1. First TEAM events "especially for Girls" are very important to their development. It allows the natural Social development as part of sport to occur. It helps them feel a part of something and provides a forum that also provides competition. As they get older this changes some, but is very important. Also I can tell you at least 3 Jr Grand Slam finalist boys also played ZONALs when they were young. I remember one telling me how much "FUN" it was. We did the Mobil Team event and many of the competitors were positioning themselves so they could make their sections ZONAL team, so its importance to some is evident. That said some parents scoff @ ZONALs, almost a week long, cost travel etc....They are missing the boat, and I've seen several kids that could have benefited from a TEAM event. Where a GAME/SET can make the difference if your "TEAM" wins or losses. Invaluable!!! That said we attended the event in Sumter SC, we also participated last year (WON) and could go again next year to Sumter. We will not go back. The facility and staff @ Sumter are TOP NOTCH, but the town is not equipped to handle an event like this 4th of July weekend. Event was good or better than last years, but last year wasn't 4th of July weekend! 14s Was @ Arlington and when you add in Six Flags and various area attractions, its a very different event. They used more than one facility and having spoke to the parents this wasn't an issue since most have cars or rentals anyway. So we will hopefully make the event in Arlington 14s Cost: ZONALs has a base price and the rest is set by your section so $253 is a bit steep but not very section paid that Florida $210, Mid Atlantic $108, Caribbean (probably free). 6 teams of SOUTHERN with 12 kids a team = ~$18,000....We noticed that last year and remember your sections pay for the coaches hospitality! My daughters experience was nice, considering they tore it up last year she got to see what it was like to be a leader of a weaker team and she is better for it Both experiences were NICE and the kids enjoyed it. Last year we drove, this year we flew in. They were able to go to Charleston for a day trip so we made the most of it. The Tennis was not Level 2 BUT the TEAM aspect makes up for it. Consider our State Championship (Level 3) 2nd week June, then ZONALs first week july, then Clay Courts 3rd week, 2 more weeks than Hard Courts. All week long events with travel that is a tough schedule. We dumped the hard Courts but that is too much for 12s so without a schedule change I'm assuming next year at least for Florida kids the applicants will not be as strong. I would rate the Mobil Team event #1, and ZONALs a distant second, BUT would do them both if I could afford the Time/$$$ at least once. If I had to dump one with it happening 4th July weekend it would be ZONALs.

  2. Seminole, with all due respect, playing zonals has no correlation to being a Jr. Grand Slam finalist. The vast majority of them never played zonals. Its very expensive and there are tons of other ways to develop great players. I always cringe at the vast amounts of money spent on tennis. Play local, have a pool and pizza party, develop a small network of nice local kids. Same result socially, a lot less money.

  3. I had 2 girls that did Zonals this year. It was a blast watching my 11 year old rally the team, and my 14 year old, who didn't want to go, said it was the best thing she ever did. She's highly motivated to do other tournaments and recently it enhance her experience at the Midwest level 2 because of her connections to the other players. My 17 loved the experience, when we remembered to put him in(Midwest close date isa about a month prior to the other sections), and really missed the experience this year(well and last year because we missed closing date, but he started doing them as a 10 year old...his favorite tournament experience on the fun side. It's a long week for parents, but at least you know how long you're going to be there, and they get to play doubles and mixed doubles. We've gotten a lot of mileage from zonals. The kids are motivated to play and do well so they can qualify and do it next year. More fun than team cup, also fun, but a bit more pressure.

  4. Jim - K with all due respect you poo poo every thing that cost time and $$$. Yes ZONAls is expensive, so was the Spring Team Nationals. Yes many players never play ZONALs or any team event. BUT BUT BUT SOME DO! That every cross your mind? Travel Hockey, Team Cheer, Travel Soccer -----They all cost TIME/$$$ and IF you are going to spend money on a SPORT and you choose Junior Tennis then ZONALs/Spring Team Nationals is a pretty good investment. NO it is not the SAME result locally. I've got ~20 or so GIRLS/BOYS yes we have play dates and they have a BLAST, Had one before a Level 3 Doubles great training and great results, BUT they don't come close to a TEAM event in which: ***** EVERY GAME/SET/MATCH ***** Means SOMETHING! Its Just different, and you can't know that because you haven't been a part of it. My comment about Jr Slam participants expressing their FUN in participating in ZONALs was to express that was the ONLY event THEY mentioned was FUN! They mentioned it was a blast and I'm guessing some kids on the Fringe of stopping tennis might have liked the TEAM aspect enough to play in college.

  5. Jim K. The kids love zonals. There is no comparison to a pizza pool party! They are representing their section/state. As MasterCard might say - priceless!! Money well spent.

  6. For all the complaining about the new national schedule and the USTA nobody ever complains about Zonals - kids love it.

  7. My child - soon to be leaving for college - played zonals in the 12's, 14's and 16's. We planned our summers around this event. It was more important to him than any other summer tournament. He had more fun, found future doubles partners, made lasting friendships from adversaries and got to know female players. He said zonals always reminded him that this was a game and was meant to be fun. The other event that he said was great was the Junior World Team Tennis.

  8. KC was accompanied to Zonals in Tucson with his mother. He seemed to have an awesome time. His coaches have wanted him to be a member ever since they started to work with him. NorCal sent three teams. I did not attend. All the reports I received were that the kids had a great time and that comraderie was very good. Southern California normally dominate and in some ways this year was no different however KC team did place third. you don't seem were very proud because it was the best showing in two decades.

  9. My son played in Zonals for the first time this year (12U) and had, in his words, the "best tennis tournament" experience of his young junior career so far. He's very social and loved the team aspect of the event - from practices and on court cheering sections to off court events and hanging out at the pool. From a tennis perspective, it was a great learning experience for him to meet and play with some of the top players in the country and he's formed friendships with his teammates that is paying off back at home in the form of regular practice matches. Since he doesn't have a sister playing, one unexpected benefit was meeting many of the top girls, playing some mixed doubles, and widening our tennis circle. Yes, it's expensive, and we actually had to forego a week of tennis camp to afford it. But with a great experience in the books, I can say it was worth it.

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