What could the USTA do to increase participation...

EP1998

Semi-Pro
Fair enough. But is it set in stone when they are to be played? No one seems too happy with the status quo.

Also, what about my idea to have professional player serve as “Regional Captains” and play alongside the hacks when the time for nationals comes?


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Pro players on the team ala Bundesliga - would be amazing

I also think USTA needs to subsidize the Cat I and Cat II events which have insanely expensive entry fees
 
Pro players on the team ala Bundesliga - would be amazing

I also think USTA needs to subsidize the Cat I and Cat II events which have insanely expensive entry fees
Subsidizing is also a great idea. At the end of the day if no kids play and people lose interest in the game, nothing will matter at the pro level.
 

Dartagnan64

Legend
Pro players on the team ala Bundesliga - would be amazing

I also think USTA needs to subsidize the Cat I and Cat II events which have insanely expensive entry fees
That'll just lead to increase league/membership fees to compensate and further decrease participation.
 
That'll just lead to increase league/membership fees to compensate and further decrease participation.
There’s no need to increase fees to cover the pros appearance fees. There could be corporate sponsorship. Even if not the USTA is flush with cash.


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It’s a 501C but is not operating in the best interests of tennis in the USA. It’s very self serving and focused on the organization itself and not what’s best for US tennis overall. That’s what I’m gleaning from several folks.
 

Rattler

Hall of Fame
I’ve got a USTA complaint. Every January since 2017 I emailed my section’s Adaptive Tennis person for the Run & Roll or Up Down schedule. Doubles tournaments where an adaptive player and able bodied are paired. Always a lot of fun. The schedule of these events is like a closely guarded secret or has been a since this new coordinator took the job in 2017. Every year I get an Automated response, “I’m out of the office blah, blah blah.” Never once has this person gotten back to me. Not in 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020. I have called left messages etc.
Yesterday I went to their Facebook page and submitted my complaint for all to see.
How quickly I received a response was laughable. Within 5 minutes, and that was only 7 minutes after I got another automated out of the office email.
I guess public shaming is now how we get these people to do their job. SMH
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
2 key items are keeping league numbers low in my area. Sandbaggers and lack of captains:
Sandbaggers? Come on man. Actual for real sandbaggers are very rare. Perhaps these “older players” you are talking about need to move down a level and are simply hanging on to vanity ratings. Sandbaggers have nothing to do with keeping league numbers low. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.
 

Nacho

Hall of Fame
In leagues and tournaments?

J
USTA?

1) Transition JR/college players to adult tennis better. Give them incentives to keep with it. If they highlight a couple of clubs in each city that allow USTA members between 20-25 to play at the club without a membership, and give incentives to those clubs to do so, then clubs will bend over backwards to retain those players. Most players in this age group leave tennis because they can't afford it or are tied up in grad school, new jobs, new cities etc.

2) improve HS tennis, and make it more of an avenue for JR players to play, without having the expense of tournaments and travel

3) support local tennis, and local organizations, such as ALTA in Atlanta. Give them funds, give them the freedom to run and promote tennis in their areas. Let them run tournaments without all the restrictions.

4) Improve tennis link (I believe they spent 17 million 3 years ago to try and do this, still waiting). Make it a social platform where you can connect with other players, see results, and create friendly competition amongst teams and players. Currently its hard to navigate and uninteresting. Its difficult to see what players are out there, their levels, results etc...

5) Promote Sr. tennis at the higher levels. Too many age groups, too hard to figure out what kind of tournaments to play in, how ranking systems work, and the social aspect is lost at many of these events. If you have even played a National tournament you would see how difficult these are to schedule for, how expensive they are to travel to, and how the ranking system is misunderstood and exploited. I have run through some solutions in other posts, but this is a deeper topic than a few sentences.

6) last, I would encourage the USTA to give some monetary incentives to clubs who meet certain standards, and give them the resources to do it.
 
