Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by HIGH-TECH TENNIS, Aug 4, 2012.
So what happened today?
I'm affirming your interpretation of what Dallas said, but I do think he conveyed the tone that the changes would not drastically affect their ability to rank.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to multiple requests, we have recorded the Parents/Coaches Meeting w/ Patrick McEnroe & we will post it online ASAP at www.high-techtennis.com. FYI that meeting was over one hour & it was fairly contentious. BTW-several people have requested video content on DVD.
To those who criticize quote that we posted, we aren't the ones who said it. And to those who say they wouldn't permit us to videotape their meeting, we have no intention of discussing what we do, where, or how.
We are simply sharing information with tennis people who deserve access to same and it is a free country, after all. Spare us the snide remarks. HAVE A NICE DAY.
I see pm is making the rounds to a bunch of different age divisions. I also see hannity's kid is playing at one of these locations. Ahh to be a fly on the wall.....
PM will be in Little Rock B12s Tuesday from 4-5 PM.
Nice use of USTA Dollars flying last second into all the sites.
Hey gang -
I'll make a few comments...
(1) I think that the goals of the USTA are noble, but I think any organization that makes revolutionary changes risks unintended consequences. The USTA has made revolutionary changes to junior competition multiple times over the past 7 or 8 years. I think it is reasonable to say that some of these past changes are the root causes of the very problems that the USTA is now trying to address. I think it is also safe to assume that there will be more unintended consequences in the future.
(2) Without commenting on specific changes, I am comfortable stating categorically that taking a hatchet to intersectional play is extreme. It is always nice to travel on occasion and play people from other areas - if nothing else, then at least during holidays while on a family vacation or visiting relatives during the summer.
(3) At TRN, we are doing what we can to encourage more opportunities for intersectional play within the USTA framework. We are talking with tournament directors around the country about running "National Showcase" tournaments - open tournaments where the director encourages participation from players in neighboring areas. We will try to support these tournaments by publicizing them on our website and in our email newsletters - and also by guaranteeing that they will count towards TRN rankings. We just finished with our first "guinea pig" national showcase - the Georgia Junior Open. It was very successful, and the tournament director - Robert Sasseville - plans to run more such tournaments in the future. This existence proof is helping us in our conversations with other directors. Keep in mind that this is a slow process - these tournaments will roll out over the course of the next year.
(4) We continue to believe in our ranking system even in light of these changes, and we are hopeful that existing opportunities for intersectional play - including these National Showcase tournaments - will provide the basis for strong rankings at TRN. But as I mentioned before, time will tell.
I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the survey. And of course I'm going to throw it out there - it happened. I would even answer your version of the survey the same way.
Do you really consider Copper Bowl a key national tournament? What a complete waste of time and money.
Thanks for posting up, Dallas.
One question. You speak of "unintended consequences" twice. Can you tell us what these might be......maybe ranging on a scale from the death of US tennis, to fewer scholarships for US tennis players, to inconvenience for college tennis coaches, to...to whatever?
This is a sincere question, not a challenge. What are some of the possible unintended consequences you have referred to?
You tell me "don't throw this out there" yet you can voice your opinion about the survey.
I was not insulting the family just voicing my opinion about the tournament. If you're in the business of hosting a tournament, you have to be able to take the good with the bad. Copper Bowl was a national tournament that was on par with a Florida Super Series.
If you consider my comments an insult, then some of the anti-USTA change people should be... nevermind. Obviously two sets of rules in your world.
I really used to enjoy taking the players I coached to the gator bowl in ponte vedra.
Also remember all those top 5 players from powerhouse southern section states back then who never made it past college tennis. And didn't event play #1 on their division 1 college teams.
Yes, that was quite a howler. Amazing spin attempt. If the majority of parents answering these questions answered yes, why didn't they just eliminate national competition all together ??? They would travel less, spend less, have to play more tournaments closer to home and would miss less days of school.
