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Friday, February 17, 2012

Wayne Bryan Responds to Patrick McEnroe's letter

Wednesday's response by Patrick McEnroe produced the following rebuttal from Wayne Bryan:



PMc: I admire the passion that Wayne Bryan brings to the sport of tennis. I applaud all that he has done to help his sons, Bob and Mike, become not only an amazing doubles team but genuinely great guys. Coach B: "Very kind to say, Patrick, and thanks so very much. And thanks for all you have done for Mike 'n Bob and our US Davis Cup Team through the years". PMc: Some of my greatest and most memorable experiences in tennis involve the Bryan brothers and all that they’ve done for our Davis Cup team and American tennis. Coach B: "My happiest and proudest moment was the day you and Andy, James, and the Bros. all brought the big and beautiful Davis Cup back to the United States in Portland, Oregon on Dec. 5, 2007. You might even remember my long letter of thanks and congratulations that I wrote to you in the wee wee hours that night."
PMc: That said, I couldn’t disagree more with Mr. Bryan’s opinions on the myriad subjects—including 10 and Under Tennis and USTA Player Development—that he addresses in the “open letter” that has now been prominently featured in several tennis-related blogs. Coach B: "Funny, I regularly correspond and talk by phone and in person to lots of coaches and parents across the country, and I dashed off that e mail to a couple of coaches and it seems to have gone viral and ended up on blogs hither and yon, including this one by Colette Lewis. But I sure stand behind every word I wrote and still do."

PMc: It’s easy—and frankly, it’s long been fashionable—to cast a blanket indictment against the USTA. Coach B: "Well, let me say right here at the top of the show, that it is not at all easy to criticize the USTA! Ask thousands of parents and coaches out there in the real world about their fear of speaking out to the USTA. It is palpable and it is pervasive. You play ball you get this, you don't play ball and there will be negative consequences - - - real or perceived, it is out there." PMc: That’s neither new nor notable. Coach B: "I've been in tennis for a dadgum long time now and I have never heard more negative criticism toward the USTA than I hear right now. This level of criticism is, in fact, new."
PMc: I think all of us at the USTA would agree that a lot of past criticism has been deserved, but Mr. Bryan’s scattershot attack Coach Bryan: "One man's trash is another man's treasure. One's man scattershot attack is another man's focused and concise and positive criticism." PMc: is so full of holes, hearsay, and half-truths that I feel compelled to address it. Coach Bryan: "Ha. Ha. If it is so full of holes and hearsay and half-truths, why did that e mail go ballistic all over the US after I only sent it to a few people? The messages of that e mail resonated. Big time."

PMc: Let me first say that the USTA has a clearly-defined mission—to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The USTA wants more people on more courts in more places; that is our charge as an association. As General Manager of Player Development, my specific charge is to help produce more Top 100 players Coach B: "Right there from Jump Street is where I have my biggest disagreement with you and the USTA. The USTA first mission is right on the nose and is achievable. They should provide a fair and level playing field and great and exicitng programming. That's whatAYSO Soccer does. What Little League Baseball does. The USTA should not be repsonsible for producing the proverbial Top 100 players by coaching. Programming yes, coaching no."

Chris Boyer: "And, I will add one last comment to this thought about the USTA trying to control/be involved with tennis player development: NO OTHER SPORT DOES THIS! AYSO soccer doesn't try to govern how soccer coaches develop in the private sector; Football – NO, Baseball – NO, Basketball – NO. Not even FIFA, which could be considered one of the most powerful sport organizations in the world doesn't get involved in player development – they let the professional soccer clubs develop their own talent from age 4 on up to pro level in each clubs own system."

PMc: with the goal that we have more of them competing into the second week of the majors. Coach B: "Wonderful goal. But best left to the private sector - - - coaching is creative and fast moving and there must be accountability at all times. PMc: "That’s a different responsibility but, in the long run, achieving that goal is at least partly reliant on getting more young people involved in the sport." Coach B: "Bingo. There is where we 100% agree!! More juniors and adults playing the great game would be better for them and better for our country in general - - - for so, so many obvious reasons.
More kids playing and the by product would be more pro players. The broader the base, the taller the pyramid.
I'm all for Patrick McEnroe and all the current USTA PD Staff getting out there and rolling up there sleeves and coaching each and every day. Dawn to dusk. Each day. And on weekends too. And even in the rain. Motivate. Inspire. Take kids to college matches. Pro Matches. Support JTT. Suppport High School Tennis. College Tennis. Help kids with their tournament schedules. Make it Fun. Have energy. Enthusiasm. Creativity. Help youngsters climb the tennis mountain while learning the great lessons of life.
Just don't mandate. Don't tell all the great and good coaches and parents all over the country how they have to do it.
Don't require that all U10s have to play with soft green balls!"
:
PMc: The world has changed—and tennis has changed with it. Coach B: "100% agree." PMc: Our challenges as an association and a sport continue to evolve. Let’s face it, in a rapidly-changing global environment, if we’re not changing and moving forward, we’re essentially going backward. Coach B: "Yes." PMc: Tennis is simply not the same sport that it was 20 years ago—even 10 years ago. 1000% agree. Anyone who was paying attention to the second week of this year’s Australian Open realizes that the bar is being raised as we speak. Tennis is much more of a global sport today, probably the most global Coach B: "100% agree and that is a wonderful thing.", other than soccer.
PMc: It’s true that Americans don’t dominate tennis the way they once did, but the truth is that because of globalization, Americans don’t dominate any sport the way they once did. Coach B: "100% agree." Even sports once considered traditionally “American,” such as baseball and basketball have become much more international. Coach B: "Yes." PMc: Given all of that, if we want to ensure our place at the table, we need to have a strategic vision Coach B: "You can have your strategic vision if you are in the private sector, but when you mandate your strategic vision and it chills the private sector, you are gonna get blow back. And you are." PMc: that encompasses every level of play and player Coach B: "Again, that is a pretty big enchilada to make us all eat." — from beginner to pro. Coach B: "That is chilling to me."

PMc: Tennis has often been criticized for being too expensive and inaccessible. Those criticisms have truth to them; they are challenges that all of us involved in the sport face. And these are specific issues that the 10 and Under Tennis initiative addresses. When Mr. Bryan says that tennis, “grows from Main Street,” and from “solid, fun, dynamic programming,” he’s absolutely right. Coach B: "Ha. Ha. 100% agree, of course." PMc: Tennis is indeed a sport that grows upward from its grass roots, and by making the sport easier for kids to play and enjoy, they’re much more likely to get involved in it and stick to it. Yes. That’s exactly the idea behind 10 and Under Tennis, and for any sport, that’s step one.

In terms of 10-and-under competition, the rule change adopted by the ITF and the USTA has, in fact, opened the door for more kids to get involved in junior competition.
Coach B: "Well, hold on here a second. This is where the rubber hits the road. No one is against graduated learning in sports or music or anything really. I have used it with all my players in tennis, or music for that matter, for a long, long time, but what we are allspecifically against is tearing down regular tennis for 10s. We say, have all the green ball or Nerf ball tournaments you want for U6, U8 or U10, just don't eliminate regular tennis for those that want to play it. Create, don'e eliminate!!"
PMc: Two years ago, fewer than 10,000 kids were involved in tournament play and in the USTA’s Jr. Team Tennis program. Coach B: "I love JTTand it started right here in Ventura County and spread to SoCal, then NorCal, and now it is a national USTA program. Tennis makes a great team sport and lotsa kids like to play on teams!" PMc: Now, that number has risen to more than 32,000. Coach B: "The Mandate did not do that! Right here in SoCal the 10s have dropped off dramatically this year. My pro friends in the South report the same thing." PMc: We’ve still got a long way to go, admittedly. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of our potential. But more kids are trying tennis, and we feel confident that this rule change Coach B: "Again, it is not the ill conceived and harmful Rule Change!" PMc: will open the door for more kids to get involved—and stay involved—in our sport. And that’s a good thing. Coach B: "The USTA approach is muddled between marketing and player development.
Do not confuse QS and graduated learning with the U10s Mandate!"
CiCi Louie: "I think you would find most coaches, pros, and anyone that knows anything about tennis would support your stance on this. At least everyone I know would be supportive."

