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-   -   The USTA 12 and under Junior Development Pathway (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=459471)

barringer97 04-01-2013 06:45 AM

The USTA 12 and under Junior Development Pathway
 
I believe that all junior parents and coaches need to read this. If you have a kid, any kid, that is going to play in 12 and under competition, this will effect you (eventually).

This is only for the NorCal section, but it seems like it is going to gain steam and be nationwide. I (my kids) are a freaking guinea pigs for this nonsense.

Please see linked PDF:

http://assets.usta.com/assets/635/15...yer1-2-131.PDF

There are three stages of the Junior Development Pathway;
Red, Orange and Green, each with their own court
size and type of ball. If you are new to competition
you will be in the first level (Red 2, Orange 3, or
Green 3) of the color you are age eligible for. After
completing the requirements listed underneath the
ball in each level you advance to the following
level. If you do not complete the requirements in a
level and are no longer age eligible to participate
you will automatically move into the next color.


What is the 12 & Under Pathway?
The new 12 & under pathway is the new initiative by USTA to help students progress from red, orange, green, and yellow ball. Based on a players age, not level they will start playing that color and have to complete certain requirements to move to the next level. Red ball is 8 & under, Orange ball is 10 & under, and Green is 11 and older.

What are the requirements to move to the next level?
All players that didn't play Junior Team Tennis or a Sanctioned Tournament in 2012 will be considered a new player. The lucky one's that are returning players may choose the level they want to play at. If you are considered a new player then you will start at Red Ball for 8 & unders. To move to the next level you need to complete 2 seasons of junior team tennis, 8 play days, and 2 team tournaments.

New 9 & 10 Year olds will play at the Orange level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and 2 seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to green ball.

New 11 & 12 year olds will play at the Green level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and two seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to regular yellow balls.

Will the Pathway be enforced?
Yes the pathway will be enforced. Each player will have a box by their name on the USTA website stating what level they are eligible for.

What are the problems with the Pathway?
Personally, I don't love the colored balls, but I can live with it. The biggest thing I dislike about the pathway is the requirements. It takes all the power out of the player, parent, and coach to decide what is best for the individual. After all tennis is an individual sport.

What if your son or daughter is too strong for a level or starts at the perfect level but improves quickly with enthusiasm? It takes about 6-12 months to progress through all the requirements. It is demoralizing for students not to be rewarded for their hardwork.

What if my son or daughter is 8 years old and plays orange or green already? It doesn't matter as they system goes by age not level. They will start at the bottom of red.

Another problem with the pathway is that USTA doesn't have a system of tournaments and Junior Team Tennis in place. This is the pilot year, which means that we are all guinea pigs. Most of the events and systems in place are piece mailed together as they figure things out just like this requirement.
......................

Are you guys fine with this? Forcing your players play certain levels until they play a season of Junior Team Tennis at all three balls? Maybe having you kid still playing Green Dot at 12 years old? I'm freaking ****ed.

tennis_balla 04-01-2013 07:01 AM

At 11 years old (1991) I played tournaments with an 11+ounce racket and regular balls, there were a ton of kids competing and it didn't matter to them if tennis was supposedly difficult or what not. We played, because we loved to play tennis. We didn't care if the ball felt heavy or whatever. Injuries happened from bad technique and not bad equipment. Our coaches focused on proper execution of strokes, proper footwork and court positioning.

As a coach reading this, this is way too much regulated. You will end up having 2 groups of kids. The regular juniors who will be forced to go through this system, and then ones who are considered talents who will train at academies like Nick B's and the like or private lessons will skip tournaments altogether until they are older or play up a category if allowed. Possibly even establishing their own tournaments to compete in.

I am not saying this progression is all bad, I think its a great tool for a lot of kids HOWEVER the decision to put everyone into the same pile and make it a cookie cutter system is beyond ridiculous and will only hurt development of juniors in the US.

raging 04-01-2013 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by barringer97 (Post 7318477)
I believe that all junior parents and coaches need to read this. If you have a kid, any kid, that is going to play in 12 and under competition, this will effect you (eventually).

This is only for the NorCal section, but it seems like it is going to gain steam and be nationwide. I (my kids) are a freaking guinea pigs for this nonsense.

Please see linked PDF:

http://assets.usta.com/assets/635/15...yer1-2-131.PDF

There are three stages of the Junior Development Pathway;
Red, Orange and Green, each with their own court
size and type of ball. If you are new to competition
you will be in the first level (Red 2, Orange 3, or
Green 3) of the color you are age eligible for. After
completing the requirements listed underneath the
ball in each level you advance to the following
level. If you do not complete the requirements in a
level and are no longer age eligible to participate
you will automatically move into the next color.


