Comprehensive Alternative to USTA Junior Competition Changes; Davis Cup Junior Camp Participants; New Digital Junior Tennis Magazine
I have written often about my opposition to the changes in the USTA junior competition structure, primarily because I didn't see in glaring need for changes to the structure as it existed.
But once the changes were passed, the huge number of items to consider made it difficult to do more than take each change and evaluate its impact, one by one, then trying to overturn the especially misguided initiatives. That obviously has its drawbacks, the most basic of which is not seeing the forest for the trees. Having another proposal, an alternative to what was passed, both viable and realistic, was necessary, and fortunately, such a proposal is now out there.
Lisa Stone at Parenting Aces published the proposal yesterday, with Geoff Grant and Steve Belisto credited with collating the suggestions and turning them into a comprehensive template for junior competitive structures. I don't agree with every little detail--I think a median ranking to determine a tournament's strength would be much better than using an average--but I find it in every way superior to what the USTA's Junior Competition committee came up with. I admit that I don't have much knowledge of the sectional tournament schedules around the country, but I trust those who have proposed these changes have done their best to consider the impact of what they are suggesting.
Please read the proposal carefully and critically, commenting if you feel there are holes or unintended consequences. For more discussion on this issue, see the Stop 2014 National Junior Tennis Tournament Changes Facebook page, which is now approaching 2000 "likes."
The USTA frequently conducts Player Development Training Camps during a home Davis Cup tie, and today they announced the players who are in Jacksonville for the camp for Friday's tie with Brazil.
Stefan Kozlov (14, Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
Henrik Wiersholm (15, Kirkland, Wash.)
William Blumberg (15, Greenwich, Conn.)
Jake Devine (15, Boca Raton, Fla.)
Eduardo Nava (15, Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Reilly Opelka (15, Palm Coast, Fla.)
Alfredo Perez (15, Coral Gables, Fla.)
Nathan Ponwith (14, Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Eric Nunez and Diego Montoya are the USTA coaches conducting the camp.
The USTA also announced a feeder program for the National Training Center in New York, with Erik Kortland hired to work with these younger players. There will be an open tryout for spots in this feeder program, for ages 9-13, on Saturday, February 2. For the complete release, see usta.com.
I recently received an email about a new junior tennis magazine available through the App store, called Tennis Junior Aces. The magazine, part of the tennis and character-building Down The Line and Beyond foundation in the Philadelphia area, published its first issue last month and has features on psychology, equipment, nutrition and many other topics of interest to juniors. It is available free, for the iPad or can be viewed at the website tennisjunioraces.com