Junior Tournaments & Rankings

Comments on “How Will You Handle Things in 2014?”

The comments below on yesterday’s article about managing the 2014 calendar appeared on various Facebook pages/groups that I follow. I wanted to share them because they contain valuable information and some good things to consider.

  • Roy Coopersmith: don’t waste time playing jrs
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: for those who don’t have the talent, opportunity, and/or resources to skip juniors and train directly for the pro tour, though, they need a pathway. how do they create one under this new calendar???
  • Roy Coopersmith: hope and pray basically or have 2d passport?
  • Patrick Barbanes: Lisa, this calender or that calendar, what IS the desired goal of the junior in tournament competing? Seriously curious. I’m supposing there are many possible goals: highest ranking, widest range of opponents (is that one?), eligibility for certain tourneys (but does that relate to ranking), exposure to coaches/colleges….
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: exactly, patrick! not every junior player has the same goal. some are striving for ranking, others to play on their high school team, others to play high-level college tennis, a select few to play professionally. so, you have to look at the calendar, look at your goal, and figure out the best way to get there. i’m just wondering how the coaches here are guiding their players under this new layout . . .
  • Patrick Barbanes: Maddie competes currently just for the fun and intensity that come as part of a tournament versus just ad hoc match play. The quest for the trophy, the thrill of victory the agony of defeat… ‘Course, as you know, she’s only 10.
  • Martyn Collins: Patrick is close to nailing it. At minimum if the various calendars among the sections do not make you ask the questions Patrick raises no particular calendar can be a pathway, you are just playing the matches and hoping for the best.
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: and i suspect her reasons for competing might change as she develops and gets older. so, you have to stay on top of how the calendar is structured to provide her the best opportunity for success, no matter her goal.
  • Roy Coopersmith: cant change it so bottom line is enter the appropriate level you think your kid belongs and hope for the best
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: but, roy, depending on the kid’s ranking, you don’t just get to enter any level tourney you want.
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: and, now, you have to go through your section in order to play nat’l events.
  • Roy Coopersmith: agree so u have to pick chose and hope can’t change it so have to go with appropriate entry allowed
  • Roy Coopersmith: why i don’t see any benefit once someone is good enough or old enough to not play USTA
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: so, based on a kid’s goals and abilities, how would you pick and choose?
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: if a kid wants to attend regular school, USTA jr events are pretty much their only option during the school year.
  • Roy Coopersmith: can still play what u need but must be creative
  • Martyn Collins: as I with my orange ball 8 year old daughter. Her practices will be 10x more intense than her foray into competition this year. The matches are the reward. Different case with the competitive 11 year old. Hard look at that calendar, schedule periodization training, new doubles partner, allow him to set ranking goals, keep teaching.
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: roy, what does that creativity look like specifically?
  • Roy Coopersmith: heck lisa i really can’t describe unless i am in that persons situation and i can show them how i would do it i guess honestly
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: so, put yourself in my shoes for a sec. my son is a junior in high school, age 17, wants to play high-level D1 college tennis (and wants to actually get to PLAY, not just say he’s on the team!).he goes to public school, so ITFs are limited for us. what’s our plan???
  • Martyn Collins: This calendar assumes that when you are 13 years old you have trained and are ready for all out blood thirsty competition. At which point you will win most of your matches or be an unfortunate. Unfortunates will not play any prestigious or big events. This is what the calendar means to me if I bifurcate it between 12 and under (pathway to competition) and 13 and up (competition and competition with honors).
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: interesting interpretation, marty. can’t say i disagree, lol!
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: but the number of unfortunates vs. competitors varies section to section . . .
  • Martyn Collins: Think of the varying like the House of Representatives delegations, just proportional.
  • Tuan Nguyen: Hi why shouldn’t the USTA tournament system be a meritocracy? This is how ITF tournaments are set up – if you are not good enough, you will never play the grade 1s and the jr slams. The 2014 changes will bring the best players together for competition and will weed out the “unfortunates”
  • Martyn Collins: Lisa, he needs to regularly beat the Top 3 seeds where ever he plays starting now. This is the only pathway I see to the goals you have elucidated. That is my hard truth versus any soft lie that I would not tell you.
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: oh, i know, marty, for sure. but which tournaments does he play and how often and what about mixing in ITFs and Futures events when he can?
  • Martyn Collins: This year? Forget ITF and futures, start shooting and leaving bodies locally NOW! If accomplished, then hunt for something else.
  • Tuan Nguyen: Lisa- I have a daughter on a full ride scholarship. What is important to D1 coaches is that the player can compete and play proper tennis in tournament matches. If my daughter is 17 and time is short, I will contact the schools that she want and let the coaches see her play in real tournaments matches. I probably will put her in the highest level USTA tournaments that she is qualify to play so she can face the toughest competition given her current level.