I'm trying to get my daughter back into tennis. She is a 3.5 who played in HS , not college. She practiced with my teams working around her college and grad school courses. ( local university) She enjoyed it as she became a young adult, my team members are good natured, one summer we had 3 mother daughter pairs playing during our lessons. As a captain here I know the captains would be happy to have a 25 year old singles player who has played league matches before. It seems hard to send her to the right place. She's in S F and walks to work, and everywhere. She moved there for the job..She said the Golden Gate park is an hour by bus. She heard there aren't any young players in the clubs. Shes too far away from Eastbay or South Bay. , no car..She said the public courts are always busy but she doesn't know anyone who plays. Her coworkers don't know any tennis players. She really wants/needs to make friends outside of her work place. I was trying to read the league sheets to help her find the teams or captains or venues, but it's all in some sort of numerical code. Her age appropriate season is coming up, I told her she should try to find an 18+ team. But I am 1000 miles away. She is a tech worker and knows 20 computer languages, but the usta barriers seem too tough for a younger adult. Who doesnt know one local tennis player..She's been signing up for different classes for other local activities, these businesses have websites and online schedules which are easy to navigate.. She's a good player, she had a lot of lessons in her past and did junior tournaments. I sure would like for her to meet some tennis players in SF. Her work is hard and stressful, she needs some fun!
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I'm trying to get my daughter back into tennis. She is a 3.5 who played in HS , not college. She practiced with my teams working around her college and grad school courses. ( local university) She enjoyed it as she became a young adult, my team members are good natured, one summer we had 3 mother daughter pairs playing during our lessons. As a captain here I know the captains would be happy to have a 25 year old singles player who has played league matches before. It seems hard to send her to the right place. She's in S F and walks to work, and everywhere. She moved there for the job..She said the Golden Gate park is an hour by bus. She heard there aren't any young players in the clubs. Shes too far away from Eastbay or South Bay. , no car..She said the public courts are always busy but she doesn't know anyone who plays. Her coworkers don't know any tennis players. She really wants/needs to make friends outside of her work place. I was trying to read the league sheets to help her find the teams or captains or venues, but it's all in some sort of numerical code. Her age appropriate season is coming up, I told her she should try to find an 18+ team. But I am 1000 miles away. She is a tech worker and knows 20 computer languages, but the usta barriers seem too tough for a younger adult. Who doesnt know one local tennis player..She's been signing up for different classes for other local activities, these businesses have websites and online schedules which are easy to navigate.. She's a good player, she had a lot of lessons in her past and did junior tournaments. I sure would like for her to meet some tennis players in SF. Her work is hard and stressful, she needs some fun!
Email the local league coordinator.


J
 

Nacho

Hall of Fame
usta barriers seem too tough for a younger adult. Who doesnt know one local tennis player..She's been signing up for different classes for other local activities, these businesses have websites and online schedules which are easy to navigate
This sounds about right....
 

chic

Semi-Pro
Email the local league coordinator.


J
Definitely, but as someone who's just getting back into it after a post college break: if you weren't in the club tennis world this kinda answer isn't apparent or readily available/findable.

I played highschool and 2 years of college, but was never super involved in tennis. When I tried to pick it back up both in DMV area and in Clemson I tried sending people emails through various websites and tried to navigate USTA as well (I knew nothing about league or what it was).

Luckily southern is flush with players and I met people at the park when doing wall drills and serving. But in terms of accessibility USTA kindof assumes people come from tennis families and at least ime can be hard to navigate without already knowing how USTA works.

Was very frustrating as a recent grad just trying to find some hitting partners.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
I'm trying to get my daughter back into tennis. She is a 3.5 who played in HS , not college. She practiced with my teams working around her college and grad school courses. ( local university) She enjoyed it as she became a young adult, my team members are good natured, one summer we had 3 mother daughter pairs playing during our lessons. As a captain here I know the captains would be happy to have a 25 year old singles player who has played league matches before. It seems hard to send her to the right place. She's in S F and walks to work, and everywhere. She moved there for the job..She said the Golden Gate park is an hour by bus. She heard there aren't any young players in the clubs. Shes too far away from Eastbay or South Bay. , no car..She said the public courts are always busy but she doesn't know anyone who plays. Her coworkers don't know any tennis players. She really wants/needs to make friends outside of her work place. I was trying to read the league sheets to help her find the teams or captains or venues, but it's all in some sort of numerical code. Her age appropriate season is coming up, I told her she should try to find an 18+ team. But I am 1000 miles away. She is a tech worker and knows 20 computer languages, but the usta barriers seem too tough for a younger adult. Who doesnt know one local tennis player..She's been signing up for different classes for other local activities, these businesses have websites and online schedules which are easy to navigate.. She's a good player, she had a lot of lessons in her past and did junior tournaments. I sure would like for her to meet some tennis players in SF. Her work is hard and stressful, she needs some fun!
Norcal has their own site that is a lot easier to navigate than tennislink: https://www.ustanorcal.com/

