Originally Posted by justinmadison
It makes no sense to argue the pros and cons of the changes without understand the truth about why they were made.
Take a step back and look at the bigger picture. When a company that is a monopoly makes changes the vast majority of its customers do not like and then explains why the changes are good in a way that the majority of participates believe do not make sense you have to question the companies true motivations. Usually, the people making the changes are the ones benefiting from them. Itís not rocket science.
Arguing with people who think it makes sense to take away opportunity because people cannot be trusted to make good decision is a waste of time.
In 2010 junior players did not care about the Player Development program. If you were a good player and had a private coach with a few friends to practice with you did not need them. You could work with your coach, practice with your team or at your club and play lots of tournaments with high quality competition. You did not need to travel very much to qualify for the top tournaments. There were many national tournaments all over the country and they were not difficult to enter. If you could do well in a couple of L3s you were in your L2, do well there and you are in the L1s. You did not need to play them all because there were many to choose from and there were bigger draws. If you wanted to play more tournaments, because you lived in SoCal or had the means, you would have continuous access to top quality competition to gage where you were at and improve through experience. You did not need wild cards when you aged up because the draws were large and you could play your way in.
The PD guys hated this. The best kids did not want to be in the PD program. It is difficult to justify the big budgets and highly paid executives when none of the players even care you exist.
How to fix this problem? How about cut the number of tournaments to the point where it is difficult to have access to great competition increasing the importance of a training center with many players. How about cut the draw sizes and increase the wildcards controlled by the PD guys giving them the power to get kids into the tournament draws and keep them in when the age up. Problem solved. Now Player Development is important and players want (need) to be in the program.
The problem was clear and they had the power to fix it. So they did. I bet the number of applicants to the HiPo program has skyrocketed. The activity level makes the coaches look great. I can just imagine the power points with graphs up and to the right on applications, players in the program and success rates. By the time anyone realizes junior tennis in the US is going down the tubes Patís bank account will be full and we can move on to the next guy who has an even better idea for his bank account, oh, thatís right, I meant for US junior tennis.
Changes have been made for a number of reasons. You are bringing up an interesting consequence and incentives of PD's motivations and results in part, however in Carson's Calif West Coast HPD the numbers been drastically reduced and the facility is out to bid for an outside (private) academy to take over a 12 and under training! West Coast PD Center changes every year
since its inception. It has had problems for the same reasons
the USTA in general has. It large with diversified needs. It is in a large area in SO CAL with difficult traffic and distances. More localized training elsewhere is more convenient for parents. Carson was working better and had more participants when players could come two or three times a week from say San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara two hours away. When they wanted fulltime home schooled, numbers dropped. The boys programs pretty much stopped years ago (although I heard they are working with a few boys again.)
Some of the goals such as not missing school, keep costs down, have come from surveys 4-6 years ago from 3 previous two year jr committee administrations, which turn 50% each term. Though Meeting 4 times a year
the Jr committee fails to have an adequate and neccesary vetting review process for the proposals before passage. While the 2014 changes had plenty of notice unlike the 2011 notice of 4 months for planning, the review,feedback, member input process was non existent. Very few of the people that passed the changes will even be on the committee in 2014 to evaluate. The Natl Jr Committee process needs to be reassessed and changed.
The increase in Wild Cards supports your
point and flies in the face of earned advancement.