressure in performing, is hampering his passion to wanna compete. (parent) High-level competition isn’t for everyone. Parents have to look at each child to determine what’s in his/her best interest. One thing I will say is that, at least in the Southern section, there are many levels of competition from which to choose. For a player who doesn’t thrive under the pressure of high-level play, there are other options to still compete but at a lower stress level.


    Parents aren’t seeing developmental plans from USTA coaches. (parent)
    Again, I feel like USTA could really be a positive force if it would become more of a guide for parents trying to navigate the complicated tournament and development system.

    We’re gonna look at all recommended proposals and pass them on to section leaders. (K. Kamperman)
    A question that was posed on the ParentingAces Facebook page: “What will compel USTA to change anything as a result of holding these ‘listening’ meetings?” I would really like to hear USTA’s answer to this question as I think it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle.

    A VOTE FROM THE USTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS REGARDING A PAUSE TO THE CHANGES FOR 2013 WILL TAKE PLACE IN DECEMBER 2012. USTA LEADERSHIP WILL REVIEW FEEDBACK FROM THESE “LISTENING” MEETINGS DURING THE ANNUAL MEETING IN MARCH AFTER WHICH A VOTE WILL BE TAKEN ON HOW TO PROCEED IN 2014. (K. Kamperman)
    This is why we need to communicate NOW with our section presidents and let them know our thoughts on these proposed changes. Time is of the essence.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
    #41
  42. tennis5

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    Parenting Aces continued....

    Currently, 88,000 kids play at all levels here in the US. (K. Kamperman)

    Increasing participation at the high school level will help increase the USTA bottom line, player-wise! (coach)
    I have to disagree with this statement, at least insofar as high school tennis in Georgia is currently structured. Our state high school association has passed an eligibility rule which will effectively eliminate all high-performance players from their high school teams. The level of competition in our state’s high schools has become on par with recreational league tennis.

    I travel from Rochester to NYC seven times a year and it is VERY costly and time-consuming. (parent)
    I wonder if the USTA is willing to pick up the traveling expenses for players who travel outside of their respective region.
    (parent) I know my section (Southern) does have need-based scholarship funds available to help offset some of the costs of junior tennis. I’m guessing other sections have something similar.

    I’m on the board of player development for the New England section and am concerned about these new rule changes. (coach)

    There is no guarantee for our children, especially when we have to spend so much money for travel and tournament fees that I am beginning to think the investment isn’t worth it anymore! (parent)
    That is a decision each family has to make for itself. With my three kids, only one of whom is a tennis player, I’ve found that pursuing an interest to the point of mastery is expensive, whether it’s a sport or an art form.


    I still would like someone to ask the question about Winter Nationals.....
    1)It doesn't interfere with school...........
    2) IT IS AFFORDABLE TO PARENTS WHO LIVE IN THAT AREA....
    3) It gives spring birthdays an opportunity to GET INTO the tournament.
    4) It provides the cold weather indoor players an opportunity to play outdoors.

    What is interesting is Eddie Herr and the Orange Bowl interferes with school.
    And the question that begs to be asked are the "top players" that are playing these two long events in December too physically exhausted
    to play Winter Nationals in the SAME month, so the USTA feels like it is not in "their" best interest to have this tournament.


    The proposed dates for the remaining “listening” meetings are as follows:

    December 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples FL
    December 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, AZ
    December 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson, AZ
    Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta, GA
    Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, TX
     
    #42
  43. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    News article - 12/5 - Kampermann said these meetings will explain the changes and rat

    Is this a done deal?

    RELATED TOPICS

    Tennisjunior tennischangesUSTA

    http://www.examiner.com/article/usta-s-listening-tour-is-about-listening-and-more

    By a quick glance at the United States Tennis Association's website their mission is clear.
    “To promote and develop the growth of tennis”

    It's with that in mind that the USTA is in the midst a series of town hall meetings, dubbed a "listening tour" to discuss not only changes to its junior competition calendar, but a change in structure and philosophy that they hope will pay off on many fronts. They are inviting all concerned parties to attend and ask questions.

    "The USTA realizes that change is difficult," admits Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA. "When you look at how our competitive system is faring and when you look at the numbers, and the numbers don't lie-- and they tell an interesting story."

    That story is one where tennis is often left out and forgotten.

    Vegosen went on:

    "In this country (we have) 40 million registered youth sports participants, and over 99% of them do not play tennis, so we have a huge market we could and should be growing if we are to fulfill our mission."

    I was able to talk with Vegosen, and Kurt Kampermann, USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis about the "listening tour" as a couple of the dates are now in the books and about how the proposed changes will change the face of junior tennis in America.

    The consensus is this that the town hall meetings are great, but some are wondering if what's being discussed is falling on deaf ears, or are questions being answered and alternatives being considered.