Registration of teams for the adult 18 season has just started so there will only be a few teams registered to date. But here is the list of 2019 teams: https://www.ustanorcal.com/listteams.asp?leagueid=2185&sortby=area

Best bet would be to email team captains directly. Most of last year's captains would be captaining again this year. In my experience contacting the local league coordinator will be of no help.

Also, if your daughter lives close to a BART station, do consider teams outside of SF that are close to BART stations. A BART ride out of the city may well be a shorter trip time wise than getting to some of the SF clubs.

Disclaimer: I moved away from the Bay Area a few years ago. But played there for many years before moving away.
 

MaxTennis

Rookie
Norcal has their own site that is a lot easier to navigate than tennislink: https://www.ustanorcal.com/

Registration of teams for the adult 18 season has just started so there will only be a few teams registered to date. But here is the list of 2019 teams: https://www.ustanorcal.com/listteams.asp?leagueid=2185&sortby=area

Best bet would be to email team captains directly. Most of last year's captains would be captaining again this year. In my experience contacting the local league coordinator will be of no help.

Also, if your daughter lives close to a BART station, do consider teams outside of SF that are close to BART stations. A BART ride out of the city may well be a shorter trip time wise than getting to some of the SF clubs.

Disclaimer: I moved away from the Bay Area a few years ago. But played there for many years before moving away.
+1 The NorCal player portal is really nice.
 

onehandbh

Legend
USTA should get more young kids playing. Maybe invest in introducing tennis to kids in elementary school and jr. high through P.E. classes.

Also maybe find a pressurized ball that doesn't lose pressure so quickly. A bit more durable.
 

onehandbh

Legend
Perhaps the USTA and UTR could join forces to promote tennis in the US.

The nee organization could be called
UTeRUS, and with their combined efforts they would give birth to a wave of new tennis enthusiasts.
 

ARNICOLINI

Rookie
Sandbaggers? Come on man. Actual for real sandbaggers are very rare. Perhaps these “older players” you are talking about need to move down a level and are simply hanging on to vanity ratings. Sandbaggers have nothing to do with keeping league numbers low. Sounds like a lot of excuse making to me.
Glad that you know my local section (and players) better than I do. ;)

If you aren't already working for the USTA you should apply. You can sit and watch all the players leave and play tennis elsewhere along with our section coordinator.

Wait a minute, are you my section coordinator???? That would explain things! :)
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Glad that you know my local section (and players) better than I do. ;)

If you aren't already working for the USTA you should apply. You can sit and watch all the players leave and play tennis elsewhere along with our section coordinator.

Wait a minute, are you my section coordinator???? That would explain things! :)
There are rumors (almost exclusively on this board by the way) of massive numbers of players leaving USTA for all these other “playing opportunities”. However, this never seems to be the case in real life. USTA leagues are always the ones that “really matter”, while others like Ultimate or club leagues are always supplemental or “just for fun”.
 

schmke

Hall of Fame
There are rumors (almost exclusively on this board by the way) of massive numbers of players leaving USTA for all these other “playing opportunities”. However, this never seems to be the case in real life. USTA leagues are always the ones that “really matter”, while others like Ultimate or club leagues are always supplemental or “just for fun”.
There is a consistent decline in USTA participation though. I would not characterize it as massive or that players are leaving in droves, but it has been happening a bit every year.

 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Tennis pros are rapidly getting certified in Pickleball. Don't rely on tennis for income all your life.
There are a lot of pickle ball coaching jobs available in AZ becuase we have such a large retirement community. I live right outside of Sun City and was just talking with a coach friend who was trying to encourage me to do Pickle Ball, Padle, and Platform certs and become a coordinator for one of the communities. Might be worth considering for when I retire here in a bit.
 

Notirouswithag

Professional
There are a lot of pickle ball coaching jobs available in AZ becuase we have such a large retirement community. I live right outside of Sun City and was just talking with a coach friend who was trying to encourage me to do Pickle Ball, Padle, and Platform certs and become a coordinator for one of the communities. Might be worth considering for when I retire here in a bit.

