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USTA Southern Section’s Parent Town Hall

Last night, I had the opportunity to sit in on a webinar put on by USTA’s Southern Section. The focus of the webinar was the new junior tournament and ranking system and how parents can best use it. The webinar was led by Maria Cercone, Southern’s Director of Junior Tennis & Player Development, and Sofia Donlevy, Southern’s Manager of Serve Tennis & Junior Pathway. They were joined by Adelaide Wood, USTA’s National Manager of Youth Competition. While a bit delayed from my perspective, I was happy to see USTA doing some parent education around what has been a very frustrating launch of its new platform and structure.

The 75-minute presentation (including about 20 minutes of Q&A) began with Maria and Sofia walking us through the tournament search feature on the new platform. While they did a great job, I do feel the video I did with Lew Brewer a few months ago gave a more complete walk-through of how to use the new features (you can see that video here).

Next, Maria talked about the tournament calendar for Southern. My understanding is that each section should have a similar calendar on its website with clickable links to each event’s entry page.

Then it was Sofia’s turn to present. She moved into explaining how to withdraw from a tournament if the need arises and how to confirm your player’s residency using the Family tab. Finally, she talked about the Customer Care portal and other useful links online. You can access those links by clicking on the Jr Tennis tab at the top of this page, then clicking on the 2021 Jr Player Resources tab in the dropdown menu.

The webinar then moved onto some news that many of you have been waiting for: Playtracker is now live! Adelaide Wood announced the NetGeneration Playtracker, the platform for 10-and-under tennis, is finally online. I have been asking for updates on Playtracker for months now and was continually told it would be available “soon”. I’m happy to see it is actually working now so those of you with young players can ensure they are doing what’s necessary to develop their game properly.

Players and parents will now be able to access a limited version of their PlayTracker profile. This will include a breakdown of the player’s current ball color level, as well as their point total and previous ball color levels. The detailed play history, including how points were accumulated, will be available at a later date.

Finally, Maria presented the National Tournament Structure and explained how tournaments are sanctioned at each level and how many of each level tournament are awarded to each section. To see a concise explanation of the various tournament levels as presented in the webinar, click USTA National & Southern Tournament Structure.

Once Maria was done, they opened up the discussion to a Q&A with questions typed into the webinar chat bar. I asked a few questions myself based on concerns many of you have expressed in emails or other messages to me. Any unanswered questions will be addressed directly through subsequent emails from the section as well as in future webinars. I was pleased to hear Maria say they hope to do these parent education webinars on a monthly basis moving forward.

All in all, I felt the webinar was well done and a very good use of my time. If any of you were online for it, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.

You can watch the entire webinar here: Just a heads up: you will be asked to enter your name and email address in order to access the recording.


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