    "We are happy to answer any questions that come up in town hall meetings," offered up Kampermann. "I can tell you in the first two, we didn't have as many questions as we had opinions."

    The USTA said these meeting are about giving people the opportunity to "weigh in."
    One things all parties involved can agree on is the junior tennis competitive structure in the is country is very complicated.

    Kampermann said these meetings will explain the changes and rationale. From the change in draw sizes, to putting an emphasis on play at the local and sectional levels.

    "It's been a challenge to make sure people understand the whole picture," said Kampermann. "We really are taking their feedback to heart, and our goal is not be be right, but to get it right."

    Vegosen says the new structure creates more opportunities and that means more numbers.


    "We need a bigger pool of kids that are actually competing at tennis," explains Kampermann, who has taught juniors, and has witnessed how other countries are going about developing junior tennis players.

    "We want kids to reach their full potential," echoed Vegosen.

    Only 20,000 kids under the age of 10 are playing junior competitive tennis in the country, the USTA is trying to get the world out about how they want to change that.

    The 10 & Under Tennis and Quickstart programs are already out there, and data is being collected.

    Vegosen said he expects it to be successful, and the national tournament structure and ranking system they are proposing to compliment and accommodate all the tennis players that will be in the system.

    Whether it will pass, and then work, remains to be seen. The USTA knows they can't please everyone, but they are trying... and listening.

    Remaining meetings are as follows:

    Dec. 16: ITA Convention (for convention attendees only), Naples, Fla.
    Dec. 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, Ariz.
    Dec. 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson
    Jan. 10-13: Southern Section annual meeting, Atlanta
    Feb. 15-17: Texas Section annual meeting, Grapevine, Texas
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    #43
  44. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    From Zoo Tennis

    Unfortunately, Julie and I don't share the same view of foreigners in college tennis
    ( I am for a two man cap) and she feels it is great tennis,
    but I do wish the question of how the smaller draws will affect kids being recruited to college was raised.

    Ok, here is her recap. Also, check it out on Zoo Tennis:

    USTA Town Hall Meeting at ITA Convention

    I drove across the state and back today to attend the USTA luncheon and Town Hall meeting at the ITA Coaches Convention in Naples, FL. I was invited to attend by the USTA's Bill Mountford, who had initially signed on to present to the college coaches about the 10-and-under tennis initiative, but when the October Tennis Industry meeting in Chicago resulted in the scheduling of Town Hall meetings and a listening tour to discuss the upcoming Junior Competition changes, that presentation was truncated, with more time allotted for questions for about junior competition changes.

    In attendance for the USTA were Mountford and outgoing president Jon Vegosen, who were on the podium, and Junior Competition committee member and now chairperson Andrea Norman and USTA Junior Competition Director Lew Brewer at a front table, who were available for questions.

    Vegosen explained the philosophy behind the changes, emphasizing the need to have more local tennis opportunities for young people when they begin exploring all the youth sports available to them.

    The coaches received a one-page "CliffNotes" version of the document, with the 2014 schedule as proposed, but there was definitely a wide range of awareness and understanding of the new structure. Several coaches voiced support of the concept of returning to sectional play, saying the value of those tournaments to them has decreased with some of the best players not playing in them. There was a comment about the size of the four regions for the new regionals and the travel required (Minnesota to Texas in this particular case), but I didn't detect from Norman any sense this might be altered.

    As those of you who read zootennis regularly know, I have been studying the changes as they've been presented in the nine-page document the USTA has released for many months, and have followed many of the blogs and forums that have delved into the issue. I don't claim to understand how it will all work, but I do find the notion that every player(save wild cards) who qualify for the two gold ball Nationals remaining--the Clays and Hard Courts--must come from sectional endorsements. There is no other way in. It may result in the best players in the United States playing sectionals again, or it may result in the best players skipping the nationals, playing ITFs instead.

    I made only two comments during the meeting, the first to point out that as long as the ITF path exists in the United States (and every other country in the world, more or less) and it potentially leads to the US Open Junior Championships, some players will take that option, rather than the one the USTA provides. As USC coach Peter Smith said about this, "the cat's out of the bag," and no structure the USTA sets up can reverse that change in junior tennis.

    David Roditi of TCU, who was a National Coach for the USTA before he returned to coach the men's team at his alma mater, asked if these changes may mean two separate paths: one to the US Open Juniors and one to the USTA Nationals. He mentioned that good players skip the national tournaments in Mexico, opting instead for ITF events, and while there are obviously big differences in the two countries and their federations, it is a point worth considering. Now players can do both, but will the elimination of the national standing list force them to choose one or the other?