  • Roy Coopersmith: I agree with Tuan. number one thing is too many people, parents and kids are caught up thinking they have to play tournaments. tournament r secondary to training and the l quality of the game. if it’s for college the coaches will see their game. it’s not about how many stars or blue-chip or ranking. a coach is smart enough to know what type player (or nationality)they need. if you’re going to be Pro train train train- junior tournaments are going to waste your time and money. Pick and chose a right quality of tourneys. I won’t argue with anyone about it because i know better from my wife from Niki and from making others
  • Don Petrine: 1/250,000 kids makes it to top 100 atp/wta. Tournaments are also a positive life experience or can/should be for kids. Many of us on this site are still friends decades later because we played tournaments and competed against each other. If you are sure your kid will make it then no need for a plan b. Tournaments vs no tournaments is like school or home school. It may be good for a select few but most kids should go to school. Most kids should play tournaments. For some it may seem like a waste of time but for most people tournaments are good training and a valuable life experience.
  • Roy Coopersmith: When Usta reduces draws, cuts tournaments what would you suggest don?
  • Bunny Bruning: how do I get the kids to be seen by the college coaches
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: video is certainly one way, bunny . . .
  • Roy Coopersmith: Video is like a business card
  • Bunny Bruning: I would rather they see them in tournaments for a few games
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: for sure, that’s preferred, but it doesn’t always work out for the kid to play the tourney the coach is attending or vice-versa. that said, having the kid email the coach to let him/her know his/her upcoming schedule is a great way to start the ball rolling.
  • Martyn Collins: You can play tourneys. See winners and unfortunate comment. You could go Coopersmith route and prove it when you do compete or you can gamble – train a lot and bank on winning when you do play USTA and if you play USTA this way your TRN SOS better be off the charts if you want D1 to pay attention to the results.
  • Roy Coopersmith: martyn, you are right there man, you are definitely finding the ways and there are several to find and it all comes down to couple things like pocketbook, skill, how much travel you feel is needed or wanted, you got it for sure
  • Roy Coopersmith: in usta it is always same kids cuz others cant break in and my philosophy is to break out not break in
  • Don Petrine: A kid is not going to get a scholarship based on a video. Perhaps get on a coaches preferred admissions list at an elite academic school. Coaches want to know how a junior competes not just if they have a great looking game. Good college coaches track a juniors career from as early as second yr 14s to see how they compete with their peers. Whether they are gaining or losing motivation as they navigate the treacherous waters of junior competition. Is a kid on the rise or burning out? A cursory look or interview will not always answer these questions. Hense a body of competitive history helps.
  • Roy Coopersmith: too easy to edit videos
  • Martyn Collins: Billy Martin told me point blank he is only recruiting among the Top 5 or 10 kids in the nation each year. i assume every D1 has similar criteria that filters down no more than Top 90.
  • Martyn Collins: Find a kid outside top 90 with full ride at D1. More and more I am convinced they do not exist. All those kids making commitments on TRN are paying.
  • Karl Rosenstock: I will say the opportunities for girls to play college team tennis are much greater than for boys, Title IX and all…
  • Lisa Goodman Stone: it’s tough to find any kids with a full ride these days, especially on the men’s side . . . sad but true!
  • Roy Coopersmith: better question is when do jrs. start foregoing too much education in lieu of enough court time, fitness time, weight training time, mental training time, conditioning time oh and tournaments as well?
  • Martyn Collins: 7th or 8th grade. Plan is to stay public but get PE credit for additional academic elective. Explore independent study depending on circumstances starting in 9th grade. Starting to see top NorCal 12s opting for home school.
  • Robert Hubbard: Marty’s assumption is a bit flawed because of so many variables that are overlooked……..UCLA can approach it that way because…they can. Mid majors have to exhaust all avenues looking under every rock (so to speak) for diamonds in the rough, kids flying under the radar. and of course the inevitable international pool since the “top American kids” can be difficult to recruit………majors, mid majors, fully funded programs, not fully funded, operational budgets play into these decisions
  • Martyn Collins: we have a kid (son of a Top 6 player) who will probably get a long look, even though he is a late bloomer by choice.
  • Sol Schwartz: That is where some of these kids will lose out by limiting exposure at the larger national events. We would all agree that what you can witness in person is a lot different than what you can learn on video. Many different intangibles. Now the coaches are left with little choice in the matter. Their budgets will not allow them to go to smaller sectional events to watch a recruit who they otherwise would have seen at one of the larger events. Now the American kids are put on equal footing with the internationals to an extent. Video against video, who looks better? It’s a crap shoot now.
  • Don Petrine: College coaches do not go to Jr tournaments in the US as much as they used to. Kalamazoo, Clays, Org Bowl and occasionally a sectional. Coaches have a much broader international recruiting base. The kids out of the top 50 nationally nust hire a PR specialist and sell themselves.
  • Julie Thiets: oops-here’s one for ya: when we first started our business, one of our customers was #1 B18 in South (I didn’t even know what that meant at the time, lol). He got full-ride to UNC…and sat on the bench, then had several surgeries, not sure he ever played or not much. Now I share that story with players who have delusions of playing D1 tennis but lack a fraction of the skills that our customer had. It comes as a shock to many/most. Just an observation…And when it comes to video, TOTALLY AGREE that videos don’t guarantee scholarships — but if player is NOT top blue chip, 5-star or whatever, they need to promote themselves & get on the coach’s radar…THAT is where a good recruit video is priceless — but also TOTALLY AGREE that most of the videos out there are laughable & embarrassing—aside from ours, of course–LOL

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