More excerpts from the Wayne Bryan Letter regarding the USTA‘s 10 and Under tennis mandate. If you saw the previous post – link below at the end of this article – you know it started with “Dear Anonymous USTA Exec,” Here is part 3 in this series and part 2 of the Wayne Bryan letter.
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6) QS is a tool, not a program. Most every top teaching pro I know believes in graduated learning. Works for not only tennis, butdrums, piano, surfing, dancing, speaking – – – all kinds of worthwhile endeavors. Mandating that every tournament for 10s in the US has to be with a green ball is over the top authoritarian and heavy handed and is even seen by many as mean spirited. Why oh why not a dual approach, as JP Weber of Georgia has suggested? Have all the U6 and U8 and U10 tournaments that you want and use all kind of colored and soft and even Nerf balls if you want, just don’t eliminate regular tennis for 10s!! Let kids and parents and coaches decide. This is American for crying out loud – – – let the market place decide. In a typical junior tournament you have some 20 divisions for boys and girls in the 10s, 12, 14s, 16, 18s and singles and doubles. Having some soft ball events in addition would add maybe two to four to six more divisions. If after a year or two no one enters regular 10s tennis, then you don’t need to offer it on the entry blank anymore. If they don’t play the U6 or U10 red or orange or green ball tournament, you could eliminate that after a year or two.
7) Let’s get some empirical data going. Right now there is not one pro player on the ATP or WTA that grew up playing competitive tennis with green balls in the U10s and the last time I looked there were some pretty dadgum good players out there. (Author’s Note: We ran a video on this blog from the LTA – Lawn Tennis Association – Great Britain’s tennis governing body where Greg Rudsedski talks about Tommy Haas growing up using the Quick Start system. Rudsedski is the British Junior Davis Cup captain and formerly #4 in the world.)
There are “bribes” and “threats” being used to sell this QS and the Mandate in. I have lots of anecdotal evidence of this and put your ear to the ground and you will hear all about it. If the Mandate is so great, why do you have to resort to that?!! So many coaches and parents are afraid to speak out against it. The pros in the South have formed a regular 10s tennis circuit and it has gone very well with a good amount of entries. The green ball tourneys have been small. Now the local USTA staffers are calling the various parents and kids telling them not to play or x, y, z will happen.
Wayne Bryan went on to discus a variety of issues in addition to Quick Start. I will be addressing them in future posts. There will be one more article in this series (unless there are new developments).
Here is the link to the entire letter: