What could the USTA do to increase participation...

MaxTennis

Professional
A lot of my buddies that grew up playing juniors prefer tournaments over leagues because that's the format we were used to seeing in the juniors.

Once you have kids though, I can see how that becomes a different story.
 

Doan

Rookie
Your last sentence is precisely why league tennis is a bore. I actually enjoy hanging out and talking to different people before a match. I'm cool with the times. You don't tell someone that i need you finish your match in 10 minutes. That is the beauty of a tournament. I have a group of eight men that we doubles with every week. We used that to get ready for a tournament. Nobody wants to be on the clock for everything.
Sure if you have time to burn. Most of the people I talk to at Tournaments I know from league. There's a lot of dead time waiting around so it forces you to talk to people. Unless they're a bore - and then you have your phone :)

What draw are you playing in the MD tournament this weekend ?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I enjoy both tournaments and league. But there are so few opportunities for tournaments here. Not a single UTR tournament has ever been open to adults ... trust me, I have tried.
The USTA tournaments ... We have about 4 total tournaments here for adults annually. one in the spring two in the summer and one in the fall. They can have barely sustainable draws for women ... most I have ever seen is an 8 person draw in any women's division. Men you can see 16 but have yet to see 32. Have had

If what you want are regular competitive matches then league is where to find them.

If all you want are tournaments .... well if you live here, you will be traveling to find them, or, just not playing very much at all.
 

silentkman

Professional
Sure if you have time to burn. Most of the people I talk to at Tournaments I know from league. There's a lot of dead time waiting around so it forces you to talk to people. Unless they're a bore - and then you have your phone :)

What draw are you playing in the MD tournament this weekend ?
mixed 4.0
 

silentkman

Professional
I enjoy both tournaments and league. But there are so few opportunities for tournaments here. Not a single UTR tournament has ever been open to adults ... trust me, I have tried.
The USTA tournaments ... We have about 4 total tournaments here for adults annually. one in the spring two in the summer and one in the fall. They can have barely sustainable draws for women ... most I have ever seen is an 8 person draw in any women's division. Men you can see 16 but have yet to see 32. Have had

If what you want are regular competitive matches then league is where to find them.

If all you want are tournaments .... well if you live here, you will be traveling to find them, or, just not playing very much at all.
What part of the country do you live? honestly in the Mid Atlantic region, you have a fair number of take the money and run tournament directors. I have found the better tournaments were in the South.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
What part of the country do you live? honestly in the Mid Atlantic region, you have a fair number of take the money and run tournament directors. I have found the better tournaments were in the South.
Vegas. So no weather problems ever ... but league is very robust here and we are not a big metro area.

It is no fun to enter a tournament and be one of only 3 in your draw. You do get 3 matches as it goes RR but ... yuck. And there is NEVER a t-shirt ... what is up with that?
 

hoot56

New User
I agree with silentkman. paying for membership and each league to play in is bad. and when your league play is 3 to 4 matches splitting time with other players, and paying for the court time, it isn't worth the cost. And where is my membership fee and league fee going anyway? Is it really helping some less fortunate child learn tennis?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
I agree with silentkman. paying for membership and each league to play in is bad. and when your league play is 3 to 4 matches splitting time with other players, and paying for the court time, it isn't worth the cost. And where is my membership fee and league fee going anyway? Is it really helping some less fortunate child learn tennis?
3-4 matches?

League is dirt cheap. Pay annual membership which you need for tournaments as well

Each league has 8-14 matches in a season (not including post season play) ... I typically play 75% or more of a season's matches as we don't carry monster rosters

Pay my public no-membership club $125 per season that covers all the courts, the USTA league fee, the balls and 2 hours of practice court time a week
So for $125 I play 6-12 matches per season ... comes to $10 - $20 per match .... if you decide that practice court time has no value and the balls have no value.

Your league fee ... the huge what $40 per season? Pays for local admin staff to create the schedules, run the district post season championship, handle fixing the mistakes in tennislink when idiot captain inputs the scores wrong and pays for the post season party for all league players.
At least that is what it pays for here ....
 

silentkman

Professional
Vegas. So no weather problems ever ... but league is very robust here and we are not a big metro area.

