TRN’s National Showcase Series

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As I’ve been posting on Facebook and Tweeting this week, TennisRecruiting.net recently announced its National Showcase Series for 2013.

Per the email I received yesterday from TRN, the National Showcase Tournaments are designed to give players a chance to compete outside of their districts and sections.  They are seeking to fill the gap left by USTA’s 2013 and 2014 junior competition calendar changes, some of which limit players to competing within their own section or region.  While the TRN events will NOT count toward USTA national rankings, they WILL count toward USTA sectional or district ranking (if the player is competing in one of these events held in his/her own section or district of residence) as well as a player’s ranking and star rating on TennisRecruiting.net.  It’s important to note that players who choose to compete in National Showcase events held OUTSIDE their section or district of residence will not receive USTA ranking points but will still get credit toward their TRN ranking and star rating.

TRN’s Dallas Oliver says, “The idea of these National Showcase tournaments is to provide meaningful cross-play between different areas that will provide more data for meaningful national rankings. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback so far – players and parents appreciate having more choices. And the tournament directors we have on board so far have great reputations for running quality tournaments.  We think that this tournament series has a lot of positive qualities. These are USTA-sanctioned events, so players and their families will get a familiar experience. But the tournaments will not be on the USTA national schedule, which obviates the concerns many had about ‘point-chasing’. At the same time, these tournaments will count for Tennis Recruiting rankings, and so there are rewards for players to compete in them.”

Tournaments in the National Showcase are “open” tournaments. Entries for these tournaments will be open to all USTA players, regardless of residence. The bulk of these tournaments are scheduled during the summer or on long holiday weekends to accommodate travel and reduce missed school days.  Players and parents need to look at their section’s 2013 tournament schedule to find out the level of those Showcase events held within their section. In the Southern section, for example, some of the Showcases are Southern Level 3s and some are Southern Level 4s, and USTA ranking points will be awarded accordingly.

I asked TRN’s founder, Julie Wrege, why they decided to get USTA sanctioning for the Showcases.  She told me that a USTA sanction insures that the rules of tennis will be followed, certified officials will be used at the tournament, scheduling will be done according to the rules, and results will be published on TennisLink.  I expressed my concern that USTA would see the Showcases as filling in the gap left by the elimination of several national events and use them to justify the 2013 and 2014 changes.  Julie feels that the Showcases will not take the place of anything that is proposed or is going on now.  These tournaments carry no USTA points at the national level – and only at the section level if sanctioned by a section – and only at a district level if sanctioned by a district.  She went on to say that the sections need to have a lot more sectional play – and these few events scattered across the country will not fill that gap.

It is important to note:

  • All events in a National Showcase tournaments will count for Tennis Recruiting national rankings.
  • A player who competes in one of these events and has a win – in the main draw or a consolation event – will become a Tennis Recruiting National Player.
  • Entry into these events is open to all USTA players, regardless of residence.
  • Acceptance will start with the USTA National Rankings – followed by the USTA sectional and district rankings.

Here is the current schedule of National Showcase tournaments. Several more tournaments will be added to this 2013 schedule as their USTA sanctions are finalized:

StartsTournamentEventsContact
12/26COSTA MESA OPEN CLASSIC
Costa Mesa, CA
BG18H. Lloyd
3/30GEORGIA/ALABAMA OPEN
Dothan, AL
BG18-16D. Bryan
3/30GEORGIA/ALABAMA OPEN
Bainbridge, GA
BG14-12T. Thompson
4/06BLUEGRASS SPRING JR. OPEN
Louisville, KY
BG18-12C. Mather
4/26OJAI JR. TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Ojai, CA
G18, BG16-14C. Fugle
5/25NORTH GEORGIA OPEN
Rome, GA
BG18-12R. Sasseville
6/25NEWPORT NEWS OPEN
Newport News, VA
BG18-12S. Dearth
6/24LA JOLLA JR. CHAMPIONSHIPS
La Jolla, CA
BG18-12B. Davis
6/29JACKSONVILLE OPEN
Jacksonville, FL
BG18-12R. Jenks
7/01WILBUR FOLSON MEMORIAL OPEN
San Diego, CA
BG18-12A. Podney
7/13GEORGIA JUNIOR OPEN
Rome, GA
BG18-12R. Sasseville
7/15COSTA MESA SUMMER CLASSIC
Costa Mesa, CA
BG18-12H. Lloyd
8/03HUDLOW JR. OPEN
Norcross, GA
BG18-14C. Chapin
8/04SANTA CLARA BRONCO OPEN
Santa Clara, CA
BG18-16J. Scalese
8/11SANTA CLARA BRONCO OPEN
Santa Clara, CA
BG14-12J. Scalese
8/16ST. LOUIS JR. SUMMER OPEN
St. Louis, MO
BG18-12J. Dippold
9/21BLUEGRASS FALL JR. OPEN
Louisville, KY
BG18-12C. Mather
9/28ST. LOUIS JR. FALL OPEN
St. Louis, MO
B18-12J. Dippold
11/22ATLANTA THANKSGIVING OPEN
Norcross, GA
BG18-16C. Chapin
11/22ATLANTA THANKSGIVING OPEN
Norcross, GA
BG14-12T. Berne
11/29WESTERN STATES JR. OPEN
Tucson, AZ
BG18-12M. Houk

