Red Ball, Green Ball, Orange Ball or None of the Above – Part 1


I have had several articles on this blog supporting the USTA 10 and Under programs.  There are a lot of people who don’t agree with that how that program is being run.  We want to present both sides.  This will be the first article on the 10 and Under tennis program that brings in the words of some of the programs critics.

Before he became part of the USTA organization it was hard to find people who had anything negative to say about Tim Mayotte so you have to really look at what happened.

Tim Mayotte Then

Mayotte resigned as the head of a program in Flushing over what he called “very openly spoken reservations” about the U.S.T.A.’s approach. In a recent interview, he criticized “antiquated coaching methods” that emphasize long hours swatting balls rather than learning technique and movement.

“We started working with 16-year-old kids three years ago,” said Martin Blackman, who heads talent identification and development for the U.S.T.A., a program created to help American players catch up with those in other countries.

For decades, American fans were used to waves of fresh-faced stars, many of them teenagers: Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert in the 1970s; John McEnroe in the ’80s; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Jennifer Capriati in the ’90s; Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters in the 2000s. Most were taught by private coaches.

But that approach no longer seems to be working, especially now that other nations have developed comprehensive programs.

“Without a system, you’re at the mercy of prodigies and private programs,” Blackman said. “The expense of developing a world-class player from age 10 to 20 is astronomical — training, traveling, equipment.”

“American tennis is in the sorriest state it has ever been,” said Tim Mayotte…

Mayotte also said the U.S.T.A. was too insular, opportunistically luring talented players and putting them under the tutelage of inexperienced staff. He favors the approach of the French tennis federation, which identifies and supports independent coaches who do good work.

“I can’t tell you the overall figure,” Blackman said. “Our regional training centers receive anywhere from $8,000 to $100,000 a year depending on the program and players. I don’t know how that compares to programs overseas.”

Kriek Now

Kriek Then

Johan Kriek Tim Mayotte is a good guy, I played with Tim way back on the Team Rossignol and he was part of the USTA Elite training kids in NY most recently and he left that position, not sure under what steps…

Jack Foster THANKS JOHAN, WE TENNIS TEACHING PROS NEED TO DEVELOP PLAYERS NOT THE ELITES FROM THE USTA. WHERE ARE THE KIDS WHO DONT HAVE THE RESOURSES OR FUNDS BUT ARE GREAT ATHLETES GOING TO LEARN THE GAME?

Sources for this article:

New York Times  – Critics See Drop in Talent as U.S.T.A. Grapples With Player Development

Johan Kriek’s Facebook Page

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