It is no fun to enter a tournament and be one of only 3 in your draw. You do get 3 matches as it goes RR but ... yuck. And there is NEVER a t-shirt ... what is up with that?
I've played in tournaments without bathrooms and bananas and no officials. The is one guy that charges $60 to play outside in November. Unfortunately the good and bad TD's are about 50/50.
 

silentkman

Professional
3-4 matches?

League is dirt cheap. Pay annual membership which you need for tournaments as well

Each league has 8-14 matches in a season (not including post season play) ... I typically play 75% or more of a season's matches as we don't carry monster rosters

Pay my public no-membership club $125 per season that covers all the courts, the USTA league fee, the balls and 2 hours of practice court time a week
So for $125 I play 6-12 matches per season ... comes to $10 - $20 per match .... if you decide that practice court time has no value and the balls have no value.

Your league fee ... the huge what $40 per season? Pays for local admin staff to create the schedules, run the district post season championship, handle fixing the mistakes in tennislink when idiot captain inputs the scores wrong and pays for the post season party for all league players.
At least that is what it pays for here ....
My point is a flat fee for the year instead of paying for each league. I'm assuming that league people play in at least 4 leagues in year. In our area, people play in Virginia, The District and Maryland and could play on multiple teams in that jurisdiction. Remember, you are always playing outdoors. The indoor costs will be higher.
 

kevrol

Hall of Fame
Cheapest tournaments around here are $35-40. For that you get First Match Loser Consolation so you'll get at least 2 matches, rarely more that 4. League is $27 fee and then $5 court fee each time you play. Like OTL I probably play 60-75% of my teams matches. The per match value for league for me is much better than tournament for me. It's jjust a lot easier to play league as it's on a set night of the week. For a tournament I've gotta take time off of work Friday to play first match, then block out all day Saturday and Sunday. It just doesn't work for my situation, for the most part though I understand the appeal. Understand league isn't for you @silentkman but why the need to denigrate those that enjoy their league experience?
 

silentkman

Professional
Cheapest tournaments around here are $35-40. For that you get First Match Loser Consolation so you'll get at least 2 matches, rarely more that 4. League is $27 fee and then $5 court fee each time you play. Like OTL I probably play 60-75% of my teams matches. The per match value for league for me is much better than tournament for me. It's jjust a lot easier to play league as it's on a set night of the week. For a tournament I've gotta take time off of work Friday to play first match, then block out all day Saturday and Sunday. It just doesn't work for my situation, for the most part though I understand the appeal. Understand league isn't for you @silentkman but why the need to denigrate those that enjoy their league experience?

My apologies, not my intent denigrate the experience. To be fair, a fair number of people denigrate the tournament experience as well. I'm pointing out the differences. In our area $15-20 is the norm for a match.
 

silentkman

Professional
Good luck. There's one or two other TTW members playing that Mixed 4.0 draw so someone here might have bragging rights by Sunday.
Thanks, I have a long drive to College Park. it should be fun. I have not played indoors at College park.
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
My point is a flat fee for the year instead of paying for each league. I'm assuming that league people play in at least 4 leagues in year. In our area, people play in Virginia, The District and Maryland and could play on multiple teams in that jurisdiction. Remember, you are always playing outdoors. The indoor costs will be higher.
I would make out well with a flat rate for all leagues annually ... last year played on 8 teams ... others it would not work out well as they play on 1 maybe 2 .... we do not have the option of playing in multiple district/regions ... outside of Vegas there is nothing but desert/mountains for 100+ miles pretty much any direction.

And yes, our costs are much more manageable being able to play solely outdoors. Uncomfortable for a few months in the summer and 1 month in the winter.
 

silentkman

Professional
I would make out well with a flat rate for all leagues annually ... last year played on 8 teams ... others it would not work out well as they play on 1 maybe 2 .... we do not have the option of playing in multiple district/regions ... outside of Vegas there is nothing but desert/mountains for 100+ miles pretty much any direction.

