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-   -   High School Tennis Should Mirror College (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=444800)

Mitch Bridge 11-04-2012 07:14 AM

High School Tennis Should Mirror College
 
Why doesn't HS Tennis just copy college tennis? This is the biggest killer of American tennis! Our high school teams are too big, and our tennis athletes don't get any credibility at school because the lower level varsity players aren't varsity-level athletes. If there were 6 players on varsity, all playing doubles and singles, the competition would be fearce. Instead, the lowest varsity spots are taken by new tennis players who haven't put in the work and probably got cut from another sport and found it easy to letter in tennis.

If we want our better athletes to pick up tennis, there better be some respect from non-tennis athletes to the tennis athletes, or they will choose a different sport like they are doing now. When a player makes varsity golf everyone knows that that kid is good at golf. Not so with tennis! With six spots all kids will be pressured into taking it seriously all year like all of the other sports. The one guy will want to stay on top. The two and three will be chasing the one spot. The four-six spots will want to make varsity and the top jv will be vying for varsity, etc.

Pressurization is the key to motivation. Right now the singles kids(3) in California are motivated, but the doubles players are less motivated(6). Also, kids will develop better skills playing singles and doubles and they would have better match-ups playing matches in their own slots.

Participation is a weak argument for the current structure. There could be as many JV and Frosh/Soph teams as needed to satisfy all players that try out. This will make the JV and Frosh/Soph schedules much more competitive and interesting. Right now JV is like a death sentence to most tennis careers. Put the kid in a format with only a few good matches and he will lose respect for the sport and not gain valuable experience to move up the food chain.

A six man team could use one or two courts for practice, so lack of courts a problem either. There are courts everywhere. Night practice at local facilities is ok as well.

Our tennis athletes need to be respected high school athletes among their peers at school to feel like they are a vital part of the athletic high school landscape. Only when this happens will more top athletes pick up this difficult but awesome sport!

InspectorRacquet 11-04-2012 08:36 AM

I see two problems with this.

1. High school students are high school students, and only the top two (or three at max) actually get lessons and play tennis competitively. The rest are learners or casual players. Thus, they don't have the physical stamina to play singles and then doubles.

2. Many schools have a challenge system, where they play someone higher on the ladder and when they beat the higher seed, the two switch spots. One match can decide everything. If someone has an off day, and they lose, say goodbye to varsity and playing for the team. The point of having 12 players instead of six is to get more people playing tennis, too.

I really think number 1 is the real reason, but the college system just can't work in high school.

floridatennisdude 11-04-2012 01:29 PM

The college format would be great, but I think it's more of a time issue. College matches get played on weekends and hs matches are normally a school night activity. Can't ask kids to spend 4-5 hours on the court every Tuesday and Thursday. Administrators wouldn't let that happen.

Mitch Bridge 11-04-2012 02:34 PM

1. High school students are high school students, and only the top two (or three at max) actually get lessons and play tennis competitively. The rest are learners or casual players. Thus, they don't have the physical stamina to play singles and then doubles.


Train to get the stamina. Doubles warms them up well for singles. They will all take it more seriously and it will push their fitness level as well. Time is an issue, but matches will end when a team has 4. In college most matches in tournaments go 4-0 or 4-1. The rarer longer matches will be exciting as tension builds.

InspectorRacquet 11-04-2012 03:21 PM

I don't think telling high school students to train more is a simple answer. College tennis is MUCH more competitive than high school tennis. I know you want the college format to make high school tennis more competitive and exciting, but the problem is that high school sports is just that - a high school sport.

This goes with my point that there are usually only two lesson kids and the rest being casual players. The lesson kids are competitive to begin with, while the rest usually just play because tennis is fun. College, however (talking only division 1,2, and 3 - not junior college), is filled to the brim with lesson kids. You can't make the team without having gotten lessons at some point in your life.

The players are just too different as far as background and ability, which is why I like the separate formats for high school and college.

sundaypunch 11-04-2012 03:49 PM

Why doesn't HS tennis copy college tennis? Because it is high school, not college. High school sports are not in place to produce champion athletes. It is more about giving kids access to sports and being part of a team.

Let's also not forget that the best tennis players don't even bother with HS tennis.

Mitch Bridge 11-05-2012 05:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundaypunch (Post 6994904)
Why doesn't HS tennis copy college tennis? Because it is high school, not college. High school sports are not in place to produce champion athletes. It is more about giving kids access to sports and being part of a team.

Let's also not forget that the best tennis players don't even bother with HS tennis.

Let's keep mind high school football and high school basketball are played at a very high level. Tennis can be pushed to a much higher level also. In fact, it needs to be.

WARPWOODIE 11-05-2012 06:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundaypunch (Post 6994904)
High school sports are not in place to produce champion athletes. It is more about giving kids access to sports and being part of a team.

Let's also not forget that the best tennis players don't even bother with HS tennis.

Yes, I agree. I have come to the same realization as well....that the mission of high school sports is to give access (inclusiveness) for kids to participate in sports however the varying levels of skills.

High school tennis is really hit or miss, it depends on several factors, how well the program is funded, how it is supported by the school and community, it is a wide spectrum. You have schools and communities that are well to do, have immaculate courts to play on, with players wearing nice uniforms, have great coaching, then you have the other side that is totally the opposite....possibly in the same league. You'll be lucky if you are in a strong league and the tournament playing kids eventually rises to the top for the league championships which leads them to the State Championship anyway.

Woolybugger 11-05-2012 06:41 AM

It's all about money - how much it brings to the school district. Football brings in the most money so it's the most competitive, most attention, $50mil stadiums, highly-paid coaches, etc. Tennis - peanuts, forget it.