Again, according to Dallas Oliver, “We are excited to have 20 tournaments on the schedule so far, and we are reasonably pleased with how they are spread around the country. There are clearly some areas – like New England and the mid-Atlantic region – where we need to do better. Hopefully players and parents can talk to their favorite tournament directors about running a National Showcase tournament – we would love to hear from them!”

As you can see above, the first Showcase Tournament is the Costa Mesa Open – an 18s event that takes place the week before New Year’s in Costa Mesa, Calif. If you are interested in that one, register now at their tournament page on TennisLink or contact Hank Lloyd at hltcm@sbcglobal.net. But hurry – entries close next Thursday, December 20!  For TRN’s FAQ on the National Showcase Series, click here.

One last note from the folks at TRN: “At the end of the day, we feel that the more choices there are, the better. These National Showcase tournaments should provide more of these choices without interfering with the goals that the USTA has put forward for earned advancement.”

48 Comments on “TRN’s National Showcase Series”

  1. Note: The Newport News Open tentatively has been moved back three days to June 25, to avoid conflicting with big events in the USTA Mid-Atlantic and USTA Southern. We hope to get lots of players from both sections and others
    .

  2. Love it. One stop tourney for 14s and 12s, and we can pick close tourneys.if USTA really wanted to have folks save money, well there is your template..it’s called choice.

    Not some freaky paranoia that most people are whizzing around the country chasing points

    1. Joe, these events are being offered up to provide more CHOICE for tennis families. As noted in the article, a majority of the events are held over long holiday weekends or during the summer with the intended goal of limited missed school days. If they don’t work for your family, don’t participate. However, please note that players DO get USTA ranking points for those events played within their own section – your comment is incorrect on that point.

  3. Please note. The USTA Recognition is not the end point. My kids train to play. They also look at TRN as their gold standard. I think a little competition with the USTA may open their ears up a bit. Monopolies have never worked well for the masses.

  4. Choices are for those who can afford it. Honest difference of opinion here. Where we factually disagree is that these points counts at the sectional level. For your statement to be true every individual sections(17?) would have to have signed on to this. Do you know this for sure?

    1. Joe, you can see the list of events above – no, not all 17 sections have an event scheduled as of now. However, TRN is reaching out to ALL sections in hopes of being able to offer these tournaments to juniors across the country. But, the points earned at these events DO count at the sectional level IF the player resides in that particular section – you can disagree with me on that but the facts support my statement.

      I have to ask you, Joe, in your ideal world, what would the junior tournament structure look like? Please be specific in your answer.

  5. Joe. It is MORE economically feasible for us to play outside of our section. With USTA we have NO choice. And if you look at the regions it just becomes an absurd argument if you are talking economics.

    As i have posted before. Please prove me wrong

  6. Your statement might be true for the limited number of sections holding these tournaments. Then again it might not be true. You would need to contact the sectional staff reps in each section. Your other question about tournament structure is a great one. Antonio probably has this one correct.

    1. Joe, again, there is no true or untrue about the sectional ranking points awarded – these events are sanctioned by USTA at the sectional/district level and will award ranking points accordingly. And, I am very aware of Antonio’s opinion regarding tournament structure – I’m asking about yours since you seem wary of what TRN is offering. What would YOU like to see the structure look like?

    2. From the chart above, it appears that 6 out of the 17 sections have committed to holding the TRN events (unless I’m identifying locations/sections incorrectly, which is entirely possible!). Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  7. Joe. You have strong opinions about how mandated sectional and regional play will save money. I am asking you point blank to show me how this works in the real world.