What is the 12 & Under Pathway?
The new 12 & under pathway is the new initiative by USTA to help students progress from red, orange, green, and yellow ball. Based on a players age, not level they will start playing that color and have to complete certain requirements to move to the next level. Red ball is 8 & under, Orange ball is 10 & under, and Green is 11 and older.

What are the requirements to move to the next level?
All players that didn't play Junior Team Tennis or a Sanctioned Tournament in 2012 will be considered a new player. The lucky one's that are returning players may choose the level they want to play at. If you are considered a new player then you will start at Red Ball for 8 & unders. To move to the next level you need to complete 2 seasons of junior team tennis, 8 play days, and 2 team tournaments.

New 9 & 10 Year olds will play at the Orange level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and 2 seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to green ball.

New 11 & 12 year olds will play at the Green level and need to complete 2 play days, 6 tournaments, and two seasons of Junior Team Tennis, while finishing top 4 at the sectional championships or winning 2 tournaments to move to regular yellow balls.

Will the Pathway be enforced?
Yes the pathway will be enforced. Each player will have a box by their name on the USTA website stating what level they are eligible for.

What are the problems with the Pathway?
Personally, I don't love the colored balls, but I can live with it. The biggest thing I dislike about the pathway is the requirements. It takes all the power out of the player, parent, and coach to decide what is best for the individual. After all tennis is an individual sport.

What if your son or daughter is too strong for a level or starts at the perfect level but improves quickly with enthusiasm? It takes about 6-12 months to progress through all the requirements. It is demoralizing for students not to be rewarded for their hardwork.

What if my son or daughter is 8 years old and plays orange or green already? It doesn't matter as they system goes by age not level. They will start at the bottom of red.

Another problem with the pathway is that USTA doesn't have a system of tournaments and Junior Team Tennis in place. This is the pilot year, which means that we are all guinea pigs. Most of the events and systems in place are piece mailed together as they figure things out just like this requirement.
......................

Are you guys fine with this? Forcing your players play certain levels until they play a season of Junior Team Tennis at all three balls? Maybe having you kid still playing Green Dot at 12 years old? I'm freaking ****ed.

I know how frustrating this must be - have coached in 3 different countries with 3 different systems. All seem to be gravitating towards coloured balls.
1 advantage is that your kid playing with a Green Ball at 12 may mean they have better control.It depends on how the coaches use the balls & explain the use of them.

I have debated this point with national coaches in 2 different countries.
In 1 case we set up drills with 11 year olds using Green Balls & then Yellow.
There was no doubt in my mind that the Green Ball drill was carried out with more spin, control & feel than with the Yellow Ball.
Whether that makes them better players in the long run is yet to be tested:twisted:

Where it is also hard to justify is where you have a 9 or 10 year old who has already played 2 years with yellow ball & has great technique and is dominating his age-group.

Then being told to go back & play Green or Orange Ball??!

IN THIS CASE it would make little sense for him to even compete - I would train him another year or 2 until he is old enough for Yellow Ball Competition.

arche3 04-01-2013 08:54 AM

Can you just wait till kid is 13 and play regular ball regular court?

barringer97 04-01-2013 09:11 AM

She's 8 and we already play yellow ball.

We have to wait 5 years until she plays tournaments now?

TCF 04-01-2013 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by barringer97 (Post 7318733)
She's 8 and we already play yellow ball.

We have to wait 5 years until she plays tournaments now?

barringer, I can not even imagine your disappointment. Just went to a tournament over Easter weekend which had orange B10s and G10s, yellow B12s and G12s.

The orange ball kids were all obviously new to tennis and hitting the ball pretty well. But it seemed way more conducive to being a practice format and not part of the tournament. And all of those kids will be very ready for yellow balls soon enough.

The 12s had kids from ages 8-12 and the 8s were doing fine.

A mandate like the one you show is beyond comprehension. Red balls are just silly, orange are a nice but brief learning stage, green the last nice but brief learning stage before yellow. They should all be used as tools depending on the kid's improvement rate.

Imagining the 8-9s I saw this weekend forced to play orange is mind blowing. They would no doubt just quit tennis and go into another sport rather than have to drill for years and years before being allowed to play regular tournaments.