And yes, our costs are much more manageable being able to play solely outdoors. Uncomfortable for a few months in the summer and 1 month in the winter.
You can have the option of a flat rate or paying per league for the people who don't play a lot. How can it get uncomfortable during the Winter in Vegas?
 

silentkman

Professional
Cheapest tournaments around here are $35-40. For that you get First Match Loser Consolation so you'll get at least 2 matches, rarely more that 4. League is $27 fee and then $5 court fee each time you play. Like OTL I probably play 60-75% of my teams matches. The per match value for league for me is much better than tournament for me. It's jjust a lot easier to play league as it's on a set night of the week. For a tournament I've gotta take time off of work Friday to play first match, then block out all day Saturday and Sunday. It just doesn't work for my situation, for the most part though I understand the appeal. Understand league isn't for you @silentkman but why the need to denigrate those that enjoy their league experience?
One more thing, somebody said that Tournament tennis is dead. I've never said that League tennis is dead.
 

tomato123

Professional
How about...

-Make usta membership and basic league participation free for everyone of all levels. Many highly successful games, both physical and electronic thrive off a foundation of a large “free to play” player base.

-Have “paid” leagues with perks and benefits which most enthusiasts would probably pay for anyway.

-If that model doesn’t provide enough revenue, assume there is a large enough user base from free memberships to sell data to interested corporations (not saying it’s right, but it’s not like it doesn’t happen everywhere else in this day and age) *yikes*
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
A lot of my buddies that grew up playing juniors prefer tournaments over leagues because that's the format we were used to seeing in the juniors.

Once you have kids though, I can see how that becomes a different story.
Tournaments are for the real deal ballers. League is for guys that want to hang out and drink beers after

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
One thing Pickleball does real well is have regular meet ups. USTA should do that. People don’t always want to do a tournament or a league. But they like to play in a more relaxed setting. It would take a little effort by the USTA to assign a coordinator. You can have scheduled matches on one night or just show up on another night. They had something like that in Knoxville TN. It was done by the city not USTA, but it generated a lot of enthusiasm and got people involved. League play and Tournaments are fine but not if people are being turned off by it. You pay the USTA dues and get a magazine what else do you get? Besides people get what they need online. The magazine is pretty useless.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
One more thing, somebody said that Tournament tennis is dead. I've never said that League tennis is dead.
I'm the one who said tournaments are dead. I didn't mean to be disrespectful; I meant to speak some truth.

Maybe tournaments are OK if you can play open, like you're 5.0 and there are no real league options for you.

But people vote with their feet, right? Around here, there are not many tournaments, and they have small draws.

Face it: league is winning against tournaments around here, and it's a blow-out.

In my district in suburban MD, there were 779 players in the adult 18+ league in spring 2019. That doesn't count mixed, or ladies day, or the singles league, or 55+, or 65+, or the combo league.

In one tournament I could conceivably play (the Bruce Francis Memorial, over Labor Day weekend), there were 154 players across all events. Had I entered the ladies 3.5 doubles, there would have been four other teams competing for the title, and the cost would be $31 each for myself and my partner to play on outdoor public courts. Compare this to $20 per league match, which is played indoors (usually air conditioned).

If you work five days during the week, the idea of being on call to play when the tournament director decides you should play at this kind of cost is not appealing. It's just way easier to get a few of your buddies, get a free or low-cost court, and play tennis for a couple of hours.

Cindy -- holder of one tournament title, in 2.5 ladies singles :-D
 
I think USTA does a terrible job of growing league tennis. We've all been playing so long I think many of us don't fully appreciate the challenge of starting off in tennis.

I mean, I don't play soccer. Imagine the difficulties I would encounter if I up and decided I wanted to learn soccer and join a competitive team. I wouldn't know where to start. And even if I found someone to teach me the basics, how could I ever get an established team to take me on?

Well, with tennis, we are expecting people to join an expensive club for a sport they may not like. Even if they know how to play, we give them no help whatsoever in finding a team or understanding the process.

USTA should have ambassadors who frequent parks and hand out information. There should be a league liaison who holds the hands of new captains (or even captains 2.5 level teams with any players willing to give it a go). How to join a team shouldn't be a secret.

I do wonder at times if tennis will survive.
You are SO RIGHT.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

silentkman

Professional
I'm the one who said tournaments are dead. I didn't mean to be disrespectful; I meant to speak some truth.

Maybe tournaments are OK if you can play open, like you're 5.0 and there are no real league options for you.

But people vote with their feet, right? Around here, there are not many tournaments, and they have small draws.

Face it: league is winning against tournaments around here, and it's a blow-out.

In my district in suburban MD, there were 779 players in the adult 18+ league in spring 2019. That doesn't count mixed, or ladies day, or the singles league, or 55+, or 65+, or the combo league.