    Maybe I’m getting something wrong and would appreciate the help. I have 3 kids in 3 different age divisions. Please show me how this makes sense.

    I will take no response to mean you don’t know what you’re talking about. We in the trenches spend a ton of time trying to make this work.

  8. For Lisa: You must understand the difference between a USTA sanctioned tournament and a tournament that the sections junior comp will count at the sectional level. Bill Ozaki can explain this to you. To get this wrong can lead to some upset parents. Be careful not to simply copy TRN talking points. Just trying to help.

    1. Joe, I have only looked at Southern’s tournament schedule, and it shows that the TRN events will either count as Southern Level 3 tourneys or Southern Level 4 tourneys. I can’t speak for the other sections at this point. If anyone has more info, please share!

  9. All —

    This series of tournaments have some of the best Tournament Directors in the nation offering tournaments with multiple age divisions at one location — so families can travel together to a fun event.

    Each tournament is USTA sanctioned and the exact level of points awarded in the home district or section varies, so you should contact the individual TD if playing in your section to determine what USTA section of district points would be awarded. A link is provided to each TD’s name in the chart in the announcement article.

    Note that some of the locations are close to neighboring sections — Dothan and Bainbridge (next to Florida), Jacksonville (next to Southern), Louisville (next to Midwest), St. Louis (next to Midwest). Therefore play in these events is designed to allow juniors to see how they are progressing against competition that they don’t see everyday in their home district.

    Julie Wrege
    TennisRecruiting.net

  10. I think what is being said is that tournaments count at the sectional level if the sections junior comp committees choose to count them. You should check directly with your sections. I think there is consensus that they do not count at the national level for the USTA..

  11. From one Julie (me at HIGH-TECH TENNIS) to another Julie (Wrege at TRN), the TRN National Showcase Series seems the perfect solution: It LETS THE PLAYERS PLAY and it lets the parents choose WHERE THE PLAYERS PLAY! Brilliant way to identify the void left by the USTA and to step UP for junior tennis players!!! We’re excited that we’ve added four TRN events to our 2013 calendar – hope we can add more! 🙂 We’re determined to do what we can to make this series as successful as can be! PROPS TO OUR FRIENDS AT TRN!!

  12. Joe –

    I’m sorry that you feel this is creating more complexity and forcing more travel. Let me try a different tack.

    If all you care about is the USTA process, then these tournaments mean little to you. These are just tournaments that happen to be open to all players nationally.

    If you care about your Tennis Recruiting ranking, then you STILL don’t have to care too much about these. Tennis Recruiting rankings are head-to-head, so there is no such thing as point chasing. You can play in any tournaments that count for Tennis Recruiting rankings.

    The existence of these National Showcases provides kids with the opportunity to play outside their sections – but there is no benefit to your ranking to playing these tournaments per se the way there was with USTA points chasing.

    So… why should anyone care about these – and what’s in it for Tennis Recruiting? Comments…

    (1) We believe that choice is always a good thing.

    (2) The benefits are not just for the wealthy, People who live near Newport News, Virginia and choose to play in a National Showcase derive the benefits of others traveling to play in their own back yard. We would guess that 80-90% of the entrants will come from the home section.

    (3) The existence of cross-play between sections will provide lots more data for better national rankings. Tennis Recruiting will be able to make use of that – and our rankings should be better than ever.

    (4) Greater cross play will allow for more tournaments at the sectional level to be included in our national rankings. So kids are encouraged to play in these tournaments so that more of their tournaments will count.

    At the end of the day, this is not a “competing” tour to the USTA. We have no interest in that. The way I see it is that some tournaments that already exist within the USTA framework will get an extra designation as a National Showcase. And some tournament directors are now inspired to provide more opportunities for players that otherwise would not have existed.

    I hope this helps.

    Best regards,
    Dallas Oliver
    dallas@tennisrecruiting.net

  13. From one Julie (me at HIGH-TECH TENNIS) to another Julie (Wrege at Tennis Recruiting), the National Showcase Series seems like a brilliant solution!! We FULLY support this (already have four TRN Natl Showcase Series events on our 2013 calendar–hoping to add more!) and HUGE props to our friends at Tennis Recruiting for 1) recognizing the players that would be left behind by the USTA and 2) stepping UP on behalf of those players by offering them a CHOICE. Let the PLAYERS PLAY and let the parents decide WHERE THE PLAYERS PLAY?! This brilliant solution has our full support! 🙂

  14. Joe Joe where are you.no answers? You must be part of USTA blather. PR machine.

    How about this. Stop trying to make it work. It doesn’t play out in real life.