TCF 04-01-2013 10:07 AM

By the way barringer, you can enter her into any level 7 FL. G12s tournament as a USTA member. So if you guys take a trip sometime, she can play down here.

diamondie1 04-01-2013 02:34 PM

It's awful
 
:cry:I'm in the UK and we've had this awful system for a few years.
It pays no attention to a child who is big for their age (strong & tall) but is solely based on age. Occasionally in the UK, they let a "talented" child who they identified by various tests go up into the next age group, but is very subjective.
My daughter was given a passport at 7 years old to orange, great but was then stuck in orange for years. We quit the LTA system at 9, told them to keep their money & trained using green balls for a couple of months and then yellow. The only disadvantage is that there were no tournaments till 12 & under.
This has not proved to be a major disaster but she wasn't very match tough, but that is improving.
I think that the coloured balls are a great introduction to tennis but a rigidly enforced system is madness - I really feel for you.
Good luck with red ball tournaments - great pushing contests!
We found an academy which trained all kids with yellow balls & did their own internal tournaments which has worked for us.
The Spanish still use yellow balls - they seem to have ignored this worldwide madness.
So it's go to Spain or find/set up an academy using only yellow balls

And Barringer97
I too have a 7 year old too who's going to have to wait to play proper tournaments.
It stinks

barringer97 04-02-2013 07:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCF (Post 7318835)
By the way barringer, you can enter her into any level 7 FL. G12s tournament as a USTA member. So if you guys take a trip sometime, she can play down here.

Thanks TCF, I think that might be in the cards. Florida might be a stretch, but my parents live down in SoCal, so we will probably hit some of those tourneys, maybe a little Mo's, or, what I'm guessing will happen, local pro's will start putting on their own tourneys. I know a lot (about half) of our local pro's are really upset about this, but there are a good number of Pro's that are drinking the USTA Water on this and are totally on board.

This is going to go Nationwide, I'm 99% sure.

barringer97 04-02-2013 07:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diamondie1 (Post 7319383)
:cry:I'm in the UK and we've had this awful system for a few years.
It pays no attention to a child who is big for their age (strong & tall) but is solely based on age. Occasionally in the UK, they let a "talented" child who they identified by various tests go up into the next age group, but is very subjective.
My daughter was given a passport at 7 years old to orange, great but was then stuck in orange for years. We quit the LTA system at 9, told them to keep their money & trained using green balls for a couple of months and then yellow. The only disadvantage is that there were no tournaments till 12 & under.
This has not proved to be a major disaster but she wasn't very match tough, but that is improving.
I think that the coloured balls are a great introduction to tennis but a rigidly enforced system is madness - I really feel for you.
Good luck with red ball tournaments - great pushing contests!
We found an academy which trained all kids with yellow balls & did their own internal tournaments which has worked for us.
The Spanish still use yellow balls - they seem to have ignored this worldwide madness.
So it's go to Spain or find/set up an academy using only yellow balls

And Barringer97
I too have a 7 year old too who's going to have to wait to play proper tournaments.
It stinks

Sorry to hear this. This is exactly what I'm afraid of.

I'm going to do something very similar. We have a local academy that is using yellow and we will be with them until my daughter is able to play the 14's (first division of yellow ball).

eastbayliz 04-02-2013 11:26 PM

I am in NorCal. Just over the last week I have been pounding my head into a wall trying to understand the junior pathways flow chart. IMO this is really complicated! I am a coach (with a lower case c always!) and am trying to guide some of my talented 10 and under kids into tournaments. Like some other posters here I played as a junior starting in the ten and under division! From there I went far as a junior, my biggest accomplishment being qualifying for nationals in the 16 and under division. I ended burning out and quitting the game but that is an entirely long and complicated story. I appreciate the effort and commitment that NorCal is making. And since it is the system I want to learn how to navigate it. But honestly I feel that it really just is too darn complicated! My organization works with kids in the inner cities and just getting these amazing young people out on the courts is a big task. But for the kids that have the desire to go far I want to do everything in my power to help them achieve this. That being said I am in the process of writing the Jr Development coordinator in NorCal. One of my students is 7 and he is just amazing-i thought it would be an easy task to get him into some tourneys. but that is when I came in contact with the dreaded flowsheet! My students and their families don't have the means to jump through hoops to just be able to play a tourney. I like the 10 and under tennis stuff as far as it is a TEACHING TOOL. The orange and red balls ect etc and smaller courts are great for learning. But I am really concerned that this is simply an industry inside of another industry. I want to put the kids first. I appreciate this thread and am happy to see some thoughtful comments (not rants) on the tennis landscape for kids today.

TCF 04-03-2013 06:34 AM

eastbayliz, I think you nailed it. When the 'new' 10 and under stuff first came out there were advertisements from the major equipment manufacturers touting the program, using famous coaches like Macci and Nick B. in the ads. Of course neither of those guys actually use the program as anything but a brief teaching tool themselves.

This is being pushed by the equipment people no doubt, sell all sorts of racquet sizes and ball types.

