A question was recently posted on Twitter that caught my attention: Approximately what percentage of the entry fee goes to the host site in USTA junior tournaments? It’s a question I’ve been pondering for quite some time, especially since all this talk started about cutting draws at tournaments and the impact that would have on Tournament Directors and local communities. So, I contacted my local and sectional USTA junior tennis staff members as well as some tournament directors who run local, sectional, and national events and asked them to answer a few questions for me. Here’s what I found out . . .
1. For sanctioned tournaments, how much does the tournament director pay to USTA for sanctioning fees? Do those same fees apply to More >
There have been several comments on this blog asking what parents, players, and coaches want to see in terms of a junior competition structure – USTA has asked all of us to email them at LetUsKnow@usta.com to share our thoughts. Some people who are way smarter than I am have come up with one proposal that just may work. This proposal addresses the travel and cost issue, the “earned advancement” issue, the missed school issue, and the rankings issue, among other things. Please take some time to read through it and share your thoughts in the Comments below.
The key points to this proposal are as follows:
No changes to the existing Level 1s.
Every section (except Hawaii and Caribbean) hosts a Level 2 and at least one Level 3 during the More >
A couple of days ago, I saw a post on my Facebook newsfeed from USTA’s Junior Competition folks announcing seeding changes for National tournaments. Apparently, I’m one of only a few people who saw the post or knew anything about it. When I posted the link to the changes on the ParentingAces Facebook page, which also feeds to my Twitter, I got very little feedback from anyone . . . that is, until the seedings came out for this weekend’s Regional Segment tournaments!
Apparently, the biggest change to the seeding criteria has to do with using a separate Singles Seeding List – which does not include any doubles ranking points – to seed the singles draws. For the doubles draws, there is now a separate National Individual Doubles Seeding More >
Just when I thought I had the USTA tournament thing finally figured out, my kid decided he wanted to try playing some ITF events. And, after reading the current ITF Junior Regulations and searching all over the Web for information and coming up pretty much empty-handed, I started asking questions of those with way more knowledge than I have so I could understand how the ITF process works. Here’s what I’ve learned so far about ITF events held in the US:
You must be between the ages of 13-18 to play in an ITF Junior tournament. You may enter a tournament starting at age 12 years 11 months, however. Unlike USTA which uses the player’s birth month to determine age and eligibility, the ITF uses the calendar year. For the 2012 ITF season, More >
USTA rankings vs. Tennis Recruiting star ratings vs. Universal Tennis levels . . . is anyone else confused here? I don’t know about the rest of you, but this obsessed Tennis Momma spends an inordinate amount of time trying to understand what the different ratings and rankings actually mean and how my son can best use the information to improve as a player.
A quick overview of some of the different ranking/rating systems out there . . .
USTA currently uses the Points Per Round (PPR) system which awards ranking points based on the level of tournament and which round the player reaches in the tournament. A player’s top 6 singles tournament results and top 3 doubles tournament results for the previous 12 months are included in his/her More >
Another rule that was piloted in the Southern Section in 2011 but rolled out nationwide for 2012 concerns 10-and-Under Tennis (aka QuickStart or Mini-Tennis or ROG which is an acronym for the different colors of the low-compression balls). From this point forward, all 10U tournament play will take place on smaller courts (36×18 feet for 8-and-unders, 60×21 feet for 10-and-unders) with low-compression balls. If a 10U player wants to play on a full-size court (78×27 feet for singles) with regular yellow balls, he/she must play up in the 12U.
Why the new format? According to Bill Ozaki, Director of Player Development – USTA Southern, “For the first time, tennis programming for children 10 and under will be moved to more appropriate sized More >
For those of you living in USTA’s Southern section, some new rules went into effect January 1st. For those of you living in other USTA sections, these rules are probably coming to you soon since Southern tends to pilot changes that are then rolled out nationwide.
The rule that I want to address today concerns Southern Level 3 tournaments. Even though my son has been playing USTA Southern tournaments for several years now, we got no notice of this rule change. How did I find out about it? I went to a Southern Level 3 tournament website to register my son and found the new rules posted there. I took the following directly from the tournament’s website (typos are on the part of the tournament):
Now let’s talk about how the USTA ranking system works. This is where things can get a little bit tricky! First of all, rankings are all based on points (as opposed to whom you beat and whom you lost to), and points are accumulated by winning tournament matches. And different levels of tournaments afford different numbers of points. So, at first glance it would seem that the child who plays the most tournaments and wins the most matches would have the highest ranking, right? Nope!
USTA only looks at the child’s top 6 singles tournament results (100% of total points) PLUS his top 3 doubles tournament results (15% of total points) in order to formulate his ranking. And, a child can have a state, sectional, and national ranking that More >
For those of you just starting out in the overwhelming world that is Junior Tennis, I thought I’d give you a down-and-dirty breakdown of how the USTA tournament and ranking system works. Hold onto your sanity because you’re in for quite an adventure!
The first step in playing a USTA tournament is getting a USTA junior membership and number for your child (see USTA’s website) – no USTA number means no tournament play! Make sure you write down the number and keep it in a safe place until the actual membership card arrives in your mailbox – you will need this number for pretty much everything your child does in the tournament world.
Most tournaments require online registration via a service called TennisLink. You can search for More >