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 brother) about what’s happening in the Texas section and what’s coming in Southern and Midwest and NorCal. Later this week, I’ll post the changes coming in Georgia in 2014.
What’s a tennis parent to do???
I think many of us are frustrated and stumped and just plain angry over all these changes – I know I am. I feel like decisions are being made by executives who are so far removed from our World of Junior Tennis that they just plain don’t get it. They still don’t acknowledge how many parents and coaches and players are opposed to what they’re mandating out of White Plains. When asked about how they can still say that the opposition is small, they throw out the fact that only 160 some odd people emailed the LetUsKnow@usta.com address even though almost 4000 joined a Facebook group in opposition and almost 1000 signed a petition to stop the 2014 changes. How do those numbers NOT make you sit up and take notice???
I would love to hear from y’all about how you’re planning to navigate starting in 2014. What changes will you make to your child’s tournament schedule? Will you add more ITF events, more non-sanctioned events, or have them play adult events instead? What’s your plan? I’m still working with my son’s coaches on figuring out the best path for him, but you can be sure I’ll report back once we come up with something concrete.