In one tournament I could conceivably play (the Bruce Francis Memorial, over Labor Day weekend), there were 154 players across all events. Had I entered the ladies 3.5 doubles, there would have been four other teams competing for the title, and the cost would be $31 each for myself and my partner to play on outdoor public courts. Compare this to $20 per league match, which is played indoors (usually air conditioned).

If you work five days during the week, the idea of being on call to play when the tournament director decides you should play at this kind of cost is not appealing. It's just way easier to get a few of your buddies, get a free or low-cost court, and play tennis for a couple of hours.

Cindy -- holder of one tournament title, in 2.5 ladies singles :-D
I've stated my opinions on League tennis already. I was speaking truth as well. I've done all of the league stuff and obviously its not for everyone. Yes, I work five days a week and still enjoy tournaments. it would be interesting to have a survey on league tennis and see if they actually enjoy it or do it because its the only option.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I've stated my opinions on League tennis already. I was speaking truth as well. I've done all of the league stuff and obviously its not for everyone. Yes, I work five days a week and still enjoy tournaments. it would be interesting to have a survey on league tennis and see if they actually enjoy it or do it because its the only option.
I agree that a survey on that would be very interesting. Heck, we could do that here!

Let's assume for our survey that tournament play was as readily as available as league. So there would be tournaments every weekend appropriate for my 3.5 level. Let's also assume that indoor league play comes at a fixed price (here, $20) plus registration fee, whereas outdoor tournament is higher (say, $30), and you might get to play several matches or you might be bounced in the first round in an hour. Who would opt for league, and who would opt for tournament?

The increased availability for tournaments would be very attractive, assuming the draws were big enough. I could decide to play week-to-week, which would be nice.

But I would still opt for league. Some of my teammates are ladies I have known for a decade or more; on the rare occasions I have played tournaments I have not come away knowing anyone I didn't already know. The tennis is an important reason I play tennis, but I also play to see old friends and make new ones.

That said, there is no reason tennis has to be one-size-fits-all. You like tournaments; I like league; it's all good.
 

silentkman

Professional
I agree that a survey on that would be very interesting. Heck, we could do that here!

Let's assume for our survey that tournament play was as readily as available as league. So there would be tournaments every weekend appropriate for my 3.5 level. Let's also assume that indoor league play comes at a fixed price (here, $20) plus registration fee, whereas outdoor tournament is higher (say, $30), and you might get to play several matches or you might be bounced in the first round in an hour. Who would opt for league, and who would opt for tournament?

The increased availability for tournaments would be very attractive, assuming the draws were big enough. I could decide to play week-to-week, which would be nice.

But I would still opt for league. Some of my teammates are ladies I have known for a decade or more; on the rare occasions I have played tournaments I have not come away knowing anyone I didn't already know. The tennis is an important reason I play tennis, but I also play to see old friends and make new ones.

That said, there is no reason tennis has to be one-size-fits-all. You like tournaments; I like league; it's all good.
Your parameters are incorrect. Seriously, nobody wants to play in a tournament every week. That's illogical. My goal would to play in one a month. More realistically one every two months. In NOVA as i indicated before its almost speed tennis with 90 minutes to play a match. Honestly $20 is way overpriced for 90 minutes of doubles. My former regular Saturday group at Four seasons was cheaper and it was prime time. I don't feel rushed when I play a tournament. During the non tournament time, I have a set scheduled where I play hopefully 2-3 times a week. during that time I work on game to prepare for next good tournament. As I have indicated before, I have traveled to the South and the tournaments are much better than the ones in the Mid Atlantic Region. There are fair number of people that do both.

just for clarification, I was a captain for a number years as well. Don't get me started on that experience. I've made life long friends at tournaments. tournament tennis can be good if you find the right one. Yes, it is all good.
 

sovertennis

Professional
Recently, the USTA rep for our area came to the club where I play and told the director that the club has TOO MANY teams (far more are women's teams) and it makes scheduling matches very difficult. When I first moved to this area, and was coaching at the club, I was astonished by the number of league matches played throughout the mornings and early afternoon, filling all the clay (8) and most of the hard (9) courts at the club. These were almost entirely women's team matches, mostly 55+ but some 40+ as well (I also found it surprising the number of 30-40 years old women who could seemingly play tennis for most of every day). Of course there are weekend league teams as well. My point here is that USTA participation is not lagging among the 40+ demographic, and esp not among the 55+ (as an aside, almost every player I coach is 50+). As other posters have mentioned, there does not seem to be many 25-35 yr olds playing league tennis. I would agree that it's largely because of barrier to entry--money, team politics/cliquishness, time.