Dont think just do, pball has exploded on the west coast, east coast is still catching up
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
There are rumors (almost exclusively on this board by the way) of massive numbers of players leaving USTA for all these other “playing opportunities”. However, this never seems to be the case in real life. USTA leagues are always the ones that “really matter”, while others like Ultimate or club leagues are always supplemental or “just for fun”.
I have let my USTA membership lapse after about 15 years of membership. I moved to an area where USTA participation is really low relative to the number of players. Just not appealing to me when there are only two teams playing each other 8 times. On the other hand there are 11 teams in the local club league (dubs) and 8-10 players each season at my level in ultimate (singles).
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
There are a lot of pickle ball coaching jobs available in AZ becuase we have such a large retirement community. I live right outside of Sun City and was just talking with a coach friend who was trying to encourage me to do Pickle Ball, Padle, and Platform certs and become a coordinator for one of the communities. Might be worth considering for when I retire here in a bit.
Get certified in PBall now before they raise the requirements like they did for tennis.

I am more of a table tennis guy when it is too rainy for tennis, but when I become really really old, I will play PBall.
 

ChaelAZ

Legend
Get certified in PBall now before they raise the requirements like they did for tennis.

I am more of a table tennis guy when it is too rainy for tennis, but when I become really really old, I will play PBall.
Lol. I wondered when you would mention that. But in any case, The high school coach I worked with had a pickle ball court at his place and we’d play there. It’s fun for sure and to me the basic are easier to learn and teach. Worth considering for where I live. Less stress than high school coaching.

As for ping pong. Just got a cheap but decent new table Monday.




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ARNICOLINI

Rookie
There are rumors (almost exclusively on this board by the way) of massive numbers of players leaving USTA for all these other “playing opportunities”. However, this never seems to be the case in real life. USTA leagues are always the ones that “really matter”, while others like Ultimate or club leagues are always supplemental or “just for fun”.

LMFAO "really matter"
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
LMFAO "really matter"
There is a reason that rec players go around puffing their chest and showing off bag tags for going to 7.5 states or whatever. You never see that for players that won their local club league. Also, if non-USTA leagues don’t have a sandbagging problem, there is a reason for that too - and it’s not the format, it’s because nobody cares.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Is there really any point in getting a pickleball cert?

Who actually takes more than one lesson, anyone who can tie their shoes can play pickleball in 5 minutes.

J
 
RIch retired folks will take a few lessons in anything, especially certain wealthy women, they will take lessons from attractive guys and vice versa.
 

Jack the Hack

Hall of Fame
So the ITF is giving away free IPINs right now and that got me seriously thinking about playing a half dozen ITF senior age group tournaments that are within a reasonable travel distance for me. The idea of shooting for a world ranking, even if in my decripid age category, is kind of appealing.

If that simple gesture got me going, what if the USTA actually gave memberships away for free to people that play a certain amount of tournaments or play on 3 or more League teams in a year?

On a related note, has anyone ever ran in a major 5k, 10k, half or full marathon event? The cost of those is usually about the same as a USTA tournament. However, the road races are better organized, provide more value (nice race shirts, finisher medals, goodie bags, meals, massages, beer, vendor giveaways, etc), and can be funner overall (more participants, music, good looking people). They also DO NOT require any membership to participate in.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
There is a reason that rec players go around puffing their chest and showing off bag tags for going to 7.5 states or whatever. You never see that for players that won their local club league. Also, if non-USTA leagues don’t have a sandbagging problem, there is a reason for that too - and it’s not the format, it’s because nobody cares.
Nobody cares about adult usta league. Lol. Nobody good anyways.

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Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Nobody cares about adult usta league. Lol. Nobody good anyways.

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Irrelevant point though. It’s about how much they care about USTA leagues relative to other leagues. People care far more about USTA leagues and ratings than they do about local club leagues or Ultimate. If you spend any time at all reading this board, then you already know that.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Irrelevant point though. It’s about how much they care about USTA leagues relative to other leagues. People care far more about USTA leagues and ratings than they do about local club leagues or Ultimate. If you spend any time at all reading this board, then you already know that.
I think it's more they really care about being perceived as a good tennis player. While being a terrible tennis player. The guys that can play know how bad they actually are. So they are not as invested in the ego.

