Posts tagged player development
“If you don’t like us, find a way to get rid of us!” That was Patrick McEnroe’s response to a parent’s question regarding the 2014 Junior Competition Changes at last summer’s Girls 12 Nationals in Atlanta, and it was really the beginning of my extensive coverage of the new calendar that USTA was planning to implement beginning January 1, 2014.
Now that the calendar changes have been finalized and approved at the National Board level, I figured I should do a sort-of recap of the process around the changes and how they came to be . . .
- Some time in 2011: Jon Vegosen, then president of USTA, charged his Junior Competition Committee (JCC) to devise a new national tournament schedule. Please note that the JCC was chaired by Tim Russell, a More >
Why, you might ask, is there a French magazine cover pictured at the top of this post? Well, 2 reasons . . . first of all, because I want everyone to notice that it features French pro, Richard Gasquet, at the age of 9, playing tennis using a yellow ball. Second of all, because in just a few weeks I’ll be at Roland Garros watching a couple of days of phenomenal tennis at the French Open and am pretty darn excited! (P.S. Anyone who wants to hook me up with courtside seats, you know how to reach me!)
Some of you may have gotten wind of the changes happening across the country with 10-and-under tennis and the mandated use of the ROG balls in tournament play. What you may not know is that ROG is now infiltrating the 12s, too.
The 2014 changes to the junior competition calendar are all but a done deal. The Powers That Be at USTA, despite our best efforts, have decided they (not parents, not coaches, not the players themselves) know what’s best for our young players and have slashed competitive opportunities at the national level by a huge margin. So, now what?
Add to the mix the fact that several USTA sections have also adopted a rather Draconian policy for the 10-and-unders and 12-and-unders, forcing them onto the ROG path, making it so they have to play all the way up in the 14s if they want to play with a yellow ball on a full-size court. If you haven’t already, be sure to listen to the free podcast of my radio show with Lawrence Roddick (Andy’s older More >
The two spreadsheets above were created by Robert Sasseville, a member of the group that met with the USTA folks in Chicago in October. Robert has run the Girls 14s Nationals for the past 30 years and has been involved in junior tennis in some way, shape, or form for over 40 years, so he’s seen the evolution of the competition calendar and ranking system over a long enough period of time to understand clearly how the 2014 changes will impact our junior players.
The first link shows a comparison between the 2014 national competition opportunities and those in 2012 and 2009, including the new More >
The following information was emailed to me by Jason Lampione – tennis coach, mentor, and writer – who was in attendance at the Rocky Hill, CT, “listening” meeting held by USTA. These are simply Jason’s notes taken during the meeting – he will be compiling his own analysis of them over the next day or so which I will then post on ParentingAces for you to read.
This second meeting was led by incoming USTA President Dave Haggerty and USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman and was attended by 30-40 (exact number unknown) parents and coaches. I have inserted my comments in italics at the end of certain bullet points below.
USTA released a statement via email to some key people after the meeting – that statement is posted More >
The following information was emailed to me by a parent who was in attendance at the Reston, VA, “listening” meeting held by USTA. I am reprinting it exactly as it was sent to me. Please read and share with other tennis parents and coaches so our voices will be heard. Thank you.
USTA Town Hall Meeting
Mid-Atlantic Annual Meeting — Reston, VA
Representing the USTA: Lew Brewer, Director Junior Competition
Scott Schultz, Managing Director, Youth Tennis
Scott Schultz (SS): Introduction
wants to really listen and wants participants to leave feeling like they have listened
This is 1st town hall meeting
This is not about kids going pro. These proposed changes affect critical group of kids: those who devote the More >
The following is copied directly from today’s ZooTennis.com’s post – clicking on the link will take you to the complete post.
The first USTA Junior Competition Town Hall Listening meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, November 17, at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston Virginia. Lew Brewer is scheduled to speak at the Mid-Atlantic section’s annual meeting and awards luncheon with the topic “Understanding the Upcoming Changes to the Junior Tournament Structure.” This gives the impression that the changes are a done deal, which was not my understanding from the statement after the October Tennis Industry meeting in Chicago, but I could be misinterpreting the above title or the statement. For more, see this post from Parenting Aces.
There More >
I got word from a parent in the Mid-Atlantic section of a meeting being held this Saturday (November 17th) at which Lew Brewer of USTA will be discussing the proposed changes to the junior competition schedule. This may be THE “listening meeting” for that section, so I urge all parents and coaches in the area to attend and report any significant news to the rest of us via the Comments section on this post or via our Facebook page.
I recently met with Ross Greenstein of Scholarship for Athletes to talk about various aspects of junior and college tennis. Ross grew up playing junior tennis and went on to play at the University of Florida. He now works with junior players and their families to navigate the college recruiting process, so I trust him as a reliable resource on matters having to do with junior tennis and college.
He asked me to give him the down-and-dirty rundown on what’s going on with the USTA’s proposed changes to the junior competition schedule and the feedback I’ve been hearing from other parents as well as coaches. Then, he shared with me what I consider a brilliant solution . . .
Instead of making the draws smaller at the big national tournaments More >
My son is at an interesting place in terms of his tennis development. As I’ve mentioned, he’s now playing up in the 18s even though he could still play another year in the 16s. But, because of his July birthday, and because of his goal to play at Kalamazoo (which is the first week of August) next summer, he had to start working on his 18s ranking a year early. That means he is often 2 years younger than his opponent, 2 years behind developmentally-speaking, 2 years behind growth-wise, and 2 years behind in the maturation process.
His goal during tournaments is still to win matches, of course, because he needs to get his 18s ranking to a place where he has a chance of getting into the National Hardcourts. And, to that end, we look for More >