The solution that our director of tennis suggested was that non-members (of the club; currently two non-members are allowed per team if they pay a $10 daily usage fee)
no longer be allowed to join a club USTA team. This will not have much of an effect on the women's teams but it will on the men's because the higher level (4.0 and 4.5) teams have trouble filling their rosters. It will probably doom our 55+ 4.5 team, which went to the state matches last year and will likely not be able to fill a roster for the spring league.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I also found it surprising the number of 30-40 years old women who could seemingly play tennis for most of every day).
Honestly, if they are attractive and know what they are doing, they have married high achieving high earning men so they do not have to work. They drop the kids off at school by 7:00am then hit then tennis club until school is out. In my neck of the woods, this is called “winning the game of life”.

As for your comments on tennis participation, this is totally true. There is no shortage of rec tennis players over age 40 (or even maybe 30). There are many reasons for this, but mainly it’s that life for kids in their 20s these days does not include joining a tennis club. Even for those who grew up playing and still love the game, it’s just not their scene. Then, when they get older and build up some savings, have a higher income, kids are not newborns, and there is no one around to tell them how uncool tennis is, they join a club, get bit by the tennis bug, and they are back in it. Golf clubs work the same way, BTW.
 
Very difficult to believe this post. I have not seen any pickle ball at all, anywhere. The only place I’ve heard of it is on this website.
I don't know where you are and either you're trolling or playing in Mongolia. I believe it and I've seen it too, in the desert at Morningside and Mission Hills to name just two and I'm sure it's spreading like the plague is in LA homeless encampments. Also seen a new PB only complex at Laguna Woods, and most of the tennis complexes in NorCal.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
I don't know where you are and either you're trolling or playing in Mongolia. I believe it and I've seen it too, in the desert at Morningside and Mission Hills to name just two and I'm sure it's spreading like the plague is in LA homeless encampments. Also seen a new PB only complex at Laguna Woods, and most of the tennis complexes in NorCal.
Is it a California thing? A west coast thing?
 

AlexSV

Semi-Pro
I'm the one who said tournaments are dead. I didn't mean to be disrespectful; I meant to speak some truth.

Maybe tournaments are OK if you can play open, like you're 5.0 and there are no real league options for you.

But people vote with their feet, right? Around here, there are not many tournaments, and they have small draws.

Face it: league is winning against tournaments around here, and it's a blow-out.

In my district in suburban MD, there were 779 players in the adult 18+ league in spring 2019. That doesn't count mixed, or ladies day, or the singles league, or 55+, or 65+, or the combo league.

In one tournament I could conceivably play (the Bruce Francis Memorial, over Labor Day weekend), there were 154 players across all events. Had I entered the ladies 3.5 doubles, there would have been four other teams competing for the title, and the cost would be $31 each for myself and my partner to play on outdoor public courts. Compare this to $20 per league match, which is played indoors (usually air conditioned).

If you work five days during the week, the idea of being on call to play when the tournament director decides you should play at this kind of cost is not appealing. It's just way easier to get a few of your buddies, get a free or low-cost court, and play tennis for a couple of hours.

Cindy -- holder of one tournament title, in 2.5 ladies singles :-D
The last few tournaments in my area had low turnouts for the ladies sections. There were less than ten players across 3.0 to 4.0. They seem to have fun since they meet a couple new people but it doesn't seem to have a tournament feel. They really need to figure out how to attract more 30. to 4.0 players.

On the flip side, the ladies open has a huge turnout since juniors and college players show up.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Also why do the damn pickle people even needs multiple rackets and a bag and towels and water? Or any gear at all. I can probably play pickle ball in 100 degree heat with a hat and sunscreen and not drink water for an hour. You literally just stay in one place.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 
Also why do the damn pickle people even needs multiple rackets and a bag and towels and water? Or any gear at all. I can probably play pickle ball in 100 degree heat with a hat and sunscreen and not drink water for an hour. You literally just stay in one place.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
From what I've casually observed the majority of PB players are senior ladies and a few men at about the ratio of in a yoga class. I'm all for folks getting out and exercising and socializing--there are many other paddle sports that have THEIR OWN dedicated courts, such as paddle-ball. If tennis is losing their courts to PB and mini-soccer tennis has only itself to blame--possession is 9/10ths of the law--whatever that means.