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Max G.

Legend
Interesting. So what tennis league or competition do YOU think a recreational player "should" care about, rogerroger?

Because it sounds to me like you're saying that people shouldn't care about their hobbies, because they're not professional at them. That seems like nonsense to me.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Is there really any point in getting a pickleball cert?

Who actually takes more than one lesson, anyone who can tie their shoes can play pickleball in 5 minutes.

J
But the dying population will be replaced by new old people daily so it will work out

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rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Interesting. So what tennis league or competition do YOU think a recreational player "should" care about, rogerroger?

Because it sounds to me like you're saying that people shouldn't care about their hobbies, because they're not professional at them. That seems like nonsense to me.
Not at all. Care sure. Of course. But don't carry around your little league baseball trophy and think it's all that. It's not.

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Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
USTA should get more young kids playing. Maybe invest in introducing tennis to kids in elementary school and jr. high through P.E. classes.

Also maybe find a pressurized ball that doesn't lose pressure so quickly. A bit more durable.
Like Soft tennis,

ps Many elementary schools no longer have PE
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
But don't carry around your little league baseball trophy and think it's all that. It's not.
Lol. That’s what all the kids who got picked last on the playground always said while they walked away kicking rocks. You sound like guy who “didn’t get the team text” about the upcoming 3.5 spring season.

Seriously though, just let people have their fun at their hobby. People like playing USTA leagues. There are so few opportunities for adults to play organized competitive sports, and tennis is one of those. No need to go around with that kind of attitude.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Lol. That’s what all the kids who got picked last on the playground always said while they walked away kicking rocks. You sound like guy who “didn’t get the team text” about the upcoming 3.5 spring season.

Seriously though, just let people have their fun at their hobby. People like playing USTA leagues. There are so few opportunities for adults to play organized competitive sports, and tennis is one of those. No need to go around with that kind of attitude.
Sure. If that makes you feel better about your tennis.

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Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
Lol. That’s what all the kids who got picked last on the playground always said while they walked away kicking rocks. You sound like guy who “didn’t get the team text” about the upcoming 3.5 spring season.

Seriously though, just let people have their fun at their hobby. People like playing USTA leagues. There are so few opportunities for adults to play organized competitive sports, and tennis is one of those. No need to go around with that kind of attitude.
The league gave teammates a reason to practice and play all year-long.
 

Chalkdust

Rookie
Irrelevant point though. It’s about how much they care about USTA leagues relative to other leagues. People care far more about USTA leagues and ratings than they do about local club leagues or Ultimate. If you spend any time at all reading this board, then you already know that.
I think this is because most club leagues and ultimate don't have a postseason with sectionals and nationals in the way that USTA does. So people in these leagues just enjoy having competitive matches during the season and that's it.
Whereas in USTA there is a percentage of players that are heavily invested in getting to postseason play. For some even to the extent that the regular season becomes just a chore or obstacle to be endured rather than enjoyed. And that is the basis for much of the sandbagging, complaining about sandbagging, obsessing about rating, obsessing about stacking / reverse stacking, etc, etc.
Basically USTA offers a 'meta-game' in addition to tennis, which some people enjoy (sometimes more than the tennis!)
Obviously not all USTA players are like this, just a small but still significant minority.
 
Both sides have good points, there will always be those that take it very seriously and those that aren't sure why. USTA participation doesn't increase though with those that are hard core about nationals, but without that core, the participation would be really sad. It's a common problem many businesses face, how to expand the customer base without losing the hard core fans, almost like an entertainment product.
Probably the 100% easiest way and sure fire way would be a Tiger Woods of tennis to emerge, some american. But, that's not likely as far as I know.
Then you need to rely on the USTA to innovate or somehow attract and hire a marketing genius, that's probably not going to happen.
Then you might need younger people to play, it seems tennis participation is dwindling, based on national numbers.
So you have to go back to the hard cores players, the ones who play combo, mixed, regular, 40+, and some in Texas try to do it in 2-4 different cities in the same season lol. That's a good customer, but some of those antics have been outlawed and it's hard to find that many people who are willing to ignore their family or can ignore their family that much.
You need to please the fanatics and expand the 1 league a season customers at the same time, I wouldn't want that job.
 
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