What could the USTA do to increase participation...

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Hall of Fame
It’s true that the primary thing causing lack of participation is the lack of a popular American male who wins. Serena has kept female interest and participation high. Any legit look around will reveal that there is indeed no shortage of female rec tennis players. The lack of participation is primarily on the men’s side. This is because there is no American Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc. There is not even an American Wawrinka or Murray. Honestly, there is not even an American Marin Cilic. It is not likely that there will be anytime soon either. The money is not there for American men, nor is the prestige. Pete and Andre are not walking out on to that court.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
It’s true that the primary thing causing lack of participation is the lack of a popular American male who wins. Serena has kept female interest and participation high. Any legit look around will reveal that there is indeed no shortage of female rec tennis players. The lack of participation is primarily on the men’s side. This is because there is no American Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc. There is not even an American Wawrinka or Murray. Honestly, there is not even an American Marin Cilic. It is not likely that there will be anytime soon either. The money is not there for American men, nor is the prestige. Pete and Andre are not walking out on to that court.
Or walking into the street,
 

ARNICOLINI

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.
LOL yes, what people post on this board is gospel!
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
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.

There has been a slow, constant decline in participation in general for tennis in the US for almost 40 years. It's hardly perceptible from year to year but over time it's huge. The participation rate in the US (that is, participants per population) has declined by about two-thirds since the mid-70s. As I've noted before, soccer started dragging kids away from tennis in droves in the '80s and more recently pickleball is diverting adults. Unfortunately, tennis is an inferior sport (in terms of attractiveness) to soccer (kids) and pickleball (adults)... it appears it's just going to continue its slow decline in the US.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
There has been a slow, constant decline in participation in general for tennis in the US for almost 40 years. It's hardly perceptible from year to year but over time it's huge. The participation rate in the US (that is, participants per population) has declined by about two-thirds since the mid-70s. As I've noted before, soccer started dragging kids away from tennis in droves in the '80s and more recently pickleball is diverting adults. Unfortunately, tennis is an inferior sport (in terms of attractiveness) to soccer (kids) and pickleball (adults)... it appears it's just going to continue its slow decline in the US.
Aren't those boomers from the 70s dying daily?
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
It’s true that the primary thing causing lack of participation is the lack of a popular American male who wins. Serena has kept female interest and participation high. Any legit look around will reveal that there is indeed no shortage of female rec tennis players. The lack of participation is primarily on the men’s side. This is because there is no American Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, etc. There is not even an American Wawrinka or Murray. Honestly, there is not even an American Marin Cilic. It is not likely that there will be anytime soon either. The money is not there for American men, nor is the prestige. Pete and Andre are not walking out on to that court.
I think this is one issue but there are others that the USTA just has no control over whatsoever. As I've noted several times before, the USTA can't make tennis as attractive to kids as soccer is. It just can't be done. So, that's a huge hurdle. But... they can do a much better job of allocating resources to grassroots tennis efforts. Instead, they have a big staff that makes a lot of money, and they like the big statement projects like Lake Nona. Unfortunately most organizations exist principally to perpetuate themselves and turn into compensations schemes, with the original or stated mission a distant second thought.

A question is why rec tennis remains so popular in France and Germany - as compared to the US - despite these countries' lack of big stars (yes, Germany now has Zverev, but that's recent). Yes, Germany and France both have a lot of great players, but they haven't consistently had top-5 players or Grand Slam winners for quite some time. Of course, basketball, american football, and baseball don't suck up as many kids as these sports do in the US. So, relatively speaking, tennis is a more "important" sport in these countries as compared to the US. Also, however, I suspect that their tennis federations do a better job at the grassroots level of promoting tennis.
 

navigator

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.
I think he's just saying it's great to play and compete, etc but, c'mon, it's just a hobby and the very best players aren't playing anyway. So, let's keep any positive results in perspective. And, for that matter, the losses aren't particularly important, either. As adults with nothing important at stake, league tennis and tournaments should be about exercise and fun. Yeah, of course, you want to win, but... please... it's just not that important. Overly-competitive adults participating in hobbies of any kind are an embarrassment... and there are more than a few of them.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
As I've noted before, soccer started dragging kids away from tennis in droves in the '80s and more recently pickleball is diverting adults. Unfortunately, tennis is an inferior sport (in terms of attractiveness) to soccer (kids) and pickleball (adults)... it appears it's just going to continue its slow decline in the US.
In our area there are 3 types of teen boys that play tennis: (1) boys whose parents were serious tennis players and were able to convince their kids to get into it, (2) kids that washed out of the more popular sports, and (3) the types of personalities that are more drawn to individual sports like running, skiing, martial arts, and tennis. That’s not a huge pool to draw on compared to the general pool of teen boys who like to play sports, so the participation isn’t high and the chance of generating a world-class champion isn’t high either.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
I think he's just saying it's great to play and compete, etc but, c'mon, it's just a hobby and the very best players aren't playing anyway. So, let's keep any positive results in perspective. And, for that matter, the losses aren't particularly important, either. As adults with nothing important at stake, league tennis and tournaments should be about exercise and fun. Yeah, of course, you want to win, but... please... it's just not that important. Overly-competitive adults participating in hobbies of any kind are an embarrassment... and there are more than a few of them.
I wore a 3.0 national champion t shirt with the trophy sticking out of my tennis bag all weekend. I am positive all the tennis teaching pros at the club were giving me knowing winks. And all the soccer moms were primping and fixing their hair to work up the courage to speak to me.

