USTA Website Gets Much-Needed Makeover

I received the latest e-newsletter from USTA Southwest this morning, and it contained some really useful information on the recent USTA website makeover. Take some time to click around the various links included below and see what you think. I’d love to hear your feedback in the Comments below. Thank you to Nicole Fintell and the rest of the USTA Southwest staff for the great work!

Couple of important points to note if you’re looking for Southwest (or any other section’s) Junior Information on the usta.com site:

1) Each time you visit the site, you MUST enable the location settings. Otherwise, if you do not enable the location, the information that you will see will be National-specific information.

2) Most, if not all of the junior information formerly contained on the old site, can be found by following this path: PLAY->PLAY AS A MEMBER->JUNIOR TOURNAMENTS

3) Also, much of the information is in the annual JUNIOR PLAYER HANDBOOK.

A new junior website has also been launched, called Net Generation. The website is located at https://netgeneration.usta.com/. This will be a new portal of all things junior tennis for junior players and parents.

Both sites have just recently launched, so take a little time and play around on the new sites.

Endorsement Information

‘Endorsement’ is the Section’s approval of a junior player to play National Events (such as team events and the Hard/Clay Court National Championships) based on a player’s ranking during a particular time period.

We (USTA Southwest) have spring, summer and winter endorsement periods. This may differ for other sections.

Endorsement information
Complete the Endorsement Info Sheet

USTA Player Development Library

Dartfish TVThe USTA Player Development Library is a repository of great information and resources for parents, coaches, and players including presentations, interviews, and drills.

Take a look and you just might take away some valuable information!

Visit the USTA Player Development Library HERE.

Don’t forget to follow them on Twitter and Instagram as well.

10 and Under Youth Tennis Progression

2017 tagged Youth Progression Tournaments

2017 Youth Progression Tournament Calendar

 

 

 

 

 

National Junior Tennis

And, I’ve posted this before, but here is the info on the National schedule for 2017:

2017 Junior Competitive Structure

2017 JR National tournament Schedule

Girls 12s Hardcourts Live From ATL

golden-tennis-ball-white-30500350Coach Craig Cignarelli recently relocated from SoCal to Atlanta – if you’re in the Atlanta area, you need to RUN to Windward Lake Club ASAP and schedule time for your junior to work with this amazing coach! – and has offered to cover the Girls 12s National Hardcourts for ParentingAces. I always look forward to reading Craig’s pieces, and I hope you enjoy his witty insights, too, over the next several days!

The USTA girls 12-and-Under nationals takes place at Windward Lake Club in Atlanta, Georgia. As national champion, the winner will receive a gold ball. At present, there are 128 pre-teen females grunting and screaming as they hit mach speeds with the loosest arms since Geppetto built his little puppet.

During yesterday’s warm-up, before the pre-tournament practice, one father went ballistic, screaming out to his daughter’s opponent “Stop cheating! You can’t cheat my daughter,” to which his own child replied, “Dad, will you shut up!” Several competitors shook their heads knowingly. In preparation for day one of the event, several children spent more than six hours hitting in the 90+% humidity. Many of them complained of fatigue as stink-eyed parents glared their disapproval. There are very dark circles under eyes here.

While opening day was about camaraderie – girls took photos, smiled, laughed, and connected with old (relatively) friends – Day One of competition was different. 8am competitors arrive with crusted eyes and sheet-seamed cheeks and work into a sweaty lather before sun rises. As dawn ends, slugged-tennis-ball echoes resound across the morning sky. At 7:45 the players rush through Windward’s trees and green grass to the tournament desk for check-in. With a twenty-acre facility, including waterslides, four pools and a marina, Windward provides a scenic and expansive the venue for parents and kids.

Last year’s winner, Nikki Yanez is the number one seed and she begins play at 8am. Her first set ends at 8:14am. On her opponent’s face, the thrashing is noticeable. When they compete, twelve year old girls take on the countenance of Scottish warriors.

Each court has scoreboards atop the net posts and atop each of the scoreboards are numbers to display the set score. The biggest frustration for most kids is finding a way to reach the numbers to change the score. There’ve been some pretty creative efforts, but for most it’s like King Kong on the Empire State building. Nikki makes sure to change the score with a violent shove after every game, which is sort of like Warren Buffet fist-pumping after each line of a negotiation.

At least four college coaches are here and you get the sense they’re already plotting scholarships six years out. With raised eyebrows, hard exhales and excessive drooling over the shotmaking, things grow uncomfortable. Nikki finishes before the sun heats up and trods off the court holding the used tennis balls which all winners carry to the tournament desk.

Aside from the on-court battles, there appear to be several other wars being waged via the parentals. As they boast about who has the youngest kid here (one argument got down to the hour born in the hospital – seriously!) and which kids practice the least, you can feel the genetic trees shaking their competitive roots. Many of these same parents wrap arms around their kids’ shoulders and whisper endless advice into the kids’ ears as they walk out to the court. The children roll their eyes and drop jawlines with uncommon regularity. Adolescence, after all, frequently floats away beneath the winds of helicopter parents.

More to come tomorrow.

A New Way to Get Into B&G18s National Hardcourts

usta_jt_logo

USTA recently announced it is holding a Wildcard Playoff tournament for a spot in the Boys (Kalamazoo) and Girls (San Diego) 18s Hardcourt Championships. When I first heard about the event, I thought it was something being held in each USTA section, but that is not the case. There is one site – Arlington, Texas – for this 64-draw tournament (click here for the TennisLink page).

Per a recent communication from USTA:

One boys’ wild card and one girls’ wild card will be awarded to the winners of this tournament.  The tournament will be held at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, Texas.  The site is 26 minutes from the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW).

The tournament will be played July 20-23, 2015 and is open to all age-eligible players who are not already accepted into the B18 National Championships in Kalamazoo or the G18 National Championships in San Diego.  Entries will OPEN on Thursday, May 14, 2015 [the TennisLink site says entries will open May 21] and will CLOSE at 11:59 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 9, 2015.  This singles only, single-elimination tournament will have a draw size of up to 64 players.  Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded.  We will publish an acceptance list no later than Monday, July 13, 2015.  As you know we cannot publish an acceptance list until the wild cards for the National Championships have been awarded, which we hope to do by Friday, July 10, 2015.

If you’re a bit confused by all this, you’re not alone! The first sentence in the quote above says that one WC will be awarded but says further down that up to 16 WCs may be awarded. I’ve reached out to the national office and my section’s Jr Comp folks for some clarification. Here’s what I found out . . .

The 16 wild cards mentioned above are into the actual wild card event. In other words, there will be 48 direct acceptance and up to 16 wild cards for the 64 draw. The winner of this event gets a wild card (one of the eight given by Player Development) into the National Championship.

Here’s what else I found out from the National office:

  • Players accepted into a younger division of a concurrent USTA National Championship are eligible for selection into the wild card playoff tournament and if such a player wins a wild card, they shall be withdrawn from the younger division without penalty.
  • Selection will take place after selection of wild cards allocated to each Division.
  • Up to 16 wild cards may be awarded into the wild card playoff tournament.  Remaining players shall be selected and the alternate lists shall be ordered using the most recently published National Standings Lists of the 18 Divisions.
  • Ratings shall be used to seed players.
  • No ranking points shall be earned for participation in the wild card playoff tournament.
  • Best-of-3 tiebreak set match format.
  • The finals will be chaired and the one official for four courts standard for all national junior tournaments must be met.
  • Entry fee will be $54.25.
  • The tournament shall be held on July 20-23, 2015, and corresponding calendar dates in future years
  • The tournament will take place at the Arlington Tennis Center in Arlington, TX.

I think this is a great addition to the national junior calendar. It offers yet another way into the most prestigious event in the 18s age group – much like the wildcard series held for the Australian and French Open at the pro level – without cutting into quotas or other entry criteria, and it rewards those players who have played a national tournament schedule and done well throughout the year.

Be sure to check the event website over the coming few days for additional details.

For the most recent information on the National Junior Competitive Structure, including draw sizes and quotas for the various events, click here.