Originally Posted by Mitch Bridge
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.
The problem with this is that high school is much too late to do this.
In the area I live in, junior tennis has greatly declined in the past couple of decades. Kids have been drawn away to more accessible sports. Tennis is not convenient while soccer, football and baseball are.
The only way to compete for many is to play USTA. It works for some but is expensive. The other issue is that the level of play is way too high for many novice players. They want to play in leagues or tournaments but it is USTA or nothing.
If you want to get people hooked on the sport, it needs to happen well before high school. You can play in a soccer or baseball league in most any town in the country during the summer or fall. This isn't the case for tennis.
Having tennis leagues in small towns with teams sponsored by the local hardware store is what would work. The tennis crazy parents are already involved and will do whatever it takes for junior to play. You have to attract the parents and kids that don't really care about tennis. It it's fun, many of these kids will get hooked and the sport will grow from there. Kids want to be part of a team. I know that USTA has junior team tennis. Again, this is not very convenient and is way more advanced than what many kids need.
I don't think that changing high school tennis to be less inclusive (varsity) is going to attract more to the sport.