A New Way to Search for Tournaments

Image courtesy of indianagrace.org
Image courtesy of indianagrace.org

 

For the past I-don’t-know-how-many years, we’ve all been conditioned to look for tournaments on TennisLink or the ITF Juniors site, right? Well, it’s time to change how we search for and select tournaments for our junior players.

With the widespread popularity of UTR events (click here for an in-depth explanation of UTR and how it works), many of which are not USTA-sanctioned, we all need to get into the habit of going to UTR’s tournament website, too, when planning our junior (and college) player’s competition schedule. There are some incredible events popping up around the world that use UTR for selection and seeding and that use UTR’s back-end software as well (that’s what we used for #TheSol). Because these events are NOT sanctioned by USTA (which simply means the tournament director did not apply for sanctioning, and, therefore, the results won’t count toward the players’ Points Per Round ranking), they will not appear on TennisLink. The results will, however, count toward the players’ rating on Universal Tennis which is being used more and more by college coaches during the recruiting process.

For those of you new to UTR, here’s how the tournament page works:

  1. Register your player(s) with UTR by clicking here. Click the box to accept the UTR Terms & Conditions, then click SIGN UP. Easy peasy! You also have the option to proceed as a Guest if you just want to see what it’s all about! Note: if you are registering more than one player, you will need to use a different email address for each one. Also, be sure your name, city, and state are identical to those displayed on your UTR rating page.
  2. Once you’ve registered, you will go directly to the list of tournaments where you can search by country, state, and date. You can also search by tournament name if you know it.
  3. When you identify a tournament that is of interest, click on VISIT TOURNAMENT to go to that event’s web page. There you’ll be able to find more detail on the event such as types of divisions, a list of players (if the tournament director has chosen to reveal it – it’s up to each TD to make that choice), draws once they’re posted, and any updates on the tournament itself.
  4. To register for a UTR tournament, simply click on the REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT tab at the top right of the tournament page. At that point, if you haven’t already registered your player in the UTR tournament system, you’ll be prompted to do so before you can register for the specific event. There is NO COST to add your player to the UTR tournament system. There will be a cost, however, to register for the tournament itself. You’ll then be redirected to the tournament entry page where you’ll check which divisions you’re entering, add any contact information required, check the box to agree to the terms and conditions, then click on REGISTER FOR THIS TOURNAMENT at the bottom of the page. Next, you’ll be prompted to enter your payment info, and, voila, you’re done!

One of the features I really like about the UTR tournament system is the tournament director’s ability to email all the players with any updates or changes. As a parent, I always found it frustrating that the onus was on me to continually check a tournament’s TennisLink page to find out if the draws had been posted or if my son’s site had been changed or for any of a number of other important bits of information. With UTR, the TD simply has to click a button to email all entrants, making it very simple to keep the lines of communication open.

I realize it takes time to build new habits, but I encourage all of you to bookmark the UTR tournament page and get used to checking it on a regular basis for new events in and around your area. UTR is here to stay and is offering some real positive alternatives to the status quo in junior competition. Let me know once you’ve tried the site – I’d love to hear your feedback. I’m already a big fan!

 

3 Comments on “A New Way to Search for Tournaments”

  1. Its a great concept but unfortunately tennis parents have found a way to game the system already. We now hear many at tournaments talking about UTR, down to the decimal places. Now the cheaters actually cheat more because the parents tell them to not lose any games if possible. 6-0 is better than 6-3 for UTR.

    Also, many matches in Florida start at 2-2 because weather causes so many postponements, yet they are reported as 6-2 instead of 4-0, 6-3 instead of 4-1, etc. So you never know if games were won or not played.

    Bottom line is until the USTA stops using its money to overpay top executives and starts having refs for at least every other court, no rating system will be even close to accurate.

  2. Hello Jon,

    When known, matches that start at 2-2 are not included on the UTR system. Recently the USTA Texas section changed their policy, where they no longer start matches at a 2-2 score, in order to better support the UTR system.

    Many of the UTR Events are non-sanctioned tournaments. As a result, we’ve been provided feedback by players, parents, and tournament directors, that the playing environment has “less drama” than is often found at ranking point events.

    We invite you to visit or participant in a UTR Event for yourself, to experience what we believe is a positive change for tennis competition.

    Team UTR

  3. Overall I see UTR ratings as a very positive development for Junior tennis and look forward to seeing more UTR tournmanents on the calendar in coming years, but Jon’s reference to UTR’s unintended consequence of accelerating cheating is spot on. From what I have personally observed at USTA tournaments over the past year, misreported match scores and game point scoring manipulation have the potential to become as problematic as unscrupulous line calls. No doubt, the folks at UTR can help put an end to all of this nonsense by offering better officiating than USTA tournaments…would be a very meaningful value proposition in conjunction with improved draw-making, etc…

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