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Old 05-20-2010, 06:05 PM   #16
HookEmJeff's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 401

Originally Posted by justinmadison View Post
I looked at several of the USTA sections to see what a #16 ranked player would be nationally.

SoCal 135
Intermountain 324
Missouri Valley 336
Pacific Northwest 526
Eastern 146
Florida 129

The range between sections does seem extreme. With that being said, I looked up the players on tennisrecruiting and players around #500 nationally were all 3 star seniors. My son is a 3 star 8th grader and he beats mostl of the 4.5 players in my district. He would not be a ringer on the 4.5 team, but he would definitely be in the top half of the group.

A 3 star senior is not a 4.5. Not even close. 5.5 is difficult to quantify. The range of talent in that group is large. You are either a 5.0 or 5.5, hard to tell.
I think this is something the USTA needs to look closely at, these 17 year old high school seniors playing USTA Adult League Tennis (and turning 18 in the calendar year).

I'm all for competition, and I like playing young kids. My only thing is are the Sections holding on and judging kids by those Elite Player Guidelines when it's obvious that those standards don't fit (based on those rankings above)? Some could be WAY better, others could be WAY worse.

Obviously, it's pretty different where that Top 20 Section kid falls in the ability levels locally...and national ability levels? But, what are the NTRP Elite Player Guidelines for then? A kid in So Cal at No. 18 may be a solid solid 5.5 A kid in Northern or Hawaii may be a 4.5? How do you determine? Should that type of subjectivity be left up in the air?

The other question that begs to be answered is the timing of a kid accepting a scholarship offer to say...a DI school. It's really an issue of semantics as to how a 17-year-old would answer his/her self-rate question of 'are you playing college tennis?

Here's the kid sitting in front of their computer:
"Well, technically, no, I'm not playing college tennis. I just signed a letter to play at (Insert DI School), but no I'm not currently playing." What do I do? I can tell you what that unscrupulous captain's going to tell that kid.

I think it's a real slippery slope with high schoolers playing adult leagues and I think abuses can run wild at the upper levels (4.5 and 5.0), especially given that college question.

I'm all for them finding their way into the leagues as they age up. Leagues definitely need some younger blood. I just worry that the abuses of captains who really could care a lick about a kid, but just want them on their team for singles players.

Another point to ponder is many of these kids' league situations are
1) Almost all are subject to dynamic DQ's all the way through the season since they are self-raters. That puts your team in a precarious position if they strike out.


2) Leaving for college in the summer, right around the time USTA Section Championship events are ramping up.

Your 17 or 18-year old helps you get to the District or Section championships, then off to school he/she goes to play college, leaving a team high and dry. And how could you blame him/her...he/she is now going on to to college tennis, where they play for more than just a cooler and a pen.

Mental game? That's for people without sick timing on their forehands.
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