PMc: The idea that the more-talented or more-accomplished kids are somehow being held back or hampered by the rule changes that include shorter courts, properly-sized racquets and slower-bouncing balls is absurd. Mr. Bryan says he can produce, “all kinds of kids around the country at 8, 9, 10 who can flat out nail the ball.” I’m sure that’s true, and in fact, I’ve seen plenty of them at our Regional Training Centers and our three USTA training centers. But I’m equally sure that there’s not a single sport that makes its rules for the one-half of one percent of the kids who play it. For the kids who truly are that good, they can—and should—do what the best kids in tennis and all sports have been doing for years: play up at the next level. Coach B: "Wow. I and so, so many other coaches in the country 1000% disagree with that assertion right there. Have you spent time coaching 10s, Patrick? I say juniors should never play up unless they are dominating a division and not getting challenged - - - and the absolute worst time to be forced to play up is from the 10s to the 12s!!!" PMc: It’s important to emphasize that this rule change applies only to tournament play for kids 10-and-younger. Coach B: But, my friend, Patrick, that is test tube time. That is Jump Street. That is the most important time in the tennis journey!!

PMc: It’s equally important to note that the ability to “flat-out nail the ball” doesn’t exactly translate into a bright future as a player. Coach B: "Of course, not." PMc: We’ve all seen examples of that time and again. Coach B: Look, let's call a spade a spade, you have a much better chance of getting hit by lightening and killed than ever being in the top 100 on the pro tour. To me, what the USTA Mission should only be about getting more kids playing and deriving the wonderful benefits of this magical sport." PMc: Indeed, by playing with properly-sized equipment and a softer ball that allows for longer rallies, we will be much more likely to develop smarter players who understand how to construct points; not just those who can smash a yellow ball through the back wall. In doing that, we’ll have more players who understand how to compete—and are better-prepared to do so. Coach B: "That is your take and your opinion and that opinion is being rammed down our throats. I and so, so many other coaches respectfully disagree.
Like John Lennon sang, we are only saying 'Give peace a chance.' We say give regular 10s tennis a chance. Run your soft ball tournaments up the flag pole and spend millions upon millions on ads, just let regular tennis continue for U10s. If no juniors enters regular tennis for U10s, discontinue it. Let the market place decide. Let Main Steet, USA, decide. Not White Plains, NY!"

PMc: Jose Higueras, USTA Player Development’s outstanding Director of Coaching, often has said that this country has produced plenty of players who can hit the ball, but far fewer who understand how to play tennis. We believe that the new 10 and Under competitive structure can go a long way to developing smarter players, providing them with a more solid foundation and understanding of the sport, so that by the time they progress to the next level, they’ll be able to do more than “nail” the ball. Coach B: "Have you seen green balls played with in the wind, in the cold, and on clay courts? Have you seen all the drop shotting going on all the time. Have you seen really good junnior players being dumbed down and playing with green balls? Have you worked with players since they were 4 or 5 or 6 and see what they are capable of on the tennis court? Can you imagine how they or their parents or their coaches would feel when they are ready to do well in the 10s when they are 9 or 10 and then they are smacked with this Mandate?"

PMc: That would certainly be a huge help to all of us in Player Development, a group which, despite what Mr. Bryan may believe, work pretty darn hard to provide the most talented young players in this country—and their coaches—with the tools they need to achieve. Coach B: Not about thePD Coaches as individuals. Like and respect them all. Know they work hard. I wish they would come out and do it in the private sector. Know they would do well and coach lotsa players right on up to the top. I am against National Coaching. I could write 10 pages about that. But this e mail is way, way too long already and am sure nobody is still reading. If they are, they are in need of a complete neurological examine. And fast."

PMc: Mr. Bryan likes to point out that the USTA has never developed a Top 10 player. I would ask him, “Who has, from start-to-finish?” Coach B: "Where do you want me to start and stop. I can give lots of examples." PMc: The USTA has, for years, played a vital role Coach B: "Again, this is one of those points where we massively disagree. Rather than "Vital" I would simply insert the world "Small". Do exit interviews with players that the USTA has so called played a "vital role" with. We must be living in a different world." PMc: in the development of many top professionals, but the idea that any one person is responsible for the development of any individual player is ludicrous. Coach B: "Bam. That is again where we diverge. No Peter Graf, no Steffi. No Stefano and Denise, no Jennifer. No Jimmy Evert, no Chris. No, Gloria Connors, no Jimmy. No Richard and Oracene, no Venus 'n Serena. No Blanche and Jerry, no Andy. No Tom and Sally, no Mardy."
PMc: Players evolve, players change, players progress. Coach B: "100% agree." PMc: It’s an ongoing process and always has been. Coach B: 100% agree. PMc: The coach or parent who got a player from point A to point B may or may not have the tools or know-how to help take the player to the next level. Coach B: "Those that can't can then select who they want to help with the journey, but at no time do key people step out and not continue their support."
PMc: What’s more, the economics of tennis almost always come into play for most coaches, who often have to decide whether to stick with a player or with a full-time job at their club or academy. That’s a tough call, and an important one, both for the coach and the player. Coach B: "A tough call, but it should be their call. A kite rises against the wind." PMc: Whatever the scenario, whatever the need, we’re there to lend our support to both the coach and the player so that the player can progress. Coach B: "No. You want them to come to Boca. You want them to have your USTA coaches. You want control. You want to say on TV that this player trains at Boca, rather than telling the whole truth and naming their home town and their home coach or their parents that have done most of the work through the years and who has been with and behind the kid through thick and thin. When I buy a strawberry shake, I'm paying for the shake and not the cherry on top."

PMc: But contrary to what Mr. Bryan believes, USTA Player Development isn’t in the “cherry-picking” business. We’re in the business of helping the best young players get better by providing a controlled environment in which they will have the best chance of developing. Coach B: Yeah, yeah. I've been hearing that for a real long time now. You are, in fact, in the cherry pickin' business. Why not just go out and create players from age 4 and 5 and run e'm on up the flag pole then? No, you all want to take the cream of the crop and only work with them in the proverbial eleventh hour."

Bob Hochstadter: "One of the things I haven’t read in the last few emails, is the relationship with a private coach. It takes years to build that trust between coach and player, it takes years for a good coach to not only impart wisdom, but to truly make their student believe in themselves. Admittedly I might not be the best or most technical coach out there, but given time, I can make a player believe they can be a world beater. To me the heart and soul is what’s missing in the PD program, not the expertise. Being one of those coaches who has had “promising juniors” swept away from them I have seen that over and over through the years. Often, the players do not improve much and some go the other direction. This is something that most of us just shake our heads at."

