Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by HIGH-TECH TENNIS, Jun 26, 2012.
Best suggestion I've heard here in a long time.
I have a 10 and 7 year old, both playing since the age of 5. Older one going to her first SuperNational next month. I am very much worked up over this issue.
Kids my age are most affected by these proposed changes, IMHO.
You missed calling him a racist (of course given your rant you would have spelled it 'racits!!1!'. Need to work on your vitriol to get it right. Always next time.
I'm down with the message...
...I'm not gonna argue with people about the changes, too much real work and tennis work to be done.
The 10 year old has two years to become the best and make the issue moot. Our children have plenty of time to totally take over the 12s, hard work and God Willing.
I wish I could take credit for it.
The sad part is that it was brought up and told it was a terrible idea. The USTA Junior Competition Committee said they wanted the National Championships to feel more like professional tournaments. Every professional tournament that I know of has a qualifier.
A qualifier would take another day or two to complete. That is more money to consider for lodging, food, and other considerations. At these levels, junior tennis for the 10-12 year old is not for the faint of heart.
Only 4 super nationals would be less days across a year. I'd only hold them for 14, 16, and 18.
I'm actually not opposed to a concept along these line. I suspect you are being sarcastic with the 512 draw size, but conceptually, fewer tournaments, but equally distributed throughout the year, with larger draws(not smaller) and two matches per day and two day qualifier. The qualifier only extends the tournament for those who have to play it. Schedule the final for Monday, only two kids have to change there flight plans.
I think the guy is an assclown also. Don't be naive though, he has reached a very wide audience with his commentary. You hate the guy yet feel compelled to repeatedly comment on the issue here.
He has people talking about the issue which was exactly his intent.
He should keep his day job.
You really think he's a racist? I've never gotten that impression from him.
I don't see why everyone looks to the USTA to "produce" the next American champion anyway, and I don't know why they think they can. They never have. Past great American champions have come from varying unique circumstances - not a "system". They may have entered an academy or been helped by the USTA, but not from scratch. Not even close.
Look around at the top players. Look at history. Tennis champions come from a spark, a talent, and an environment that encourages it from an early age, be it a private coach, a crazy tennis parent, or a pro-athlete uncle, etc, there is very little "system" to it.
Wow. You obviously have not read what he wrote or payed any attention to what numerous other people have written. You are way to busy dealing in stereo types of "insane tennis" parents and making wild suppositions about other people motives and intentions without any evidence.
let me spell it out : Hannity does not believe his children will be professional tennis players. He says this in plain English, you either choose not to read what he wrote or just assume everything he writes is a lie. Neither do I believe mine will be. Neither do most of the people who object to the schedule change. I don't believe my children tennis skills have anything to do with the USTA, for better or worse.
It's actually precisely because of this that we object to the change in the scheduleThe makers of the new schedule appear to believe that national competition is only appropriate for very, very top echelon of players who they feel have pro potential. Everyone else should just stay in there region and not bother the truly elite. The unneeded presence of the inferiors a these national events is costing the really good players too much time and too much money. We believe this attitude is wrong. Just as 99% of the kids who play in the little league world series will never play in MLB, we believe it is ok for kids who will never be pro's to participate in national competition. We believe regardless of the result, it is an experience for them worth having. Junior tennis is a childhood experience, it's not a minor league for the ATP.
It seems to me some of the proponents of the schedule change seem to be the one who will benefit from it. With kids already ranked in the top 10, they can still go to the national events anyhow, but now can pretty much stay in Florida or SoCal, do not have to travel to Arizona at Christmas to defend a ranking, and when they do travel it will be a couple days shorter becuase they don't have to deal with the riff-raff.
While it isn't popular here, I admire your perspective. And I think you are right, Hannity is completely consumed with junior tennis.
I love this quote from Hannity in that article.
"They also learn that sometimes life is not fair and there are those who do not "play by the rules." They are put in situations like being down 2-5, 15-40 in the 3rd set and then find out they can fight their way back. You can’t get that kind of education in a classroom. All of these are GREAT lessons for life. "
It's one of the great lessons people learn from sports. Tennis included.
So important for kids to experience that when growing up. Need more kids experiencing that on the tennis court. And tennis is one of the few sports that you can continue to be inspired by like that throughout life when you aren't a kid anymore. One of the few things we can all probably agree on.
I fully understand all this, and you stated the point well here. And I mostly agree.
