From Parenting Aces.
Notes from 2nd USTA Town Hall Listening Meeting Nov 24, 2012
Posted by parentingaces
The following information was emailed to me by Jason Lampione Ė tennis coach, mentor, and writer Ė who was in attendance at the Rocky Hill, CT, ďlisteningĒ meeting held by USTA.
These are simply Jasonís notes taken during the meeting Ė he will be compiling his own analysis of them over the next day or so which I will then post on ParentingAces for you to read.
This second meeting was led by incoming USTA President Dave Haggerty and USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman and was attended by 30-40 (exact number unknown) parents and coaches.
(Lisa Stone) - I have inserted my comments in italics at the end of certain bullet points below.
Tennis5 - red comments
USTA released a statement via email to some key people after the meeting Ė that statement is posted in its entirety on the ParentingAces Facebook page. Please read and share all of this information with other tennis parents and coaches so our voices will be heard. Thank you.
In two years, we would like to see the USTA go from an 800 pound gorilla to a more balanced 400 pounds. (D. Haggerty)
Sorry, but have to ask -
Are the kids the bloated weight that they are getting rid of?
Communication and structure are problematic within the USTA. (parent)
[I]This is an issue that Iíve been discussing with various USTA committee members and staff. They have to do a better job of communicating with the membership. USTA has a Facebook page, is on Twitter, and sends out regular emails Ė the tools are in place. There is no excuse for the lack of communication on these proposed changes and other relevant issues.
Weíre going to reduce the cost of travel within each section of the USTA.
How is USTA going to accomplish this feat? Theyíre proposing to CREATE REGIONS now, potentially increasing the cost of travelling to tournaments. Is USTA going to develop relationships with gasoline companies and airlines and hotel chains to give discounts to members? If so, Iím in full support!
Kids at every level have better competition through earned attainment. (K. Kamperman)
I agree with this statement as it applies WITHIN sections. However, we all realize that the strength between sections varies enormously, so if a player emerges as the best in a weak section then goes to a national event to compete against the best player in a strong section, Iím not sure how thatís better competition for the strong-section player.
If that was really so, then the USTA wouldn't need to hand out all these wild cards each year. Fact is some of the really good kids haven't lived in their section or state in years.....
Let me ask a different question, what about a junior from a weak section.
Their chance to improve is to play up.
Now if you can only get into the 12's off your sectional ranking, that ends playing up in the 14's for that year.
Our children are playing each other at least 5, 6 and even 7 times within the tournament format within our section. (parent)
Thatís why itís good to have the option to play OUTSIDE your section. Why would USTA want to limit or eliminate that option? I still donít understand the reasoning here.
The regional format is pretty good. (parent)
[I]I would question whether or not this parent has looked at the new region map and how much travel it could potentially involve.
Playing other regions gives better competition. (parent)
I agree. Kids love the chance to play against new opponents. Thatís why we need to increase the opportunities to play nationally and increase the draws at those national events.
Playing within only one region doesnít allow for proper player development. (parent)
I think it depends upon the region. But, generally speaking, yes, I would agree with this statement. Playing a wider variety of opponents gives a developing player the opportunity to learn how to deal with a variety of tactics, making him/her into a more complete player.
In the small sections, playing the same 5 kids over and over is the kiss of death for most juniors and will lead to boredom and yes, quitting.
The consensus is that variety is good! (K. Kamperman)
Yes, it is!
It is terrible that players cannot get on-court coaching. (parent)
Thatís an issue for another day.
I spend all this money, and our players have very limited options. (parent)
The pressure to perform and accumulate points in each round is incredible and very costly to us parents. (parent)
Pressure to perform is a big part of tennis, of any sport really. If that pressure is harming your child, then maybe itís time to find a different activity that is better-suited to the childís temperament. High-level competition is NOT for everybody!
You cannot limit a playerís potential just by their ranking or age. (parent)
Iím not exactly sure what this parent is saying. I think we all agree that the current PPR ranking system could use some work.
Distance and travel, financially, is troublesome for certain parents, especially outside our region! (parent)
In the Eastern section, I am being charged 25 dollars per each tournament main draw entry along with traveling expenses. This is becoming too much for me and my husband to handle, financially speaking! (parent)
I think we can all agree that tennis is an expensive sport, especially if youíre trying to develop a player to the top echelons. However, I must say Iím surprised by the $25 entry fee Ė we pay much higher fees ($45 and up) in our section, even at local tournaments.