PMc: Our Player Development staff devotes a remarkable amount of time—often years—communicating with kids, their parents and their coaches to decide on the best path of progress for each individual so that they can make an intelligent and informed choice. If they decide to work with us, we do our utmost to provide them with the best training, the best advice, the best competition, and key financial support. Coach B: "Why not just give those golden dollars to local coaches to continue working with the kids? It must be working if the youngster has reached that level of tennis. Are all your coaches really that much better than other coaches that are out there? You got 10 or 20, I can give you another couple of hundred just as good. What about all our college coaches? American private tour coaches?"
PMc: After all, in order to improve, you need to be in a place where you can regularly compete with the best I'm all for getting playings together to workout and compete. Coach B: "Why not move it around from club to club or public park to public park o racademy to academy?" PMc: You don’t get better in a vacuum. Coach B: And you can also ruin a player with a coaching change or a national approach. See Coach Hochstadter'swords above. How would Jimmy Connors have done with National Coaching? How would John McEnroe have done with National Coaching? TheWilliams Sisters? Andy Roddick? Every great champion breaks the mold. Nobody played like Chrissie. Nobody played like Jimmy. Nobody played like Bjorn. Or John Mc. Or Jim Courier. Or Andre. Or Pete. Or Michael. Or Lindsay. Or Steffi. Or Monica. Or Roger. Or Rafa. Or Novak. No team played like Fleming-Mc. No team played like the Woodies. No team played like the Bryans.
National approach to coaching? Like the Dixie Chicks sang, 'There's your problem!'"
PMc: What we provide are more opportunities for the best to come together, compete with each other, and get better. Coach B: "Sure sounds nice when you say it like that. Lots more complex than that. Talk to kids who have been in the system under your regime and others. They do not share your rosy and self serving assessment."

PMc: Mr. Bryan suggests that the USTA’s thrust is to "get rid of the influence of parents and local coaches. Again, that’s absolutely absurd. We are well aware that all of the kids who come into our program get their start in other places, and we applaud the parents and coaches who get these kids involved in tennis and nurture their development. Coach B: "Then why not say their names on National TV telecasts. Still waiting for that to happen. And, again, that is the essence of it all. The USTA PD program always says that, but they do not truly believe that. That want the credit. It's human nature. Its the way with bureaucracies. You have no idea how many times I have heard national coaches and administrators say the key is getting rid of all the influence of parents and local coaches. Again, see the Hochstadter quote above. I hear this kinda thing every day."
PMc: Indeed, since I’ve been in this job, my appreciation of the importance of coaching at every level has increased tenfold. Coach B: "That's good to hear P Mc!! I have spent my entire adult life studying coaching and parenting and mentoring and leadership. I learn more and more each day. I'm a student of this wonderful field. I'll write and let you know if I ever master it or if know all there is to know about it. But here are some elements that I think are often overlooked: It is creative. It is artistic. It is magical. And great coaching and parenting and mentoring always involves being with the child through thick or thin. And it involves some level of unconditional love. It involves accountability." PMc: I think we can—and should—do a better job of acknowledging those who’ve helped develop these kids along the way, but the idea that we’re out to exclude anyone is ridiculous." Coach B: May I be so bold as to disagree with that completely! The day the USTA truly appreciates what happens on Main Street and from Jump Street is the day that tennis will boom in this country and we will have more champions than we know what to do with."
PMc: Indeed, the amount of time that we spend annually meeting with and exchanging ideas with private coaches is off the charts. Just last year, USTA Player Development conducted 57 camps at our Regional Training Centers, where we were able to touch thousands of kids, parents and coaches. We’re not in the business of exclusion, we’re in the business of inclusion and enhancement. Coach B: "And mandating and dictating. You send out mandates on how these Centers should be run to coaches that cringe and hate it. They want to do it their way! You have absolutely no idea how you guys are going over with all this pontification and the philosophy of our way and our coaching uber alles." PMc: We’re in the business of giving these talented kids more options for pursuing their highest goals within this sport, assisted, of course, by the input of their parents and coaches. Coach B: "I simply disagree with that assertion!" PMc: None of us are about to apologize for that.

Paul McNamee: "The lack of top players was in part due to administrators micro-managing the talent by assigning coaches to players rather than letting them choose their own development paths. There’s no evidence that more dollars are going to help the game anyway, otherwise Great Britain would have many more players than they have. You’ve got a situation here where coaches are assigned to players and that’s not an ideal scenario. I just believe in a different philosophy where the player gets to choose their own coach and that builds the trust and respect and that should be supported financially and in non-financial ways. I think a much more decentralized system and a system that has more freedom in it is the sort ofenvironment where talent and creativity can flourish. I think the model we have now suppresses creativity, which you need to produce players.”

PMc: As in most criticism aimed at the USTA, Mr. Bryan is fond of citing the “massive staff expenditures” of this association. Yes, we’re extremely fortunate to have the revenues generated by the US Open Coach B: "Yep." PMc: to help us fund our programs and hire talented people, but to hear Mr. Bryan tell it, you’d think our water coolers were filled with Dom Perignon. Coach B: "I will not set forth all the things I have seen re the way money is spent in the PD world, but if you want to push me on it, I will be happy to reveal that kinda thing and also what American pro playersnow and through the years truly think about USTA PD."

PMc: I make a very nice living—I don’t apologize for that either. Coach B: "I'll just pull my punches here and make only a few comments about that - - - I do not think anyone that works for the non profit USTA should make three or four times what the President of the United States makes. I say publish all salaries of USTA PD National Coaches and Administrative staff at once. And then compare it to the private sector.

PMc: But the truth is that a lot of my very talented staff take less money to work for USTA Player Development than they could make if they took their talents elsewhere. Coach B: "Wow! I just disagree with that. I know what USTA PD coaches made when they were on the inside with theUSTA and I know what they make when they go back to the real world. Again, may I disagree on this point?! PMc: "They choose to be with us because they have a genuine passion and they want to play a part in our mission." Coach B: "Hmmm."

Tim Mayotte: "One big issue and an expression of the pervading arrogance is that the bosses there at the USTA Pd have no willingness or ability to deeply discuss ideas and methods. They want to produce great, strong independent players who can be flexible and adjust and yet they (the bosses) do not display any of these qualities. We have cultural dissonance of the highest and most destructive order going on there. Jose, and to a tragic level, Patrick feel somehow by virtue of their celebrity that their "magic" will rub off on people they control. What they are too lost to see is the word "development" in PD. As you know so well building, healthy individuals means walking thru the trenches with them and helping them analyze the moral, mental, and emotional choices they (and the parents) have to make and develop a healthy strong person in the process. Hard to do when u are dictating from a broadcast booth and a board room."


PMc: And in fact, it’s important to note that the majority of the revenues that are generated by the US Open aren’t directed toward Player Development, but go back into the game’s grass roots Coach B: "That is just fine.", PMc: allowing more people of every age to get involved in the sport of tennis. All of us at the USTA feel that’s a good way to invest that money. Coach B: You haven't read any missives from me about that.

PMc: Some six years ago, the USTA Board of Directors felt it was important to get more players involved in Player Development because they believed it was important for American players to be competitive at the US Open in order to ensure the long-term health of that event. The impetus for me to come on board was that the USTA said it would be fully-responsible for the development of those players who chose to be with us; that we would have our own training centers where the best players could come together to get better. I was hired, not as a coach, but as a General Manager, charged to put the best people in place to help achieve that goal and come up with an overall direction for the program. In the four years I’ve been on the job, that’s what I’ve worked hard to achieve, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. Coach B: "I have no doubt of your passion and that you believe you are doing the right thing for American tennis. I disagree with a National approach to coaching and think it is fraught with danger and harm for the sport in this country. For the past 23 years, USTA PD has been the biggest impediment to the growth of tennis in this country. Each regime that comes to power says they will be better than the last. They are the ones that will lead us to the Promised Land."