    This led to a wild card discussion, and 16 wild cards is the number set aside for the 128 draws in the boys and girls 18s. Peter Wright of Cal asked if those might be tied to some sort of qualification system, as the ITA does for its wild cards or at-large selections.

    As for the 128 draws themselves, a few coaches were for them, seeing in the 192-draws a number of players not of college quality; a few agreed that a qualifying event prior to the two remaining nationals would be a good solution, and Vegosen said that is being considered.

    I've always thought qualifiers a dependable and easy-to-understand part of tennis, so I am hopeful this will happen, but that brings me to my second comment at the luncheon.

    It wasn't really a comment, but a question. I wanted to know how the coaches felt about the demise of the Winter Nationals, or rather, the metamorphosis of it to a team event. I'm not sure how many coaches had absorbed this change prior to the luncheon, but Shelia McInerney of Arizona State said she liked team events, citing the August 18s Team championships and their format. Peter Smith suggested the 64 players involved in the Winter Nationals (with the "waterfalls") were too few to justify the expense of a recruiting trip and suggested more team events in the younger age divisions, saying the 12s zonals always are at the top of his college players' favorite tournaments list.

    Mountford made sure that those coaches who didn't speak to the issues raised during the 90-minute meeting (and I just touched on a few) had an option to contact him privately later, and he also encouraged everyone to use the email account letusknow@usta.com for further, private feedback and suggestions. The ITA will be sending links to the USTA's one-page and nine-page documents to its members following the meeting to help raise awareness among the coaches.

    It's my perception that he monitors this account himself and will use it to help quantify the support for the tweaks being considered. I do not think the plan, voted and approved in March of this year, will be scrapped. The USTA appears to be committed to its philosophy and its implementation, and that includes the sections (save Southern, perhaps). But I think if enough people take the time to understand the new structure and comment on what they would like to see changed in it, the USTA will take those emails seriously. If they don't hear from those affected, they will presume agreement with the changes that will be implemented in 2014.

    The next Town Hall listening meetings are at the Winter Nationals:

    December 26: 16s & 18s Winter Nationals, Scottsdale, AZ
    December 27: 12s & 14s Winter Nationals, Tucson, AZ


    Please attend if you can.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
    #44
  45. MarTennis

    MarTennis Rookie

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    rouge association...

    ...may be a good thing for the overclass to start, it will pretty much eliminate the vocal opposition, cull the silent opposition and allow the USTA to implement the changes for better or worse. Definitely not a reason to chuck the changes.
     
    #45
  46. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    50% Reduction in National Ranking Point Opportunities

    The approved (but temporarily suspended) changes by USTA on junior tennis schedule would effectively reduce opportunities for juniors to play national events including team competitions, by 54%, 44%, 44%, and 54% for 12s, 14s, 16s, and 18s, respectively. Few folks, however, have recognized that the changes will also reduce opportunities for junior to play sectional tournaments that would earn them national ranking points by 50% in all age groups!
    Currently sections host 1 L3, 3 L4, and 8 L5 tournaments (12 in total) in a year. The new structure would allow sections to host a total of 6 tournaments, 2 L3, and 4 L4, from which juniors can earn their national ranking points. This is a 50% reduction!!!
     
    #46
  47. Alohajrtennis

    Alohajrtennis Semi-Pro

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    Yeah, we noticed this...

    Couple other things you may not have noticed though....national ranking points and a dollar will get you on the bus....under the new system, sectional ranking points are what primarily matter until you are top 64 or so....
     
    #47
  48. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

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    In our section, most top players play sectional championship. Bjorn Fratangelo may be the only exception. The section quota is used for L3 and Clay and Hard Court Supernationals only. National Selection Tournaments (3 sites, 32 draw - national ranking top 150?), Winter Teams (2 teams, 32 players each - national ranking top 100?) and Easter Bowl (32 draw - national ranking top 50?) will require high national ranking to get in. These L5 tournaments are very popular for younger players to play up. We had 13-14 year old kids playing B18/L5.

    BTW, would it be a good idea for USTA to keep the winter national and move these new team competitions to mid August?

    National Grand Master and Sweet 16 should be helpful for developing top players. The very best juniors are playing ITF or Futures.
     
    #48
  49. tennis5

    tennis5 Professional

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    Keep in mind that the USTA PD coaches had a hand in designing the changes.

    So, is it in their best interest to have their players do Eddie Herr, OB, and then Winter Nationals?

    No.

    So, the event that was designed, (this small team event), where the players stay for training by coaches after they lose.

    Interesting, never heard of a NATIONAL TOURNAMENT FOR A GOLD BALL
    where the players stay and get free training by coaches....

    Original document had a large percentage of kids wild card into this event.

    I wonder who the USTA will choose?
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2012
    #49
  50. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    So basically the USTA doesn't have to bother putting on half their tournaments anymore?
     
    #50

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