    The fact that the USTA can’t produce a champion shouldnt affect the absolute vast majority of junior players.

    My kid has NEVER lost to a PD player. She will get into a great college and have great education. She plays maybe10 hours per week. Studies about double that. They are all going to end up in the same place..which is college tennis..

    Joe..so sure of yourself…answer

  15. Joe:

    The levels on these USTA sanctioned tournaments vary from site to site. As examples,

    • The GA/AL Open is a STA L4 and AL L2.
    • The Ojai is a USTA Southern California L2B; the G18 doubles in the Ojai count for USTA National Rankings at L5.
    • The Jacksonville tournament will a USTA Florida L7 (Local) so that players from other sections can enter.
    • The Georgia Jr. Open in July is a USTA Southern L3, so Southern points are awarded for Southern players who participate; it is also a Georgia L2 for the players from Georgia.

    The best advice would be for anyone interested to contact the tournament director of the event you wish to investigate and ask for the sanctioning level of this event at the USTA district or section level.

    Julie Wrege
    TennisRecruiting.net

  16. Where oh where did little Joe go.
    USTA troll. Please stop giving us more reasons to loathe you.

    Love TRN response. They respond .you don’t. Your little world is shrinking. You are making your selves obsolete.

    Don’t you get it????? Nobody wants these changes.stop defending. Recommended committee changes you had no part of

    Upside. The absolute and disgust with USTA has united a group of people usually at odds.I have not met a single parent, save for one( who’s kid is in PD program since he was 12 and is doing poorly, and probably likes the increase in wc deal).

  17. Just had a though brought up by my daughter. Her TRN rating can only go down if we must play in section or region. She hS nothing to gain. TRN is her gold standard. Ther is nobody ahead of her in section or region.

    Not to be paranoid, but surely the USTA is aware of this

  18. I guess I could understand someone’s frustration if they felt like they HAD to travel and pay money to go to these tournaments, but there seems to be NO penalty for not going. Zero. Many of the people who choose to travel and play in these events may get no USTA points. And as far as TRN’s head-to-head system is concerned, playing a tournament and racking up wins in your back yard is just as good as playing a tournament and racking up wins across the country.

    It sounds like Joe is upset just because some people who can afford it and want to travel will have that choice available. I guess Joe’s glass is half empty.

  19. Yes but if you are at top of the TRN list and nobody in your section or region is higher, you are handcuffed by USTA rules. You can only lose. Nothing to gain re TRN ladder and having to stay in section and region.

    The head ofnthenUSTa was an attorney. I’m sure every loop hole was looked at, not the best interest of every family.

    1. To be fair, Tmom, the situation you describe is one of the downsides of a head-to-head system. You can always go pick up more points with no penalty for losing in a points system.

  20. True. But if we could go out of section or region would have options. Which we don’t under new proposed rules. Not chasing points, honestly just easier and for the 1 kid makes more sense.

    Actually chasing competition.

  21. Just reread proposed 2014 changes because I thought I was getting a little aggressive with my posts.

    Nope. Joe/USTSA never responded

    Spending a fortune to go to two separate nationals.

    Why dontnthey have deals with airlines? To change tickets it’s fortune. If USTA talking about saving money…and meaning it…..for petes sake do it. These guys think they are geniuses . Well do it. And I’m mean you all are all guys….

  22. Dallas or Julie, I don’t understand how your new showcase is different that what exists now? These are all established sectional tournaments and have always been open to players outside the section? And TRN has historically used the results from these events in their ranking process (for example the Ojai event last spring). And aren’t the vast majority of ranked TRN players considered ‘National Players’? Not saying I am for or against the new series, I just don’t understand what is new about it? Thanks

    1. This is just a guess, but perhaps the fear is that tournaments like these would die out under the proposed changes? Sounds like they want to keep them around to ensure that their rankings remain meaningful across geographic lines. Not such a big deal in 2013, but could be in 2014.

  23. Steve —

    You are correct that the Ojai and the Georgia Junior Open are established events that have been held for many years. But many parents and players don’t realize that these are “open” events where any US player may enter and be accepted if ranked high enough.

    But many tournaments with the name “Open” in them are not truly “open.” Take, for example, a tournament held last April in Rome, GA — the Georgia Spring Open. It was a USTA Southern Level 3; two 5-star players entered from PA and were not admitted because the Southern regulations dictate that if enough Southern players apply for entry, they get precedence. Many sections have similar limiting regulations.