Brian Parrott: "Patrick McEnroe, while assumably good intentioned, has close to no idea how this puzzle of using the legion of good coaches throughout the USA needs to be refined to efficiently develop players."

PMc: Mr. Bryan bemoans the fact that I’ve hired some foreign coaches . Coach Bryan: Yes! I feel we have more than enough great coaches in this country! Maria Sharpapova grew up here working with American coaches. So did Tommy Haas. Anna Kournikova. Dmitry Tursunov. I am not against foreign coaches per se, I am just against them being hired by the USTA. I think US Open WCs should go to US kids. I'm also againstAmerican college scholarships going to foreign players, whose parents do not pay dollar one in US taxes for educaiton in our country! Especially in this very rough economy!! I think Miss America should be from the US. I think to be President of these United States you should be an American citizen and be born in the USA. PMc: he decries the fact that none of my coaches have children that are champion players. Frankly, I’m offended by the former and amused by the latter. I still recall the best coaching advice my father ever gave me as a junior—after splitting the first two sets of my match, he told me prior to the third set to, “do what you did in the set that you won.” Coach B: I like that! Smart guy that, JP.

Coach Dave from Southern California: "Here is one quick little story on USTA Player Development that happened yesterday which shows once again why I agree with you that the USTA should not be involved in coaching:

We, as well as all the juniors that we coach, are members of the USTA. Everyone supports the USTA by paying dues, get the juniors in NJTL, coach and play in Junior Team Tennis, coach and play in CTC's, pay big entry fees to all the USTA/SCTA sanctioned tournaments, pay for all the travel expenses to all these events. Lots of investment made by the parents to get their kids to do the very best in USTA run events.

Yesterday I am in Indian Wells coaching a team at the Junior Team Tennis Playoffs, (great USTA event)! and I have some juniors playing in the USTA Regional Tournament Segment. As I am watching a junior I work with play the USTA Regional against a "USTA , Home Depot trained player", a USTA national coach is behind the fence coaching his player during the match!! First of all, now the USTA is coaching against my player and doing it against the very rules set by the USTA. The father of the player I coach, walks behind the fence to ask him to stop coaching during play. This coach is his foreign accent, says to the father, 'Well, you should respect me.'
What??

So the USTA wants all these players to play in the USTA tournaments, but while you are at the tournament, we are going to send our USTA sponsored players and coaches and not only coach against you, but actually not abide by USTA rules set in respect to the coaching during play."

PMc: Where a coach is born or what their kids excel at is not my concern. I’ve tried to hire the best and the most passionate; I’ve tried to hire those who excel at—and enjoy—working with and developing kids. Our Director of Coaching, Jose Higueras, has coached some of the greatest ever to play the game, but his real passion is working with kids, and his understanding of the sport is second-to-none. Coach B: "I also have a very high opionion of Jose and consider him a friend. Great player, great coach, great and positive guy." PMc: Are we always trying to get better? Are we always looking to improve? Absolutely. But let’s just say I’m extremely comfortable with everybody’s resume and their proven passion for the sport. Wonderful and dedicated and caring coaches one and all.
PMc: Mr. Bryan wants the USTA out of the player development business, out of the coaching business and out of the rule-making business. O.k., he’s entitled to his opinion. Coach B: Thanks. PMc: But if the governing body of the sport isn’t making the rules, then who will? Doesn’t someone have to take the lead? Doesn’t someone have to organize and promote the sport? Coach B: "Yes, but get some consensus and don't just cram mandates down our collective throats without taking the temperature of 9s and 10s and parents and coaches and sections across the country. Why did my e mail roll and resonate? People out here are hacked. Put your ear to the ground and listen."

Chuck Kriese: "There are hundreds, if not thousands, of great coaches and people out there teaching tennis that really want to do the right thing. We need always to keep the coaches empowered and believing that their own ideas and initiative are embraced."

PMc: When I took this job, I knew there would be rewards and I knew there would be challenges. I knew that every decision we made would have its supporters and its detractors. I really do appreciate the passion that those involved in tennis have for our sport; I think that the people who put a face on our sport are second-to-none in that regard. I understand a lot of the criticism and I’m happy to take most of it—where it’s constructive and where it’s deserved. The buck stops here. Certainly, when Americans don’t fare well on our sport’s biggest stages, nobody is calling the local pros—they’re calling the USTA. And they should. Coach B: "I like this well written and reasoned paragraph. The higher up you go, the more you have to help people. Not about yourself. About others.

Leading is ultimately about bringing people together."

PMc: Because of that, our charge is to do what we can to make our sport—and our players—better and more competitive in this highly-competitive global environment. That’s what we’re working on every day and that’s what we’ll continue to do. We are prepared to address any and every short-term concern with an eye toward long-term benefits. We can’t—and we won’t—allow short-sightedness to interfere with long-term vision. Coach B: Does this final sentence mean that you think that I and those that disagree with you are short-sighted?
Again, I say, leave it to the private sector. Do what the USTA does best and get out of coaching from the top down. Never has worked. Never will work.
These are my hearfelt and very respectful views.
Hey, by the way, you can relax, you will 1000% get your way with all your ideas and mandates. You are the United States Player Development General Manager after all and I have zero power and no budget and no staff . . . and after your well crafted response above I am sure everyone will agree with you and your vision.
And here's something we can both agree on - - - I know you are as pumped as I am about the stunning victory of our USA Davis Cup Team this past weekend in Switzerland! Away on clay with Roger Federer playing two and winning 5-zip . . .
And just think how good Johnny Iz and Mardy and Mike woulda been had they been forced to use soft green balls in the 10s . . ."
Wishing you and your family all the best and thanks for your personal kindness to me through the years,

Wayne Bryan

Please note that comments to this post will not be posted unless there is a name attached to them.

46 comments:

TennisCoachFLA said...

Wayne Bryan is my hero. He is dead on and gets it. The USTA has zero business trying to develop players and high performance has a beyond tiny chance of producing multiple top 100 players. Sure they can pick kids off at age 15-19 and take credit, but those kids would have developed with private coaching anyway, at far less cost per player.

The USTA should simply grow the game locally and let the private sector take care of the player development.

John said...

From Bryan: “Ask thousands of parents and coaches out there in the real world about their fear of speaking out to the USTA. It is palpable and it is pervasive. You play ball you get this, you don't play ball and there will be negative consequences - - - real or perceived, it is out there.”


The above statement is spot on with how I (a tennis parent feels). During my child’s 8-9 year junior tennis career, on three or four occasions I reached out to USTA officials for advice or to provide a carefully thought out suggestion and in every case was either laughed at or treated rudely.

Aside from poor customer service, the USTA never ‘rang’ to talk to my child about their development. My child began late, playing as a nobody 10-year old however improved every year until they were a TRN top-ten ranked Blue Chip player entering the most selective college of choice.

In the corporate world, simply because of the poor customer service, I would stop doing business with them, but here there is no other choice. And as Mr. Bryan mentions, the fear of retribution is very real – not just while in the juniors but through the college years (getting on the summer USTA/NCAA team) and post-college………again likely needing WC’s to get into events while trying to get established.