USTA is not doing anything to protect the turf of its membership--USTA reps should be at Rec Dept. meetings, marshalling their troops with name tags and protest signs, protesting this real estate grab. I don't blame PB players for recreating on abandoned tennis courts--they are amiable and gentle enough people and have invited me to play--maybe someday, but I have too much invested in my tennis game to bail at this point.
 
The decline of tennis' popularity and the explosion of pickleball is likely a natural cultural shift. As the baby-boomers retire and look for a leisure time activity they are trending to PB. It's the current exercise fad that is attracting the crowds--driving by the PB meet-up on the way to and from the tennis courts it looks like one big party--PB is the new : racketball, step aerobics, yoga, pilates, etc. Tennis is DIFFICULT! After years of paper pushing in a chair, or driving from client to client, weekend warriors aren't going to be inclined to take up the difficult and highly cliquish sport of tennis, where if you're not on a team you don't have anyone to play with.

In the tennis boom of the 70's courts were crowded, there was some semblance of supervision to prevent your racket hanging on the fence from being stolen while you were waiting your turn on the bench. Now courts are going begging after the league matchs end. Players today hook-up by texting for playdates--no ones hanging out looking for a game on the bench or being asked to fill in when someone no-shows or sprains an ankle--they just go to their phones and call the next player down their list of eligibles. Court supervisors, match-makers, starters are too costly for club owners to keep on the payroll to "control the big egos of the members"--therefore, the inmates are running the asylum--thankfully they are caged in.

During the tennis boom of the 70's, you could wander down to the local courts that were crowded, wait your turn on the bench and mix it up with the rest of the local weekend warriors. The tournament players hung to themselves normally not wanting to mix with the masses of hackers and foot faulters (and probably rightfully so). After fifty years of paper-pushing and couch potatoing, PB is the right sport for this time--one doesn't have to move much beyond their arthritic limitations to get some exercise, socialize and have a good time. It's a cultural thing--tennis is too tough and too cliquish to take up in the new millennium of smart rackets and autonimus cars.
 
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denoted

Semi-Pro
@tennis tom You should publish a collection of essays called Tennis in My Time. I can see the melancholy cultural pessimism that one associates with George Kennan or perhaps Spengler appealing to a general-interest audience. Don't be afraid to express some political opinions here and there.
 
@tennis tom You should publish a collection of essays called Tennis in My Time. I can see the melancholy cultural pessimism that one associates with George Kennan or perhaps Spengler appealing to a general-interest audience. Don't be afraid to express some political opinions here and there.
Thanks! I'll google Kennan & Spengler. All great empires go through this phase--success has it's own set of problems. I try not to express any opinions here that may be perceived as political--it's the surest way of getting a thread erased in the name of historic revisionism, wasting a lot of keystrokes--sureshi is proud of his pull to get views he doesn't agree with thrown on the bonfires of the internet.
 
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HunterST

Hall of Fame
In leagues and tournaments?

J
I feel like they need to make tournaments easier to find and more well publicized. I've talked to A LOT of people who say they want to play tournaments but don't know how to find them. We need to get to a point where, if you type "tennis tournaments' into google, it takes you right to a link for all the local USTA tournaments.
 

JLyon

Hall of Fame
USTA needs to remove roadblocks. They are making it more expensive, with their sanctioning fees, then per player fees, its a wonder tournament fees are not even higher.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
The decline of tennis' popularity and the explosion of pickleball is likely a natural cultural shift. As the baby-boomers retire and look for a leisure time activity they are trending to PB. It's the current exercise fad that is attracting the crowds--driving by the PB meet-up on the way to and from the tennis courts it looks like one big party--PB is the new : racketball, step aerobics, yoga, pilates, etc. Tennis is DIFFICULT! After years of paper pushing in a chair, or driving from client to client, weekend warriors aren't going to be inclined to take up the difficult and highly cliquish sport of tennis, where if you're not on a team you don't have anyone to play with.