    A “national player” on TRN is one who has participated in a USTA National tournament or in one of the sectional tournaments that count for USTA national rankings. Therefore most players in the TRN rankings are NOT national players.

    Finally, it seems that many tournaments are having limited age divisions at one time or place. Most of the Showcase series will hopefully have multiple age divisions where families can attend, like the old USTA L3s: the Copper Bowl, the Peach State, the Gator Bowl, the St. Louis Gateway — which no longer exist.

    Best,
    Julie Wrege

  24. Well put Julie – Hopefully the USTA will see that this is the direction they need to go in – increasing instead of limiting opportunities and sanctioning multi-age group tournaments with inclusive draws – #bringbackthecopperbowl!!!

  25. Hi Julie, thanks for the detailed reply. Still scratching my head a bit at what this means for us, but I wish TRN the best and hope that tournament directors will work with you to make better tournaments.

    Any plans for an International Showcase? Would love to have TRN identifying mini-tours in Europe, South America, Asia, etc.

    Steve

  26. These showcase tournaments make sense because it gives more choice and is to be commended. Strategically if this is about rankings and showcasing ourselves to college coaches and others we need players better than ourselves in ranking terms to show up. Otherwise tough to move up and impress. Points Per Round has many problems but one of its oddities is that opponents don’t matter. That cuts both ways I guess.

  27. Good. Because that’s where most of us sit.

    Look at any sport. There are limitations based on many things. Ever seen a female 6 foot 2 gymnast?. How about a national equestrian rider without very wealthy parents or considerable private backing? A 5 foot 6 inch professional quarterback in the NFL?

    Perhaps these whiney parents/coaches should just shut their collective mouths and not mandate/ support changes which affect a very few.

    1. Doug Flutie was about 5’8 and the girl who won all around at the gymnastics came from a family with no means. The Williams sister learned to play tennis in Compton with no private coaching until they moved to FL. MICHAEL JORDAN got cut from his high school basketball team. All great champions have overcome adversity and did what it took to just get better.

      I am sick and tired of you and your loud mouth telling everyone to shut their mouthes. My guess is that your kids are 15-20 in Midwest and won’t get this free pass anymore. Teach your kids about values, and that starts with hard work. Overcome adversity and they will be better people.

  28. Again. All about choice. We don’t do horse back riding because we can’t afford it. We can barelybafford tennis, and with these new “cost saving measures” proposed by USTA we can barely afford tennis.

  29. Whoa whoa. Tmom 2 your guess way off base. Actually 1 kid ranked top 5midwest top 10national. We get no free passes. We are trying our best.

    Girl from gymnastics was helped a lot. And she barely made it. She was not 6 foot 2. Doug flutie was not 5 foot 6. We arevdoing what we can, based on what we think we can handle, not lokoking for handouts. Other wise my kids would be equestrians like there cousins.

    My kids are great kids and if you want ot bring up values I wound include the williams innthe samre breath

  30. Some conclusions after attending the last listening meeting.
    1. It appears clear that the idea of qualifying through the sections is going to stay for the supernats. If you cannot win in your section you most probably are not going to supernats. For those who think they can change this, my opinion is alot of personal disappointment. Just reporting what I hear between the lines.
    2. TRN showcase tournaments at least theoretically can help sectionally if this gives opportunity to boost your sectional rankings and make quota. It certainly does not help with the USTA national rankings list for regional tournaments and the possible creation of qualifiers. It might help with college coaches who follow TRN rankings but you would need a bunch of high ranked players to beat to make this happen. Does not seem likely.
    3. Qualifiers for the supernats are where the changes are likely to occur. For those who simply don’t like or are unable to qualify for supernats through the sections this is a backdoor. You will need a high enough USTA national ranking to access this however which means USTA regional play and not TRN showcase tournaments from strictly speaking a strategy point of view.

  31. I think this is a very good idea. TRN is on to someting good. I hope we can have a good rival to the USTA tournament system. Competition is good for everyone. This may be a catalyst for meaningful change…especially since college coaches use TRN as a recruiting tool hence they are respected by coaches and thus the USTA should take notice. The only thing I fear is that the USTA will try to acquire these tournaments if they are successful. This would be a bad thing because it would take away the latitude needed to adjust and evolve with the game. I believe we need a rival tournament system for the 10 and unders as well. The USTA doesn’t know what they are doing with that either.

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