There are many other angles to this debate………but for me, this one aspect is key as to my negative feelings about the USTA.

Monta Ellis said...

Kudos to Wayne for his 2nd response...PMAC is trying to argue with blinders on...Why do most of his former coaches (who were tour players) like Martin Blackman and Tim Mayotte leave...BECAUSE THEY SEE THE WRITING ON THE WALL....The USTA is killing tennis and truly making it ELITEST to their own benefit and have for years...PMAC - WHO ARE YOU KIDDING.....YOUR OWN BROTHER...PRIVATE COACH....JP MAC Jr. probably would have been kicked off like Donald Young was for a time....What have you done for Dan Kosakowski, Devin Britton...Players like that who have had a little success and are now struggling...Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic and I'm sure Milos Raonic all came from parents or private coaches....Why cant the USTA help college tennis which is becoming a joke with foreigners? The questions will never end until we make WYANE BRYAN head of USTA PD..HE has no agenda !!!!!!!!!!

Simply Put..... said...

Why not let the players who want to attend the National Training Center be there because that is the players and families choice...

But the USTA should not tell the other coaches how to coach or tell how which kids should play with what kind of tennis balls.

Simply Put.....

finally said...

All of these emails are great. All of these posts are fantastic. And all of the ideas presented are unbelievable. That being said, let's get some real exposure and have tennis channel cover a formal debate between Wayne Bryan and Patrick McEnroe. Have private sector coaches, USTA National coaches, college coaches, current foreign college players, current American college players, and some tennis parents present. Lets settle the problems and get the issues out to the public. Zootennis is great...but you would think Tennis Channel would want to cover something so epic in our sport. With the right pressure from the tennis community, PMac would do it. And you know Wayne Bryan would do it for free!

Let me know your thoughts!

tennisforlife said...

There have been 77 comments left in response to JPM's response to Wayne- a record i imagine - By my count 7 of those were supportive of him and the USTA 72 were against. If there is a takeaway here for JPM that is it....

Even if they in fact do have all the answers it will be hard to be successful with 90% of your constituency against you. They need to wake up and start listening!

Bey-Light said...

Finally...

You just had the best idea of 2012.
You beat out PMAC and Wayne letters combined.

To take that a step further, you have that event at the Easter Bowl -to further showcase our American Juniors - get Justin Gimblestob to host the event - and NOW you have a premier TV show on the Tennis Channel.

Unfortanetly, there are no right answers - the damned if you do, damned if you don't method.

On a different note - The Tennis Channel should be showing the National Team Indoors on TV. It's a disgrace thay are not. Instead they have Malivai Washington commentate the Team FInals, as he has no idea who anyone is. That's embarrassing.

coach said...

more than just issues on the elite few is the whole setup and cesspool of expensive, poorly run and poorly refereed tournaments run by the monopolistic usta.

that alone chases away parents and players of all levels

usta florida is setup to serve it's employees, not it's customers. it is a disgrace

abe said...

how about the usta starts by not being the only sport anywhere without referees.

that whole premise is flawed and shows complete ignorance by greeedy people

Bob said...

In response to Patrick McEnroe, Wayne Bryant says, "I say publish all salaries of USTA PD National Coaches and Administrative staff at once." Not all the salaries of coaches and staff are public information, but some of it is.


Patrick McEnroe's 2010 USTA Player Development salary was $809,480. He received $237,581 of other compensation from related organizations, I assume the USTA for Davis Cup.

Other 2010 USTA PD salaries + related income:

Jose Higueras $386,629 + 83,155
Tom Jacobs $272,737 + 108,720
Martin Blackman $273,028 + 90,687
Ola Malmquist $185,757 + 70,529
Ricardo Acuna $145,818 +43,390
Michael Sell $134,760 + 17,250
Jay Berger $189,415 + 62,509

Including those listed above, USTA Player Development employed 22 people with reported compensation above $100,000 in 2010.

The source for the above information is the 2010 Form 990 filed with the IRS by USTA Player Development Incorporated.

old coach said...

What is going on here is a typical focus group. Notwithstanding Wayne Bryan, the people are speaking and they are doing it loud and clear. The PMac and Jose experiment has runs its course. Many respected people in tennis said it would never work in this country and it has not. I wish names could be mentioned but they probably would want their names shown.

First of all, how can you run a program being a talking head, PR machine and remote manager at the same time. Not possible. Same from your location away from the training site. Nobody can. I bet no one that has written comments can mention the names the current PD Directors for France and Spain. Why? Because they are on the courts with their players everyday. They are faceless. Sure, there are guys at Boca and Carson but the leaders are not there. Period.

Next, the coaching rotations at the Centers. Players there will tell you that after they get used and like some one they work with, all of the sudden they are gone to another group. Management justifies this by saying that they have to get used to different coaching styles and ideas. This concept does not work. Individual coaches develop great players. Wayne Bryan says it and proves it. Examples abound.

As far as giving the USTA feedback, forget it. That is extensive to the volunteer side. If you say what is perceived as a non loyal statement, you never get appointed to another committee. So, in the coaching environment, the brave and principled ones quit like Mayotte and Blackman under the guise of moving to greener pastures. The others stay and endure the stress because they are people that deeply care for the kids.

So what are the solutions. If the USTA is to keep PD, PMac and Jose need to go to greener pastures and faceless, nameless people with quality backgrounds need to be put to work with the players. People that you don't see on TV, people that have their heart with the kids, day in, day out. Otherwise, as it has been said, invest the money in the private coaches at their home bases. It is fine to organize quality match play and other competitive vehicles. That is it.

So what is going to happen. Absolutely nothing. The voice of the people has not been acknowledged and will not be now either.

Barry m said...

Who cares! lets talk about tennis players not old men who had crappy tennis careers.

Disgusted said...

@ Bob

The related income for each name mentioned is the bonus they received for "fine" job they did.

Been There2 said...

@ Old Coach: I agree with every point you made 1000%!!! You are keenly correct.

Colette Lewis said...

due to some irregularities in the comments I'm receiving, which I don't have time to investigate right now, I ask that if you have a comment that I haven't posted in the past 24 hours, please email it to me at clewis[at]ustaboys.com

alex said...

those salaraies for untrained people in a game are a disgrace while kids ply with no referees

Barry Buss said...

I'm sorry, but Wayne is just not getting it..as part of his diatribe against the USTA and its decision to develop players he keeps trying to make the point that the USTA should not be in the business of developing players, using this quote from Chris Boyer

Chris Boyer: "And, I will add one last comment to this thought about the USTA trying to control/be involved with tennis player development: NO OTHER SPORT DOES THIS! AYSO soccer doesn't try to govern how soccer coaches develop in the private sector; Football – NO, Baseball – NO, Basketball – NO. Not even FIFA, which could be considered one of the most powerful sport organizations in the world doesn't get involved in player development – they let the professional soccer clubs develop their own talent from age 4 on up to pro level in each clubs own system."

This summer there will be this event called the Summer Olympics in London..They play quite a few sports over there this summer..every sport imaginable...with every nation in the world represented at every level..below is the USOC mission statement

THE UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

The United States Olympic Committee, one of America's premier sports organizations, is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In 1978, the passage of The Amateur Sports Act (now The Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act - revised in 1998) as federal law appointed the U.S. Olympic Committee as the coordinating body for all Olympic-related athletic activity in the United States. The vision of the USOC is to enable America's athletes to realize their Olympic and Paralympic dreams.