And two years ago, the USTA was saying that 12's tournaments are not critical and the 10-12 group should not be focused on nationals, blah, blah, blah. Now it seems they're saying, or at least implying, that the kids need to to be top-ranked in 12's to even get the opportunity to play in Level 1 and Level 2 tournaments in the older age groups.
While I object to the USTA's heavy handedness and feel a lot of young kids will miss out on prime development opportunities by fewer high-level competition (especially in regions with deep talent pools), it is possible that there is a way to improve the system.
Some countries have A,B,& C groups within an age level at National tournaments. The A's are elite and so on. That way everyone who wants to can compete, earn some points, stimulate the economy, and most importantly, develop as tennis players.
Spot on that pushing the talent back down a level raises the competitive bar. What riddles me is... Why don't the majority of the tennis parents see it this way?
Because the qualifying spots from the sections are not fair. There are players that coulddo well at nationals that will not make those tournaments now because of the smaller draws. With the old system, players could hussle up L3 points to make up for the inequality of the sectional with national points tournaments. Now they are out of a way to balance the ranking system, which is completely off base. Socal's 100th ranked player is better than the 10th best player in 10 of the 17 USTA sections. This section should have 20% of the national spots in order to equalize the system. When you drop down to a 64 draw, the tournaments are still going to have weak players that make the field that 100s of other players could beat, thus making it an unfair system. Larger draws made up for this, and allowed all of the better players a fair chance to excel....if it is not broken don't fix it! The old system was an excellent system whereas birthdays didn't matter, and the inequity of the sections didn't really matter either. Now the sectional imbalance is the major issue. This system only works if you have 5 regions instead of the sections. Florida,Socal, west, central and east with equal qualifying spots.
Tenniseurope runs 322 individual junior tournaments across Europe each year. These do not include junior events sanctioned by individual countries. Compare this to the less than 20 national events sanctioned by the USTA. The access to high level competition in Europe for juniors is almost unlimited - 4-5 events per week to choose from. The same 200-300 kids in the US are going to be competing with each other over and over again as part of the limited national schedule. In my opinion it is hard to imagine a more short sighted approach to developing tennis in the US
More national tournaments so the elites like Hannity can fly their kids to tournaments every weekend is not the solution. We need more kids playing the game closer to home, not further away. We do need kids playing matches everyday and you don't need a tournament to do that. We need less blaming of the system and more parents taking direct responsibility.
I think you need to get over the fact that Sean Hannity wrote the letter. His views are representative of not all but a significant percentage of the junior tennis constituency. If you are going to restrict national playing opportunities to the extent the USTA has done with their new schedule you had better make sure you have a really accurate selection process. Random sectional quotas don't seem to be the way to go. What Europe is offering in terms of high level competitive opportunities for juniors is on a totally different scale with a completely different philosophy ie make high level competition as accessible as possible to as many players as you can. The results speak for themselves - Europe has 8 out of the worlds top 10 players and 75 of the top 100. For the US the numbers are 1 and 7.
My son played US national tournaments before we moved to Europe last summer. After moving to Europe I was absolutely amazed at the number and quality of national, European, and ITF tournaments available for him to play. After being exposed to both systems it quickly becomes apparent that access to more high level tennis and tournaments equals improved performance. Not that surprising.
I do not think there is a significant contingent of national players or parents in favor of the changes made by the USTA. It is remarkable to see how united parents and players are in opposition to the USTA’s plans.
I don’t know much about Sean’s politics but at least he is willing to say “My name is Sean Hannity I have kids who aspire to be national players and I believe these changes are bad because …” It is very rare to find anyone who will state “My name is … and I have kids who aspire to be national players and I believe these changes are good because …” Very rare.
If the system is to blame then blame the system. In a country of our size it is going to be logistically challenging therefore more expensive to compete. Flying to national events as often as possible is the solution. Playing the same 5 kids in your section over and over is not the solution.
Flying around the country just so you don't have to play the same 5 kids is not the answer. We need to grow the game locally. How can a family that earns $45,000 a year fly around the country? Ain't gonna happen.
I never understood parents and players obsession with national tournaments in the 12's, 14's, and 16's. When my players are 10-15 yrs old and they need some tougher matches against different players I play them up 1 or 2 age brackets in our section. Why travel across the country? Get them playing "adult" tennis as quickly as possible. 12 and 14 year old defensive tennis wins at those ages, but hinders long term development.
I don't care that it was Hannity that wrote the letter so there's nothing to get over. I'm a Hannity fan I just don't share the same opinion with him when it comes to tennis.