TennisCoachIN 04-03-2013 10:19 AM

Does anyone know if mid west or other sections are going to follow lead of Norca, if so whenl? Just listened to a podcast discussing 10 and under tennis and some callers are beginning to hear these types of changes possibly coming. Which looking at Norcal pathway would make no sense IMO...

eastbayliz 04-03-2013 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TCF (Post 7322373)
eastbayliz, I think you nailed it. When the 'new' 10 and under stuff first came out there were advertisements from the major equipment manufacturers touting the program, using famous coaches like Macci and Nick B. in the ads. Of course neither of those guys actually use the program as anything but a brief teaching tool themselves.

This is being pushed by the equipment people no doubt, sell all sorts of racquet sizes and ball types.

This is what kills me-the USTA is not for profit organization. But the tennis industry is just that, a money making machine. Ten and Under Tennis and everything they do is an amazing learning tool. But I think it should be that-a tool, not a mandate. Seeing kids use the orange balls and be able to rally is great. That makes a real difference-being able to rally. One thing that is so frustrating is that it is the country / sportsclubs etc etc etc (folks with money) that have built the small courts (anyone seen the mini courts?) and have ALL of the gear. The colored balls alone are (I think) about three times as much as regular balls. My nonprofit organization has a good collection of colored balls at least. We only use them to rally as they are limited. I hate complaining but I think alot of the concerns I see in this thread are totally valid! I am open to changing my mind if so convinced. I am going to jump in the pool and get my hands dirty as I try to navigate the "jr pathway" to get a few of my students in tourneys...if only it were so simple. Sign up, pay, get the draw and play.

majac4122 04-04-2013 03:49 AM

My son is a 6 yo playing yellow and I can't imagine him going back down to red ball. He would annihilate those kids. It would be unfair to him and the other kid. This system sucks and I guess we will play him in non-usta tourneys until he can play yellow.

BMC9670 04-04-2013 06:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by majac4122 (Post 7324251)
My son is a 6 yo playing yellow and I can't imagine him going back down to red ball. He would annihilate those kids. It would be unfair to him and the other kid. This system sucks and I guess we will play him in non-usta tourneys until he can play yellow.

Yes, I know of a couple 6-8 year olds that are way past red and orange. Players/coaches/parents should have the CHOICE of tools for their kids' development, not an age-based mandate.

This whole change gained momentum when my son was 8/9 and he was caught in the middle. It made us sit out USTA tournaments until be was ready for 12U. Not what the USTA/manufacturers want to see, I'm sure, but the right thing for him.

SFrazeur 04-04-2013 09:34 AM

I have been teaching for about 12 years and I find the adaptation of Ten and Under Tennis and green ball for 12s to be fantastic!

Most people, kids and adults, who play tennis are not very good. Most will never go to college for Tennis or play futures. Average kids, "the rule," make up the populous of the sport. The system should be tailored to them while still allowing for the "exceptions" to move up with their winning records regardless of their age.

BMC9670 04-04-2013 12:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 7324772)
I have been teaching for about 12 years and I find the adaptation of Ten and Under Tennis and green ball for 12s to be fantastic!

Most people, kids and adults, who play tennis are not very good. Most will never go to college for Tennis or play futures. Average kids, "the rule," make up the populous of the sport. The system should be tailored to them while still allowing for the "exceptions" to move up with their winning records regardless of their age.

That's the problem - as the new rules are implemented, they seem to be very rigid in mandating by age, not ability. If I read the Norcal thread right. Many kids will have to start over and take 12 months to prove their ability and move up?!

SFrazeur 04-04-2013 08:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMC9670 (Post 7325114)
That's the problem - as the new rules are implemented, they seem to be very rigid in mandating by age, not ability. If I read the Norcal thread right. Many kids will have to start over and take 12 months to prove their ability and move up?!

I agree that NorCal's specific rules are far too age rigid. The child's age should be a starting point. However, if a child passes all benchmarks then they move up regardless of age. No system is going to make everyone happy. Especially when the system is being created/implemented by a committee.

eastbayliz 04-05-2013 11:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SFrazeur (Post 7325781)
I agree that NorCal's specific rules are far too age rigid. The child's age should be a starting point. However, if a child passes all benchmarks then they move up regardless of age. No system is going to make everyone happy. Especially when the system is being created/implemented by a committee.

More hoops to jump through equals more cost for families. Tournaments (even for Juniors) are expensive and time consuming. I see this as a real barrier. I advocate for the kids in the junior program I work for. How about the kids who don't have an advocate? I can't help but get a little cynical here about the "industry within an industry" that I see. But I don't want to miss the forest for a tree here. Tennis is a wonderful thing for kids however it turns out.


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