The USOC is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Ok..Wayne Bryan keeps making the point that NO other sport is doing what tennis is doing..It's kinda mad what he is saying in the face of such overwhelming evidence about how wrong he is on this point

Additionally, The USTA as far back as the early 1980s and possibly earlier completely underwrote the JR davis Cup national travelling team I was fortunate to qualify for in 1982..We had an all expenses paid two week tryout camp under the watchful eyes of all the USTA national coaches, at the time Brad Louderback and Dennis Emery, who had just taken over from legendary coach Chuck Kriese..Camp was hel at Vic Braden's training center in Southern California where high speed photography was taken of all our games and analyzed by the best coaches America had to offer...The entire camp and travel for 12 weeks was paid for by the USTA with some of it underwritten by clothes sponsors Levi Strauss,,,The moral of the story is USTA PD has been going on full tilt for over thirty years now in some configuration or another...This whole NO OTHER SPORT does this is mad enough, but that US tennis has been doing it for a LONG time people..This is just one of the MANY SCATTERSHOT assertions that Mr. Bryan makes that absolutely need to be brought forth as many of you are trying to anoint him USTA president for life.

People, you need to educate yourselves better about the system we in tennis development are in...Wayne, impassioned and well intentioned as he may be, just does not have a great deal of his facts and conclusions well thought out here...More to come, I promise..

Florida Dad said...

I have been receiving Collette's email newsletter for years, but have never posted until now. Collette, I think this is the most important discussion on your blog since I have been reading it.

Wayne Bryan is right on with ALL his comments and we need this information published in as many different forums as possible. Thanks also to the posters and their comments, and the individual who dug up the salaries. Persons who run nonprofit institutions should be more careful to LISTEN carefully before they speak, and before they make decisions that affect thousands of young people and their families.

Unfortunately, Patrick McEnroe sounds like your typical bureaucrat. He is much too young for that attitude and I hope that he can lighten up a bit and stop taking himself and his decisions so seriously. It is important for leaders of organizations to admit when they have made mistakes and rectify it as soon as possible.

Tennis is a microcosm of life, and hopefully Patrick will realize that large bureaucracies cannot address these problems as well as local families and coaches. As far as PD is concerned, it is time to give the power and money back to the people who are supporting the USTA!

Barry Buss said...

It slays me that people are arguing about ten and under competiive tennis... I fear a disconnection with reality needs tending to.. Question for those advocating a strictly private sector approach to player development... What is the difference between what nick bolleterie has been doing in Bradenton for decades now and what the usta is doing now, other than the private img academy approach is a for profit venture? Are they not exactly the same entities in structure ? Bring in talented players from all over, cvonventrate them in one area with as good a coaching as can be assembled, and allow these talented youngsters the best conditions possible to train and compete in?
Is there any structural difference whatsoever?
Some hard truths in this tennis world.. Players and players only are responsible for their development... The sport is played between the lines.. Alll this bickering from the private world of parents and coaches is understandable.. But the hard truth is if your kid has the right stuff he/she is going to make it.. Usta pd did not destroy your kids chances at success., nor should they get all the credit for a players success..
Even Wayne bryan sent his kids away.. To Stanford under the advanced training situation that Stanford college tennis is.. Under coaches Gould and whitlinger.. I doubt quite seriously that Wayne moved to palo alto and micro managed his own kids progress and development .. He kicked it upstairs to those he trusted with his kids.. What is the difference between a college campus tennis academy a private academy or a usta pd center.. They are all places to take one's skills to the next level.. If your kid hasn't made it yet.. It's not pat macs fault or any private coaches fault.. They just weren't good enough.. Wayne Bryan has coached far more players that didn't make it.. Is that his fault? Of course not.. The kids just weren't good enough., it's a bitter pill to swallow..,especially with the level of investment it takes just to get one's kid to the national level of performance.. But not everyone can make it people.. If you were sold false promises I'm sorry.. But this blame game has to stop.. I'm sorry, but not every kid is good enough.. I know that hurts but it's sadly the truth

Almost done with the juniors said...

Wayne Bryan should be commended for standing up to the USTA and PMC and challenging his player development program. PMC is the worst thing that has happened to junior tennis. There is no regard for those players who are forced to get on a court at midnight after a full day of school, or who have to play a tournament next to a screaming kiddie clinic or who wind up playing a sectional tournament for endorsement after contract time is up in a bubble with no heat! All of this with no referee and no lines judges. How would you rate a baseball player who made his/her own calls? The USTA considers only a few select group of players while overlooking the majority of young dedicated players, players who are willing to undergo these conditions, players who refuse to cheat.
In relation to the over inflated salaries of the PD group couldn't some of that money go to private coaches who have talented players but who don't want to uproot themselves or families. Couldn't some of this money go to academies who have talented players or to local coaches who can recognize good players. AND PLEASE couldn't some of that money go to lines persons and referees.
AND who decided to make U10 have to play on those awful little courts. My daughter and her other five star player friends all started on full size courts. It actually boosted their ability and confidence. Until the reign of P McEnroe is over I hope Coach Bryan continues to stand up to him and continues to fight for the juniors in junior tennis, whether they are the next American hopeful or the next college all American or just dedicated tennis players.

TennisCoachFLA said...

Barry Buss...your posts are simply wrong. The difference in what IMG does and USTA Boca is the fact that IMG is for profit. They make mistakes and they lose money. They would be out of business if they had put all that money like USTA does into a few kids who end up going to college. The fact is we do NOT NEED the high performance, the IMG's will train the talented kids that rise.

Your diatribe about other sports makes no sense. Tennis is unique, no officials, individual sport, almost every past champion was developed by a parent or private coach. How could a parent develop a Michael Jordan? Impossible to relate other sports to tennis.

Trying to relate tennis development to any other sport is very ignorant and make no sense.

Saying USTA high performance has been around 30 years makes our point for us. It NEVER has produced anything that could remotely justify it's existence.

Barry Buss said...

What is the difference between what nick bolleterie has been doing in Bradenton for decades now and what the usta is doing now, other than the private img academy approach is a for profit venture?

@tenniscoachflorida... The above quote is from my post asking what is the difference between the two entities OTHER than img academy is for profit

Your response to me the difference between the two is that img is for profit.. Uhhh.. I kinda already stated that ..

This is a horribly inefficient forum to debate important issues.. Not the least being basic reading and writing skills..

So I ask you again.. What is the difference in STRUCTURE between the two entities? I'll address your other pts in time.. But a simple question.. How would one walking in to a usta pd center and one walking I
N to img academy be able to tell the difference between one and the other..and please be specific and focused to the question asked.

Really? said...

Jose and Patrick's salaries are based on part-time work and I am using the word work loosely. What fantasy land does Patrick live in thinking that Jay, Ola, Ricardo and Michael would make these obscence salaries were they not employed by the USTA? What an elitist mentality.

Go into the trenches and speak to coaches who grind everyday sun up to sun down. If it rains, they don't get paid. A lesson cancels, they don't get paid.

Bob said...

Clarifying a fee salary items left over from my earlier comment.

The "other compensation from related organizations" that I listed are not bonuses for performance. Any bonuses are included in the first number for each person. The other compensation is a combination of "retirement and other deferred compensation" and "nontaxable benefits" in all cases. (from Schedule J, Part II)

Second, these salaries are for full-time work. Form Part VII column B "Average hours per week" is listed as 40.00 for all the names I posted earlier.

Bob said...