I know your question was for Dallas, but real unintended consequences are, in the immortal words of Donal Rumsfeld, the result of unknown unknowns, more than the result of known unknowns you list above.
Flak jacket on.
The thing about Ph.D's and siblings of ex-top ranked tennis players is that to get to where they are they had to have to have a combination intelligence, but also Ego(hubris??) and persistence(obstinance??) that generally makes them think they can do no wrong - i.e, god complex; that they can devise complex systems and foresee and deal with all possible outcomes. Unfortunately, as many generals have learned the hard way, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. In reality, nobody knows what really going to happen when this plan goes into effect.
The new plan is just pure hubris. Nobody claims the current structure is perfect, but there is no reason incremental modifications could not have been made to meet everyone's needs.
Due to technical difficulties, computer went into sleep mode for 5 hrs during upload, PMAC Q&A video not yet available but will restart upload from Windward within hour & hope for better results...PLEASE STAY TUNED!!
Aloha-thanks for suppor. Wish we could "like" your comments because you come from good perspective
My comments were general, and I was commenting more on consequences of past decisions rather than the unintended consequences of these current ones.
I'll give one example...
The USTA used to employ a head-to-head system for rankings, and they switched to a points system in the first half of the last decade. There were many reasons for moving to a points system, and I do not necessarily disagree with many of those goals. However, point systems have the effect of assigning value to the tournament rather than the competitors: in a points system, beating the No. 1 player in a Level 4 tournament is not worth nearly as much as beating him/her in a Level 1, while in a head-to-head system those wins are worth the same (bonus points notwithstanding). Personally, I think the head-to-head system provides a better actual ranking, but some would disagree (and have disagreed with me - rather vehemently - on these boards).
Points systems can give rise to "point chasing" in situations where not everyone has access to the same tournaments - and point chasing is very unpopular with everyone, regardless of how widespread the problem actually is. Obviously, point chasing was not a goal when moving to a points system, but it was a clear consequence. In my opinion, some of the more recent changes that restrict intersectional play are there to address perceived problems of point chasing.
You asked what I thought the unintended consequences might be for the current proposals. Honestly, I am not sure. But I don't think the sky is falling.
I am not yet persuaded that modifications could have been made to meet everyone's needs. That seems like a pretty tall order.......with a side of hubris perhaps?
What are some of these modifications that could have met everyone's needs?
Thanks, Dallas. That is reassuring.............and it frames a perspective I will try to use when evaluating others' claims and statements on this subject.
From 2014 the USTA national rankings will become almost completely irrelevant. They will be no more accurate that they are today and at that point they will have no relevance in terms of what level of tournament you can access except the level 2's. I think this is going to have huge unintended consequence in the new system. Winning all your regional level 4 tournaments does nothing to help you get into the level 3's and winning all the regional level 3's does nothing to help you get into the level 1's etc. The risk is these regional events become largely irrelevant and the guts of the national system collapses. There is no competitive tennis structure in the world that i know of that disconnects its rankings from tournament selection. Imagine if the ATP announced that selections for the Grand Slams would be based on a national quote based on size and perceived strength of country... the guts of the ATP tour would collapse. Why would anyone play a 250 or 500 point event...I can't predict the future but these are the sort of consequences that have clearly not been considered..
Video Link To Pmac Q&a
BIG apologies for quality of audio...but here is the link:
this is not very helpful - can anyone summarize what happened at the meeting - was the opposition clear and vocal - was any impression made on Mcenroe?
I confess to not following the nuances of the junior changes and the arguments pro and con. I do understand that the USTA is trying to cut down travel expenses for parents and created a class of Level 3 national tournaments. My player, highly rated, signed up for the level 3 Sept 1 in our backyard. He did not "declare" that he would go to alternated sites. To my surprise he did not get in. Other local players, ranked the same or lower, also did not get in- but they declared for alternate sites. They got into them and will be flying to different parts of the country Sept 1. Can someone explain to me how this cuts down on parents travel expenses and opens things up for players to play local national tournaments. I cannot figure this out.
