SoCal Taking Positive Steps, Too!

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After posting yesterday’s article about the 12-and-under changes happening in the NorCal section, one Southern California parent contacted me to let me know of a positive change happening in that section as well.

According to the USTA SoCal website:

Because there already are significant changes to the National Junior Tournament Schedule taking place in 2014, the Junior Competition Committee has decided to not make any changes to the draw size of its Level 2 Designated Tournaments for 2014.
 
Later this year the Junior Competition Committee will be reviewing the Level 2 Designated Tournaments in the greater context of our entire SCTA competitive system. This review will cover issues related to endorsement, point tables, aging up, and wild cards.
 
Please be advised that future changes to SCTA junior competition and tournaments will be introduced to the Section in advance, so that players and parents are aware of any changes.

If you live in this section and need more information, please contact Ai Takamori, Assistant for Junior Competition, at Takamori@scta.usta.com.

Also, if you know of any changes happening in your section, please share them with me so I can post them here.  Sometimes it’s difficult to find the information on your section’s website, so I would like to help USTA get the word out as best I can.  It’s nice to have the chance to report the good stuff!

7 Comments on “SoCal Taking Positive Steps, Too!”

  1. A couple of comments …

    Good luck getting a response via email from Ai Takamori … her inbox is where email goes to die

    I still think the fields for these tournaments are too large. The large draw sizes are brutal for the players and the parents.
    — Far too many blowouts in the early rounds
    — It is not uncommon to have an 8:00 a.m. match. How good can the tennis possibly be when the match starts at 8:00 a.m.? The only reason the match starts that early is to accomodate the size of the draw. If the designated is at Barnes in San Diego and you are coming down from Orange County that means your kid is getting up at 5:00 a.m. and probably isn’t getting a warm-up. Yes, I realize that a family can spend the night in a hotel but I thought we were trying to discourage the need to have to break the family bank just to play in tournaments.
    — It is not uncommon to have to play at multiple sites on the same day to accomodate the size of the draw.
    — Finally, and most unfortuantely, it is not uncommon to have to play four matches in one day if you are playing singles and doubles. At the most recent USTA regional in Sacramento a typical schedule looked like this:
    —– 8:00 a.m. – first singles match at site A
    —– 11:30 a.m. – second singles match at site B
    —– 4:00 p.m. – first doubles match at site A
    —– 7:00 p.m. – second doubles match at site A

    This is madness!

    1. It’s funny how the perspectives are so different section to section. In Southern, we pretty much always have to stay in a hotel so 8am matches, especially in the hot summer months, are great! And, I think families are happy to see the kids play multiple matches in a day so things move along with the draws. But, I totally understand your concern. I just think it’s admirable that, in the face of so many cuts at the national level, SoCal is refusing to cut sectionally. That way, the kids who will now be left out of the national events will have the chance to play closer to home and earn their way up the proverbial food chain.

      1. I don’t disagree with you Lisa. What I want is to see the best tennis possible. I don’t think that 8:00 start times, driving between sites, and 3-4 matches in one day is bringing out the best tennis.

  2. Whether you agree or disagree with any of this the positive development here is that the SoCal Junior Council and it appears the NorCal Council as well took the time to solicit feedback from the people affected by these significant changes and actually listened to what they had to say. In the end an open and transparent decision making process is in everyone’s interest.

  3. David – Very interesting and educating perspective. I am jealous of the wealth of competition in SoCal, but I can understand the downside of the large pool of players.

  4. I agree with Lisa. There is a way to effectively handle large pools of age division juniors. The SSV Tennis Rating accurately measures tennis ability so that any size pool of juniors can be placed into small manageable groups of similar ability. Thus providing a clear path closer to home for juniors to earn their way up the proverbial food chain.

    In San Diego 600 (not ready for prime time) juniors from 13 clubs have the opportunity for local one day tournaments in which they play 3 one set matches against 3 other juniors at their same level.

    With eight levels of play these juniors are placed into groups strictly by the SSV Tennis Rating disregarding age or gender.

    They get two hours of competition at a specific scheduled time which is very well received by parents, players and pros. Win or lose their first match, they have two more matches to play. The SSV tournaments are schedule at the different clubs on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons fifty two weeks a year. Players can pick and choose when and where they want to play. Its like a farm system for USTA. As the kids improve, they advance to USTA competition with experience and confidence. When they are not playing USTA, they sign up again for local SSV events.

    If the USTA wants to keep large pools of players in their sectional and national events, fine. Consider taking the first day and giving all the players a 15 minute SSV test. With four players tested per court hour, in a few hours on multiple courts 200 players could be tested. Then, with a numerical SSV Tennis Rating an objective roster of players could be created and then divided into smaller groups. If you are concerned about seeds, then place the seeded players in the top group.

    The tournament director could then decide on the size of the draws; 64, 32, 16 or what ever. Without any doubt, the best players would still be in the top group (A) and the weakest players in the bottom group. That way everyone could have competed in a USTA national event with SSV as a qualifier and the organizers would have multiple small draws to deal with. You would eliminate the devastating, time-consuming mismatches that occur in the early rounds and still provide a meaningful national tennis experience for all juniors.

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