Sorry. Typo in my first sentence above. Should read "few" not "fee".

coach said...

agree or disagree with details of each argument as you wish.

this is a farce.

what the usta does, as a monopoly, with the money they collect from tennis players and fans is simply a shame...for the garbage product (read unsupervised tournaments, political wildcards, no referees or incompetent ones), we all know they provide to young people.

agree or disagree with mcenroe or bryan. nobody in hundreds of posts has defended their product. It is garbage.

FYI said...

Barry, One major difference in IMG compared to the USTA Center is IMG allows personal coaches to come in with and work on the court with their students. Do you for one minute believe the USTA would allow players to train there and have personal coaches on the court with them. Trust me, they have coaches there every bit as good as the USTA employs at far lower salaries.

Robert Tomlinson said...

It's amazing that no one has brought up Jon Vegosen's name in this firing squad of comments.

Talk about politics, this site is turning into a bad republican debate commericial of tons of misinformation.

--Personal Coaches getting kicked off the court from the boca facility is absurd. They have private caoches there all the time.
--the majority of the money the usta gets is from tv ads and sponsors from the us open NOT touranment fees and memberships
--foreign college players is an NCAA issue
--usta pd does NOT select only a few players - they provide assistance from hundreds to thousands of players each year. If fact the players that live there, have to fill out an application and apply. So blame them.

All of this is not only the usta's fault, but usptr, uspta, private coaches, parents, academies, etc.

There are facts that are true - but listening to the Republican Debate is the same as reading comments on here, at least they have the guts, like wayne bryan to say how they feel while saying WHO they are. Hiding behind the curtain is cowardly. Who cares if the usta is going to find out.

Like Wayne said - parents need to be involved - well unfortantely this era of parents is doing most of the harm.

Be responsible for yourselves, do not ask for anything and more great things will happen.

Carl Patton said...

A breath of Fresh air and massive props to "Georgia Tennis Dad" for finally posting a comment that gets to the bottom of the main issue -"look in the mirror" and stop blaming others.

Been There2 said...

@Robert Tomlinson:

First, the full time students at Boca are NOT ALLOWED TO BE COACHED BY ANYONE ELSE! They are assigned a national coach and that person becomes their new coach. If a player is only there for a day or two, then yes, their own personal coach can watch courtside.

Second, about your statement -
"If fact the players that live there, have to fill out an application and apply. So blame them." The players that apply and get accepted into USTA full time PD can most likely get a scholarship to ANY tennis academy. They TRUSTED the PD program would develop their game to the next level and decided to apply. Well, for a few, it works because the coach/player match-up works. It does not work wonders for every single player there. There is no one size fits all. If there was, you would see the majority of their full timers a lot farther along then they currently are.

Third, you ask why people making comments hide behind a "curtain." Have you not read the thousands of comments about fear of retribution by USTA PD? This is not imagined!!! Even Wayne Brian brings it up in his letter. It is not only the fear of financial grants being cut off, it is also the fear that if your player applies for a WC - maybe into pro circuit tournaments, they won't get one..ever. You see, the USTA PD gets very easily offended and defensive if anyone voices a criticism or complaint. It is their way or the highway. That's it.

Fourth - the rest of your comments are your own personal opinion which you are entitled to and they obviously are not backed up by any facts. For example,you stated,"All of this is not only the usta's fault, but usptr, uspta, private coaches, parents, academies, etc." ... I guess your stance is the "blame everyone" approach as to why US doesnt have any players in the second week of majors.

Bob said...

As Robert Tomlinson said, the majority of USTA Inc's revenue comes from the US Open, not from member dues and fees.

For 2010, USTA, Inc's total revenue was about $205 million. The majority of that was "tournament related" income of about $177 million. Member dues were $21 mil and program fees were about $1.4 mil.

USTA Player Development Inc (a separate organization from USTA, Inc) showed total revenue of $14.8 million in 2010, $14.6 mil of which came from USTA grants.

Ten years ago, USTA, Inc's total revenue was just over $112 million. I don't have the breakout for player development back then.

Bob said...

This isn't directly related to Player Development, so forgive me.

I noticed that USTA, Inc at year-end 2010 had net assets of $147 million of which over $126 million is held in publicly traded securities. That is quite a lot of liquid net worth for a non-profit organization it seems to me.

Perhaps somebody with knowledge of the non-profit sector could chime in with how that stacks up to other such organizations.

Maybe Collette could follow up with Jon Vegosen or somebody at USTA, Inc and see what their plans are for all that money sitting on the books.

I realize that people following this discussion are passionate about Player Development and how the USTA spends the $14-plus million on training each year. But in addition to that, I'm curious just what plans the USTA has for the ten times greater amount of money that it has sitting on the books.

been-there said...

Everyone keeps saying that Patrick McEnroe has no say or voice over the college scholarship situation.

He may not directly, but he surely would have a HUGE influential sword, backed up by his organization, who could engage in conversation with the NCAA.

So please stop saying he can't influence it. He can.

Florida Dad said...

Thanks much to Bob for his research into salaries paid to the top folks in the USTA PD program, as well as the overall budget.

I would like to know the highest paid salaries of persons who are NOT the CEOs of large nonprofits. I recently read that 2% of the CEOs of nonprofits make over $200,000 per year. The USTA is paying some of their coaches over $200,000 per year and is paying Patrick and Jose almost $1.5 million per year -- 10% of PD’s total budget, according to Bob's figures.

I would prefer to see those high salaries go to support our struggling young professionals who are living out of a suitcase trying to make it on the tour, and to those families who have multiple children playing tennis and paying tens of thousands per year for lessons, clinics, travel and USTA tournaments. In addition, I think that the USTA can do more to lobby the NCAA and state legislatures to attempt to cap the number of foreigners who pay no taxes here, but are taking our college scholarships.

The mission of the USTA PD is (from their web site): "The goal of USTA Player Development is to provide American junior, collegiate and young professional players the opportunities to reach their maximum potential."

Note that “American college players” are included in their mission statement. There are a large number of taxpaying voters in this country who would like to see our citizens receive our college scholarships rather than noncitizens. It is not unreasonable for the USTA PD to pursue this on behalf of our young people. This will also increase the number of young folks who continue to play tennis and support the USTA.

Who do you think needs these millions of dollars more? The USTA administrators and coaches or our young families trying to create some decent tennis players? Or a young man or woman traveling around the world out of a suitcase trying to make it on the tour? Or a college scholarship for a young tennis player?

I don't think anyone is worth the salaries that are being paid these coaches. Note that a salary is significantly different than monies paid to someone for actual time worked. Have you heard the stories of arrogance, lack of interest in players and poor coaching at USTA PD? If you want to hear from an expert insider, google Tim Mayotte’s response to Wayne Bryan’s letter.

It takes a lot of hard work to raise and develop young tennis players. Do you think these are the right guys for the job? I think we should take Tim Mayotte’s advice and follow the French example: give money to those coaches around the country who are producing great young players. Coaching styles vary significantly and many different styles can produce champions. However, they all require a huge amount of time and work.

That’s my 2 cents. Thanks for listening.

5.0 Player said...

Carl Patton wrote-"look in the mirror and stop blaming others."

No Carl, YOU look in the mirror and ask yourself why your apparent policy is to never question authority regardless of how unjust or unfair. Just because Coach Bryan and the other 60+ parents and players have voiced their concerns against the USTA's unfair, arbitrary, arrogant and harmful policies does not mean that they are "blaming others" for their own problems. They have a right and good reason to voice their concerns.