Under the proposed system you will not be able to travel to a level 3 outside of your region - there will be 4 events simulateously N/S/E and W and you will have to play in your designated region. Depending on his sectional ranking he may still not get in but you wont have the choice of travelling to another site with fewer applicants. The # 20 kid from So Cal wont be able to play even though he might be a much stronger player than the # 4 kid from the northern section who will get in.
I believe the proposed 2014 level 3 regional play change is actually will be a good change for the above reason. Juniors only will be playing in their newly created larger region without an option to choose farther away location.
For my player, we only flew to supernat. level 1 events. We always drove to nearby level 3 or even level 2 national open tourneys. We focus more on development and opportunities to play good players without much attention to national ranking points. National ranking is a by product.
Thank you for clearing that up and pardon my ignorance. In the "proposed " system how big is the draw for the regional level 3?If it remains at 32 I foresee the aforementioned #20 in So Cal not being able to get in. Additionally he/she will not have a spot in a Level 1 or 2.
Correct .The level 2 3 and 4 national tournaments will all be a 32 draw. Under the proposed quota system the #20 kid from So Cal will be able to play a level 4 national but not any of the others
Amen! You clearly get it Mom. Applause. Applause.
That's a fair shot, but I didn't say everyone would be happy. They wouldn't get what they want, but hey, they just might find, they get what they need...
Very good explanation. But, I would like to expand on it and point out for say Michigan, it is now lumped with Washington.
So, you now have to fly through 2 or 3 time zones, this is now more expensive and will drive parents crazy when they realize the "details" of this 2014 changes
Disclaimer - Not from Michigan, but here this week.
And many parents were talking about the new regions and how they were lumped together for 2014. So, this example is not what I read, but what is being discussed here.
And one more point to add - they cut back on the L2 and L3 tournaments in 2014.
Pmac @ 33:56 : "What you have to attempt to understand, which is not easy, at this point, which is that we, meaning the USTA, the board and etc and all the people involved in this decision, are attempting ot loook a the future of not,not who the top players are, we are not looking for who the top players are. We know who the top players are, we know who they are at 13, 14, we know who potentially could become professional, we already know that...."
wow, at least he gets points for honesty.....
But this isn't the case for anyone west of the Mississippi or north of the Ohio River. There will be L3s that these folks could drive to that are CLOSER to them but instead will be forced to FLY to L3s further away. (or they'll just blow the tournament off altogether).
My kid played 2 L1s, 2 L2s & 3 L3s last year (we live in the middle of the country) & we drove to each one of them. NO flights.
They were in SW section, Mo Valley section, Southern Section (twice) & the Texas section (3 times). These drivable tournaments (for me) are now located in 3 different regions (that the USTA created)
Just because the new system prevents Florida kids from traveling, doesn't make it any easier for kids who live in areas covering 2/3rds of our country (geographically). I like the fact that our region includes California (for competition & for pleasure), but the USTA shouldn't give me that BS that they're SAVING me money or travel. I'd have to travel much further & more expensively if i wanted my kid to play a similar schedule (which i won't).
Their track record would indicated they dont know who the players are that have that potential. How many times and how many ways do they need to be wrong before someone pulls the rug out from under these jokers and revamps the USTA PD. Narrow minded, falsely self-righteous and pretty disgusting.
Great thanks, aloha, for pinpointing the exact point where he made such a troubling comment. We heard he said it - and now we can pay special attention at specific point when he did. We haven't even had time to listen to it yet but many have.