In the tennis boom of the 70's courts were crowded, there was some semblance of supervision to prevent your racket hanging on the fence from being stolen while you were waiting your turn on the bench. Now courts are going begging after the league matchs end. Players today hook-up by texting for playdates--no ones hanging out looking for a game on the bench or being asked to fill in when someone no-shows or sprains an ankle--they just go to their phones and call the next player down their list of eligibles. Court supervisors, match-makers, starters are too costly for club owners to keep on the payroll to "control the big egos of the members"--therefore, the inmates are running the asylum--thankfully they are caged in.

During the tennis boom of the 70's, you could wander down to the local courts that were crowded, wait your turn on the bench and mix it up with the rest of the local weekend warriors. The tournament players hung to themselves normally not wanting to mix with the masses of hackers and foot faulters (and probably rightfully so). After fifty years of paper-pushing and couch potatoing, PB is the right sport for this time--one doesn't have to move much beyond their arthritic limitations to get some exercise, socialize and have a good time. It's a cultural thing--tennis is too tough and too cliquish to take up in the new millennium of smart rackets and autonimus cars.
So basically, in the 70s people had time to just wander down to the tennis courts and wait until a random spot opened? Ok boomer.
 
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ctc2

New User
Roadblocks.
I played on a team that went to Nationals. It was a big team with @ 18 players. About 8-9 players accounted for most of the success as a team. The rest were worked in as appropriate and either lost most of their matches, did not play much, or won meaningless matches against the worst teams in the league.
Now, those that moved up are all on teams at the next level. Those who didn't (who aren't even close to being able to play up) because of move up split up, can't play on a team with more than three of them on it. So, a team of three of them is put together but the others can't get enough players to form the three other teams needed to accommodate them. The other teams in the league at that level are private club teams and won't take them on. Even the team of 3 had trouble finding enough to get to 12-14.
The remaining players end up finding other things to do with their time since there is no team for them play on.
Here you have people who want to play but can't. I bet if you asked them now, they would say going to Nationals on a team wasn't worth the hassle.
Got to be a better way.
 

brownbearfalling

Hall of Fame
Well, I think they are really trying their best to get everyone involved but problem is local teams that constantly sandbag and same teams win the division every year. That is really a biggest problem we have. and also these idiot team captains putting everything into winning only and don't give a darn about players. They also hurt the USTA team tennis spirit and leaves bad taste in many people's mouth and they don't play anymore.

So I have actually seen local club leagues thriving and getting more players into their leagues and USTA losing players and teams. That is not a good sign for USTA
I have experienced sort of the same issue. To me I think USTA would benefit from promoting more social / recreational aspects of tennis league. Let the competitive players have the existing USTA system. I’ve been on competitive teams where it’s nice to win and advance to post season but there is the pressure of winning and the serious environment. I have also been on teams where they are just there to be social and get away from daily life. The Problem is that the these two types of teams are all put into the same pool. competitive teams ruin the atmosphere for the casual teams. Whether it’s Sand bagging, recruiting, being competitive on court (yelling, aggressive play, bad line calls, stacking line ups etc) it takes the fun out of the experience. So if USTA can find a way/ format/ event type to promote more casual/ social play I think people would be less intimidated to participate.
 

brownbearfalling

Hall of Fame
Took me quite a while to finally land on a USTA team...if you don't know captains or any "influential" team participants at your level it can be challenging. I have found the USTA section folks not all that helpful either. In the end, I got onto a team after being "spotted" by an influencer already on a team. This actually led quickly to me being placed on other teams and now I am confident I can play USTA here for a long time. The first team I was on went to Nationals...how lucky is that?

WTT is one way of meeting people that cross-pollinate with USTA, but it doesn't always work that way. In general, WTT isn't real tennis and a waste outside of the social aspect. And this is coming from someone that has been on (and is currently) multiple WTT teams, including ones that went to NQ. USTA league is definitely much better with higher caliber players than you will find in local ladders, local clubs, or WTT.

For better or worse, getting on your first USTA team is the toughest. It takes networking and breaking through whatever social cliques exist. But once you are in and demonstrate you can play, more opportunities open up.
I agree it is intimidating to find a team. Players usually wait until they are “invited” on a team to start USTA. Better advertisement of league and making it easier for first timers to get involved would be very beneficial
 
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