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk
 

silentkman

Professional
I think this is one issue but there are others that the USTA just has no control over whatsoever. As I've noted several times before, the USTA can't make tennis as attractive to kids as soccer is. It just can't be done. So, that's a huge hurdle. But... they can do a much better job of allocating resources to grassroots tennis efforts. Instead, they have a big staff that makes a lot of money, and they like the big statement projects like Lake Nona. Unfortunately most organizations exist principally to perpetuate themselves and turn into compensations schemes, with the original or stated mission a distant second thought.

A question is why rec tennis remains so popular in France and Germany - as compared to the US - despite these countries' lack of big stars (yes, Germany now has Zverev, but that's recent). Yes, Germany and France both have a lot of great players, but they haven't consistently had top-5 players or Grand Slam winners for quite some time. Of course, basketball, american football, and baseball don't suck up as many kids as these sports do in the US. So, relatively speaking, tennis is a more "important" sport in these countries as compared to the US. Also, however, I suspect that their tennis federations do a better job at the grassroots level of promoting tennis.
Name five great American Soccer players? Tennis is a niche sport at best, even with Pete and Andre. Tennis will be popular with women because they see a chance to make a living doing it. Most men could care less about tennis.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Name five great American Soccer players? Tennis is a niche sport at best, even with Pete and Andre. Tennis will be popular with women because they see a chance to make a living doing it. Most men could care less about tennis.
That's a great point I hadn't even considered. Soccer has blown away tennis with kids in the complete absence of truly world-class players. Kids just like playing soccer (a lot) more. Tennis started out as a niche sport, then grew to broad appeal in the 70s/80s and now has regressed back to a niche sport. Problem is... it ain't going back to its glory days. So what does the USTA propose to do to merely stop the bleeding? I don't think throwing tens of $millions at huge training facilities is going to do it. Part of the problem may be that most of the USTA executives were very competitive players so they can't really grasp how to appeal to the rec crowd or kids who aren't going to get a college scholarship... and that's the sport's base, at the end of the day.
 

KaiserW

Hall of Fame
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.

Wow interesting that women almost doubled the men in participation That surprises me.
 

rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Tennis is hard. Soccer you can just run around not even touch the ball and get a participation trophy. It's great for protecting the fragile egos of parents and the kids.

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rogerroger917

Hall of Fame
Real men play soccer. Nerds play tennis.
I think in USA the best athletes are in basketball and football. I would say soccer has bigger talent than tennis.

But soccer is a popular kids sport because you can literally play soccer on the 1st day.

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silentkman

Professional
That's a great point I hadn't even considered. Soccer has blown away tennis with kids in the complete absence of truly world-class players. Kids just like playing soccer (a lot) more. Tennis started out as a niche sport, then grew to broad appeal in the 70s/80s and now has regressed back to a niche sport. Problem is... it ain't going back to its glory days. So what does the USTA propose to do to merely stop the bleeding? I don't think throwing tens of $millions at huge training facilities is going to do it. Part of the problem may be that most of the USTA executives were very competitive players so they can't really grasp how to appeal to the rec crowd or kids who aren't going to get a college scholarship... and that's the sport's base, at the end of the day.
I do love the new facility in Lake Nona, I don't know when the new one will be finished in the DMV area. Tennis is not a team sport and kids like being on teams. In my view Tennis has no structure. I've always thought kids like having a referee to manage a game. Tennis does not have that. Even at the top junior tournaments, the parents are the only ones there. You can go to almost another sporting event and they actually have some spectators there. if you had a gifted kid athletically, which sport would they play? Matthew Stafford has made more in his career than the Joker.
 

FuzzyYellowBalls

Hall of Fame
Just in case this is news to anyone, Dallas has more women playing than men, not due to Serena at all, it's just what women do during the day. There is a TCD organization, Tennis Competitors of Dallas, that has the majority of the women's league participation, definitely more than USTA and the TCD mixed is more popular than the USTA leagues as well. It's mainly the country club crowd. Some of the country clubs have players that stick to this TCD format only or just play within the club and the most prestigious country clubs do not have USTA mixed teams nor do they have mens teams. The clubs are around $150,000 to $200,000 to join, then pay out the wazoo for fees and dues. Funny side note, some women go to ladies lunch in tennis outfits, they don't play tennis, they just like the outfits.

Anyway, that base of wealthy golf/tennis club people won't decline, but you aren't going to drag more of them into USTA either. I promise though, that country club lady crowd is the sweet spot for making money giving lessons, that and their children.

Maybe since the fitness craze is all the rage, well like all things in America extremes are all the rage, people are either getting really fat or going really healthy, maybe tennis could tap into that by showing it's more of a lifetime sport. I'm sure many of you have soccer friends who start tearing things and ruining knees in adult leagues, especially the tight confines of indoor soccer. IT's going to take something unexpected or dramatic to really juice up USTA though, maybe the continued building up of more public courts and facilities would increase USTA participation. If we all want it to increase or stay, we have to get some tennis players into the political systems in cities, have public park money go to courts etc.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
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.

Every dominant national sporting organization needs to decide, "Do want a bigger piece of the pie, or do we want to make a bigger pie?" Prioritizing "both" isn't really possible. USTA's biggest error over time has been going for a bigger piece of a shrinking pie, rather than going all out to make the pie bigger regardless of how big a piece they got.
 
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