He goes on to say, and this is paraphrased, I will transcribe if I get the time, that basically all these changes are not about the kids in the national tournament system, it about making tennis look more attractive relative to other sports when parents are making decisions about what sport they should choose for their 8 year old to specialize in. Having less need to travel a more competitive regional play will make tennis look better vis-a-vis baseball, volley ball etc, and parents of eight year olds will recognize this and choose tennis instead of baseball, etc. This will attract more "cream".
my comment : he seems really out of touch with the amount of traveling done by "select" baseball, soccer and volleyball squads, for instance. Volleyball and Soccer I think are great reference points, and he mentions them specifically, particularly on the girls side, since there is no significant professional market, and the most the kids dream of is a scholarship, there is no professional development trying to ruin the system by turning it into a minor league farm system, which is what I Pmac and crew are doing to junior tennis.
How is the bolded statement mathematically possible under the new system? Please explain.
Because L3 & L1 participants will be determined by sectional rankings (or endorsements) not National rankings (or points).
Unless the L4 or L3 is nearby, many will not bother to play them, especially in the huge geographic regions not in the Eastern time zone. The points have been neutered & they will be a "pathway" to nowhere. Cheaper & better to play up in your section.
But if you win all your regional L4 tournaments, how can others from your region have higher sectional rankings?
Daniel Coyle studied the development of world class athletes and musicians in the "Talent Code". One thing he found common to all sports is that the top coaches cannot tell even at age 15 which player will become world class or win the gold medal. In PMac's statement this week, he claimed the opposite. The USTA knows at ages 13 and 14 who can become a pro. That assumption colors every change and every decision USTA HP makes. If it is wrong, USTA HP is likely on the wrong path.
Totally agree with the following astute comment from aloha:
he seems really out of touch with the amount of traveling done by "select" baseball, soccer and volleyball squads, for instance. Volleyball and Soccer I think are great reference points, and he mentions them specifically, particularly on the girls side, since there is no significant professional market, and the most the kids dream of is a scholarship, there is no professional development trying to ruin the system by turning it into a minor league farm system, which is what I Pmac and crew are doing to junior tennis.
Because the region is a contrived collection of sections. There is no regional ranking (at least at this point). Just a "sectional" ranking & "national ranking".
"Sectional" rankings get you into the L3s & the L1s. (national rankings get you into the L2s & i suppose into the 4-5 "Draw of 16" L1 tea parties.)
I'm thinking the only tournaments where national points would be of interest (or a factor) for the 5 star & low level blue chip player would be the Doubles L1 & the year end Team event that's replacing the Winternat. (i think both will take 64 kids).
The sectional ranking will get you into the (only) 2 Supernats left in mid july & early Aug.
good info, coach.
half of the kids haven't hit puberty yet at age 13. Michael Jordan didn't make his HS team as a sophomore (lots of other stories of late bloomers in sport).
I've walked around both a 12s L1 & a 14s L1 in the past 8 months. For every high seed that impresses there are 3-4 non seeds (with more talent) that are eye poppingly good who might just need a little work.
Based on his words posted above....Pmac is a putz.
Your point is interesting because I have seen a lot of kids in that age range who look very talented and then we never really know how far they could go because in the end they don't have access to the best coaching and playing opportunities.
exactly - this is the point that is being missed - national rankings become irrelevant which makes the whole national schedule outside the super nats irrelevant - this is the big unintended consequence - there will be no national tennis!
Here's a transcription of this section :
PMac: What we are attempting to do is actually give parents that are coming up in this sport and in other sports maybe who are not as involved as we are look at tennis and say, and we are all well aware that tennis is expensive and that you have to travel there are certain sacrifices you have to make but at least open up the opportunities for more people to say I want to get into tennis i want my kid my kid plays baseball, volleyball and tennis right now they are eight years old let me look at how the system is set up as a parent where I live what the opportunities are ok they're opening up for baseball I dont think many kids playing baseball are traveling across, i don't think they are opening up by allowing more opportunities for playing in the world series, little league whoever was on those teams [????] more team locally to get to the world series. That’s what we are attempting to do. The jury is out on whether it’s going to work. We are here to tell you we're aware of that. ok, and we are going to do everything we can to try and make it work. We are actually trying to make it work so that more kids and families and parents say I want to play competitive tennis and it’s easier for me to get into competitive tennis. To get to the highest, highest level of competitive tennis which is where most of you are now we, we again, the cream is going to rise, we want more cream, we're trying to find more cream, so that they actually get better, they enjoy competition, if you don't enjoy competition and getting better you ain’t goona make it anyway.
I guess there are multiple ways to interpret this, but , he seems to be trying educate people to the fact that the primary purpose if the new structure, just like 10 and Under Tennis, is to entice more parents to get there kids into the system, widen the funnel, and secondarily, at best, about actually developing kids once they get in. I'll leave it at that.
But he definitely has his facts wrong about other sports. Baseball for example. First of all, MLB does not control 'Little League' the way USTA controls Junior Tennis. Little League is actually a brand, one organization among dozens. Cal Ripken, etc. Little League has great brand recognition and a great history and great contract with ESPN, but in our area they are actually the least competitive of the youth baseball leagues. Dozens of these leagues have regional and national competitions year round. Here some examples :
Heck, here's a database of tournaments : http://www.infosports.com/btourn.htm
The same situation exists for other sports like club volleyball and soccer.
They say the changes are to attract "the cream", the elite athletes that are currently choosing other sports, into tennis at that key decision age of 8. But if the parents of these 8 year old actually do sit down and analyze the system, would they choose the sport that says unless you are the very best of the best, you don't get to advance to regional or national play, and that a bunch of talent ID "experts" are going pick the winners and losers by the time they are 12 or 13 and they don't care about you after that unless you are a tea party kid. Or would you join one of the local soccer clubs that go to regional and soccer national soccer tournaments several times a year. It seems to me the very kids they want to attract into the sport are the ones that are going to be the most put off by this new system.
At the meeting, they had no answer for multiple of very good questions. For example, what happens to endorsements/rankings when player moves from one section to another. Also, what about all the first year players aging up.
Patrick final answer towards the end of the meeting was that if you dont like it, then go ahead and replace USTA staff, himself included.
Very disappointed in PM, to say the least.
Good luck with this Dallas. The USTA has had a monopoly on junior tennis for so long I don't think they can conceive of competition. But they are creating a great opportunity that for tennis entrepreneurs.
That is probably the most intelligent concept that he has brought up so far.
I guess if you or PM or Hannity use my picture in any shape or form,,,,,,,,,I need royalties
What the USTA is trying to do is get more kids playing tennis with their ten and under program and with the 2014 changes the kids that deserve to rise to the top will.
The old system where kids were dropping out of tennis because it was too difficult with regulation balls and serious competition at an early stage. And anyone with money is privy to national ranking. Notice the large noise at the bottom of the hmmmmm ............... experiment flask too much kids to find real talent.
People, please do not believe that all the four websites listed above are for competitive national baseball leagues. The poster definitely has his facts wrong about youth baseball.
Cal Ripken sponsors youth baseball nationally. There is a World Series in Aberdeen, MD with 10 US regional champs and, I think 8 foreign entries. To get to the World Series (national competition), a team needs to win state, then its region. In Cal Ripken (and Little League) it is a steep downward pointing funnel to get to their World Series (national competition)
Our team made it in 2009 (Cal Ripken).
The other three listed sites have nothing (or very little) to do with leagues. They are tournaments set up by entrepreneurs. Any team who wants to fork over the entry fee and pay for travel can sign up. No ranking or W-L record requirement. The only hint of a league is ECTB, which has some age group leagues with teams from Virginia. This is not "regional and national competition year round". These are showcases.
In youth baseball there are lots of discussions about a variety of issues. But despite the fact that only an infinitesimally small fraction of young baseball players get to experience national competition based on ability and merit, you don't hear complaints about "opportunities being denied" or "we used to enjoy going to Williamsport or Aberdeen so much" that you hear about on this board in the context of tennis
Separate names with a comma.