NLBwell 11-05-2012 07:04 AM

In high school, you are supposed to be teaching the game. As many players as possible should be playing. (Of course court availability,etc. limits that)

dlesser13 11-05-2012 07:30 AM

My HS tennis team and many other teams around the are are competitive on the level that you suggest in that basically only our top 6 players play the matches that count. We would each play a doubles and a singles and our lineup's were pretty much set. If you weren't top 6, tough luck unless you could challenge up. In a good district in Texas, the majorty of the teams will at least be champs through their top 6, with the top 3-4 possibly being super/collegiate level players. Of course there will always be the teams that just don't have the same talent pool to select from and will always be at a disadvantage.

Mitch Bridge 11-05-2012 07:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NLBwell (Post 6995946)
In high school, you are supposed to be teaching the game. As many players as possible should be playing. (Of course court availability,etc. limits that)

Mirroring college tennis doesn't limit the amount of players that can be in the tennis program. You can have several JV teams and Frosh/Soph teams with parent/coach volunteers.

If high school sports don't produce professional athletes then where did all of the HS football and basketball players play? We need to have some of that in tennis. Team tennis will help tennis popularity.

sundaypunch 11-05-2012 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitch Bridge (Post 6996040)
Mirroring college tennis doesn't limit the amount of players that can be in the tennis program. You can have several JV teams and Frosh/Soph teams with parent/coach volunteers.

If high school sports don't produce professional athletes then where did all of the HS football and basketball players play? We need to have some of that in tennis. Team tennis will help tennis popularity.

There already is a well established system for juniors with a hope of turning pro - USTA tennis. None of the serious tennis juniors in the USA have any interest in playing for their local HS team.

It's not that HS sports don't produce professional athletes. They just don't produce professional tennis players. Elite players end up at an academy, not a high school.

Comparing HS football and basketball to tennis is a flawed analogy. For these sports playing in HS then a D1 college is the conventional route to turning pro. That's not the case with tennis. Also, these sports have very large rosters on the HS team. This is in line with the mission of HS sports. Reducing a varsity tennis team to a handful of players serves no useful purpose.

JLyon 11-05-2012 10:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by floridatennisdude (Post 6994694)
The college format would be great, but I think it's more of a time issue. College matches get played on weekends and hs matches are normally a school night activity. Can't ask kids to spend 4-5 hours on the court every Tuesday and Thursday. Administrators wouldn't let that happen.

Texas Team Tennis is 3 Doubles, 6 Singles, and 1 Mixed Doubles = 19 matches play 2x a week setup just like College except Boys and Girls count in Total Team Total

andfor 11-05-2012 10:48 AM

H.S. sports are controlled by each state H.S. sports association. The USTA and NCAA have little to no impact on the decisions H.S. sports associations make regarding how a sport is formatted for play. Trying to make it uniform across the country would be very time consuming and not worth the effort. The best we can do is to make sure tennis continues to be played and supported by as many highschools and colleges across the country. This can best be done by supporting your local H.S. and college teams by at a minimum attending a few of their matches.

Mitch Bridge 11-06-2012 05:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundaypunch (Post 6996169)
There already is a well established system for juniors with a hope of turning pro - USTA tennis. None of the serious tennis juniors in the USA have any interest in playing for their local HS team.

It's not that HS sports don't produce professional athletes. They just don't produce professional tennis players. Elite players end up at an academy, not a high school.

Comparing HS football and basketball to tennis is a flawed analogy. For these sports playing in HS then a D1 college is the conventional route to turning pro. That's not the case with tennis. Also, these sports have very large rosters on the HS team. This is in line with the mission of HS sports. Reducing a varsity tennis team to a handful of players serves no useful purpose.

First of all, Jack Sock comes to mind.

Secondly, changing HS tennis format is the key to making it a big deal. We are missing the boat on bringing great athletes into tennis. High school is the peak of playing careers for almost all junior players. We need to improve it.

The argument of participation is moot in that you could have as many JV teams as you would want with the help of parent volunteers.

andfor 11-06-2012 06:33 AM

I've always contended if there was a way to incorporate USTA ranking points to H.S. tennis that may be one way to generate more interest among the top players.

sundaypunch 11-06-2012 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mitch Bridge (Post 6997960)
First of all, Jack Sock comes to mind.

Secondly, changing HS tennis format is the key to making it a big deal. We are missing the boat on bringing great athletes into tennis. High school is the peak of playing careers for almost all junior players. We need to improve it.

The argument of participation is moot in that you could have as many JV teams as you would want with the help of parent volunteers.

Yes, but just not the ones that are on track to be professionals. High school tennis isn't the vehicle for what you are suggesting.

Mitch Bridge 11-06-2012 07:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundaypunch (Post 6998113)
Yes, but just not the ones that are on track to be professionals. High school tennis isn't the vehicle for what you are suggesting.

I am not suggesting HS tennis needs to be better to attract more potential professsional players. It needs to be better to make our sport bigger and better. Why wouldn't all tennis players want our game more respected, and the quality of play higher. Doesn't make sense leaving it in mediocrity. It is the fifth biggest sport in the US and will only climb with changes like this one that I am presenting.

WARPWOODIE 11-06-2012 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andfor (Post 6998080)
I've always contended if there was a way to incorporate USTA ranking points to H.S. tennis that may be one way to generate more interest among the top players.

That is a great idea!! :)....but how would those points be applied?...say for a freshmen still playing the 14s versus a senior who is in the 18s. In HS tennis, the age of players doesn't factor in the play.

Better yet, allow the one on one match ups of the tournament playing kids to reflect their match results in their TRN profiles, provided they already have TRN ratings. By doing so, it gives the tournament playing kids, who never would have considered playing HS tennis, a second look. Their is plenty of high level competition in HS league and State Championships. I even heard, but can't confirm, that colleges coaches/recruiters show up to watch players that have interest in their programs.


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