Thank God everyone doesn't share your attitude or we probably would have never passed the Civil Rights Act nor regulations restricting Child Labor in this country.

Attorney said...

"Robert Tomlinson said...
It's amazing that no one has brought up Jon Vegosen's name in this firing squad of comments."

I would be glad to add Vegosen's name and for a good reason. It is my understanding that he was the one who was responsible for the USTA FAQ "White Paper" addressing the contentious issue of foreign players in college tennis that Wayne Bryan made reference to where the USTA basically concluded that there is no problem. I recall that Vegosen was the Chair of the USTA College Tennis Committee at the time. In that white paper was the "red herring" that implied that putting some limits on the number of foreign players was probably not an option for the NCAA and USTA because it would be deemed illegal discrimination.

The document stated and still states:

"There are no NCAA limits on international student-athletes. There could be significant, if not insurmountable, legal hurdles for the NCAA to try to limit the
number of international student-athletes that can receive scholarships on American varsity collegiate tennis teams."

The document goes on to claim that the USTA was concerned that such a limitation would be "deemed discriminatory" and that "several respected experts have recently advised the USTA that the situation is the same pertaining to tennis and other varsity sports today."

I and many others, including another USTA committee disputed this by pointing out that such a limitation would NOT be illegal discrimination because it would be a limitation based upon "residency" or "citizenship" which, unlike race, gender or national origin, is not a category protected by the constitution.

What galls me is that Mr. Vegosen's bio identifies him as a practicing attorney so I believe he should know better.

Just to prove this point, just last year the National Junior College Athletic Association passed a limitation on foreign players with no fanfare and no problems and there have been no lawsuits of any kind reported to the best of my knowledge.

So, the NCAA could pass a similar restriction with no problem at all and if the USTA supported such a restriction it is very likely that the NCCA would go right ahead. But, with the USTA continuing to act like it would be illegal discrimination and also that there is not problem regarding foreign players in college tennis, the NCAA will not feel any need to do anything.

Pat McEnroe's decision to not even address this subject which was probably the most important and most talked about concern in Wayne Bryan's letter is an indication that the USTA will continue to pretend that there is no problem with foreign players in college tennis or that they can't do anything about it because it would be illegal disrimination. Some of us always knew and now know for sure that this is false.

Roger said...

Sadly,neither Patrick Mcenroe at his huge part-time salary nor Wayne Bryan, simply a man with experience and an interest are very good at expressing themselves succinctly in writing. Both of their documents are difficult to read and poorly written.

The disgrace is how much Mcenroe gets paid for his limited expressive skills.

Colette Lewis said...

@Roger
I'm surprised you didn't include me in that assessment. It is a topic with complexity.

Florida Dad said...

@ Attorney

Thanks for your input. As you well know, if you ask an attorney for an opinion letter, it is likely he will say "no" if there is a remote possibility of a lawsuit. Leaders of businesses have to make calculated risk decisions in order to protect their business interests. It is the mission of the USTA and USTA PD to help American college tennis players. Limiting scholarships to noncitizens is a risk worth taking and fighting for. They have the resources to do it.

roger said...

collette

You can be succinct and organized in your thoughts.

this particular topic is not that comples and it is not exactly brain surgery. As with many issues when money and control are involved it comes down to opinion of those in control wishing to stay in control...

Tennismom said...

http://adirondacktennis.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/tim-mayottes-reply-to-the-wayne-bryan-letter/

Just posting this very interesting "been on the inside" response from Tim Mayotte that someone referenced above.

Pam said...

@ Florida Dad

Thank you for guiding us towards Tim Mayotte's response to Mr. Bryan's letter.

As found on Adirondack Tennis, here is Tim's Mayotte's response:

"after almost two years inside the usta player pd i strongly agree with wayne’s outrage over the misuse of funds and the arrogance of that organization. when jose h, jay berger and patrick were around (which was very rarely) i tried to put them on court with some of our 8, 9, and 10 year olds. jose flatly said no clearly out of discomfort. jay shared a court with me and was unable to see even the most basic technical changes needed and patrick would bark words parroted from jose’s thinking like “receive the ball.” that had no relevance in the context of what we were working on with the kids. none of the three asked what we were doing or how we were trying to do it.

i understand wayne’s outrage that this group mandate, forces, others to do what they know nothing about. it is my understanding that none of them have ever been to a 10 and under tournament. when i was hired to start and run the usta at the open site i was told to develop “a pipeline of top young 8-12 year olds.” it became clear they did not know how to teach and train and at that point neither did i. my associate lee hurst was great and as i learned from him we veered from jose’s “philosophy.” when jose visited we were told change to mirror boca. after months of arguing my need for a different approach i found no option but to leave. the predictable has happened; they terminated that group and now only work with players 14 or over who commit to home school. so hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and thousands of hours served to only drop players leaving them and parents in the lurch, alienate local pros and deepen the cycle. it was outrageous then to see patrick on tv broadcasting when he could have been on court learning about jr development (isn’t a million a year enough) or jose ensconced in palm springs with the usta paying to send player to his fancy ranch. its all such a waste.

i do think a comprehensive, in-depth, coaches training program should be developed so we can create more great coaches like you guys. coaching is one of the most complicated endeavours i have been a part of requiring a knowledge of technique, motivational skills, psychology, parent management, etc. we need more and more systematic training.

tim"

Robert - GA said...

Colette,

I wanted to thank you for printing the letters from Wayne.

Wayne is a very courageous man to stand up to the USTA, and the tennis community is very appreciative.

My son is a highly ranked national player and the buzz at the tournaments was that Patrick McEnroe didn't even address the issue of foreigners in college tennis.

Unfortunately, the death bell for American junior is exactly that issue. Younger parents are shying away from spending thousands of dollars on this sport if junior has no chance of playing college tennis because some older foreigner comes in takes a spot from an American freshman, and then the foreigner's status is upgraded to college junior.
Sad state for American tennis.
Patrick should get out of the Ivy tower and actually speak to some American parents about the state of the economy, and how some scholarships should be going to Americans.

Fernando said...

I totally disagree with Mr Bryan and most of the posters on this blog. Should US tennis go back to the "private" sector as he suggests, tennis would digress back to the elitist sport it once was, totally excluding all but the wealthy, homogenous few. The USTA is by no means perfect. There are serious leadership, communication and control issues that should be addressed. But to suggest that wealthy parents and their coaches would produce more American tennis champions were they not hamstrung by the USTA is absurd. And to suggest that the sample size of readers of this blog is an indication of truth is equally absurd.

richard fredericks said...

Yeah, right, and the aluminum bat along with larger barrels really helped ten year old baseball players! C'mon McEnroe, listen to Mr Bryan. I do not think anyone has a clue as to the resentment and disgust with the top heavy, heavy handed tennis establishment led by Patrick and Jose, along with the top heavy establishment salaries. The great coaches like Steve Stefanki and/or Tom Stowe's progeny are not even consulted by the establishment. Ted Williams did not need a metal bat, nor did Don Budge or the Pancho Gonzales or Patrick's brother thrive on small courts and neurf balls! Oh well, nothing will really change, but at least Mr Bryan has tried to confront the heavy handedness!

I Just Want A Cup Of Coffee said...

10U tennis is fine. Just don’t shove it down the throats of players and parents of players who can play on a full court with real balls at age 6 or 7! A plethora of fine parents and coaches are behind Mr. Bryan's sentiments about 10U 110%.