And we don't have the most accurate selection process now. Participation is often driven by the size of Mom or Dad's W-2. There are many top kids that don't travel to many of the national tournaments for this reason.
COACH!!!!! You and I agree on something - finally!
there are a lot of things a family earning $45,000 can't do. I don't think we should build our national tennis development strategy around costless access to the sport. Local competition and playing up is not the answer..
Nice roadmap... play up and maybe play a few local adult hacks and suddenly show up at Kalamazoo when they are 17 or 18 kicking butt?
Local competition and playing up was definitely the answer in my house. Making tennis more affordable is a continuous agenda item in growing our sport. If you think that should be ignored, then i guess we just disagree.
So do you want the guy take off the air? You do support "freedom of speech" dont you or are you one of those who only supports freedom of speech when you agree with whats being said?
not ignored , just not obsessed about..there are a lot of expenses associated with being a national standard tennis player - travel is just one of them...equipment, coaching, court time are all costly and families with resources will have an advantage. Shrinking the national schedule to 200-300 kids is going to exacerbate the problem in my opinion. The USTA should be sponsoring as many high level events regionally and nationally as there are players willing to play which judging by the alternate lists floating around there are.
I respectfully disagree and I don't see USTA adding 200-300 more national tournaments anytime soon. I don't subscribe to the "If you build more tournaments they will come" approach. We need to grow the base of players nationally first.
The adults top juniors should be hitting with are not local hacks. Like every area we have top college players home for the summer. Also, there are several former top colleges players in their 20's and 30's who are excellent. We are lucky in that we have a few players in their 50's who played on tour who still play at a high level in doubles. Many of these individuals are happy to play sets with a top junior and it does not cost.
I disagree with you about the quality of you region versus others. But under the old system, it didn't matter. If you didn't get the endorsement but worked hard and got the points, you made it anyhow. Now it does. It's all inside politics and who can negotiate the best quota for there region. Yeah, that's going to make American tennis better.
If somebody at Tenniseurope is smart they will see that the usta as handed them a great business opportunity. Nature abhors a vacuum.
But this is a red herring that's already been shot down several times. The regions as defined are too big and geogrphically diverse that the new system could increase the amount of travel/flying, unless of course you live in Florida.
Some people have more money than others and that will always be a factor. But no one is forcing anybody to anybody to go to these tournaments if they don't want to. In fact, decreasing the number of events increase the importance the ones that remain, and make it so the top players have to travel to these no matter where they are. Look, at the end of the day only the top six events count, so for families with top players but limited funds, more events, or at least the same as there is now, increase the probability of the events being closer.
I don't see it happening either but somehow this argument keeps gets twisted into people wanting to increase the number of national tournaments, when all we want is to not decrease them. And they are growing the sport, investing huge amounts in TAUT while simultaneously reducing the opportunities at the next level. It's nuts.
Same organization that got rid of the 12's for a bit........
It did not work out well for that group of juniors as the guinea pig group.
So, the USTA said oops with your kids of course......
And changed it back.
How can you have confidence in an organization that just makes heavy handed, radical decisions without consulting the actual people who make the system. And then after they mess up the whole tournament system ( boys 12, for example a few years ago), there is not even a logical explanation from them on why they took it away and why they reinstated it.
I have yet to meet one person, junior, parent or coach ( except Chalk flew up - whose opinion I do consider as he actually has a junior who plays )who thinks the new 2014 changes are a good thing.
The new 2014 system screws the kids who are from the cold weather, indoor bubble, Sept - May playing inside group.
And for the kids ( and there are many) who give up soccer, baseball, etc at age 13 to play tennis as a full time sport, well that transition is quite difficult now........ Nice way for the USTA to kiss off the kids who might be athletically talented, but got to the sport too late....
My kid is hurt by the bubble too, but in all fairness, we live in Florida so the opportunities to play are plentiful. One can definitely argue that my opinion is impacted by geography and I can't argue against that position. If we lived elsewhere, perhaps I'd think differently - dunno to be honest.
I have no kids who aspire to be national player, not in tennis anyway.
10 and under tennis is America's best shot at getting participation in tennis up in the juniors.
Don't forget Imus.
You must be the CEO of the USTA.
Actually, this isn't exactly true.
For instance, there are well over 25 million people in the US who play tennis (documented) compared to over 75 million people worldwide. That's 33% in case you never learned math. One would think the averages are on the side of the US to produce better results in the pro game, but as has been pointed out, can't because the USTA is garbage at running tennis, compared to much smaller tennis institutions worldwide.
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