Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Welcoming New Sponsor Crosscourt Consulting; World Team Tennis Opts for One Site Season; Pros Join in Honoring College Seniors

I hope you've noticed new sponsor Crosscourt Consulting, who reached out to me last month at an opportune time. IMG had asked me to temporarily remove their summer camp advertising due to the pandemic, and I had previously decided that Google ads were more trouble than they were worth, so another sponsor stepping up right now is a pleasant surprise.

Jeff Bearup at USTA Spring Team Event
I spoke to longtime junior development coach Jeff Bearup yesterday about his consulting program, which works closely with Donovan Tennis Strategies when college tennis becomes the goal of his clients.

Bearup told me when he started the consulting service, almost two years ago, he thought the focus would be on high performance for older players in the New England area, but it turned out that it was the youngest players, the most inexperienced families, who were hungry for guidance, and they were all over the country.

"We thought it was going to be the more entrenched player, New England-centric, but it went the total opposite of that. And it ended up being so many people who were just coming into the sport," Bearup said. "What really surprised us was the orange and green ball inquiries. But at that age, those kids really don't have a private coach, it's a parent that's directing it, so we developed a small plan for them--we're going to take you through all the language, how the orange and green system works, how you progress, what are the benchmarks, how to find a program, how to interview a coach."

Once a client has gotten further along and has a private coach, Crosscourt focuses on providing a developmental plan that the coach, player and parents can use for practice, scheduling tournaments and training blocks.

Preparing for the USTA's new junior competitive structure, which is scheduled to begin next year, is also part of the service.

"I think there is going to be a need for deeper planning," Bearup said of the new USTA structure, and he also knows the current Covid-19 hiatus will mean revisions for his clients. "Everybody will be rescheduled for tournaments, as well as probably the developmental plan, because most are not hitting balls. It's kind of a reboot, and we'll be extending everybody another 90 to probably 120 days."

"We do a lot of parent education," Bearup said. "It's really just like having an adviser in your right hand pocket that's helping you get it right. Not just chasing points or just signing up for random tournaments, but having a coordinated effort to maximize their experience and keep balance in their life."

While few want to add another cost to assisting their junior player, Bearup said that their service can make sure that the money is being spent wisely.

"It's really amazing how much money is spent by families in the wrong place, on the wrong things, and we're able to save them quite a bit of money by doing this."

While Bearup says he can now handle only 50 clients, he is looking to scale up via a new software product that he hopes to have available to clubs and academies early next year.

I thank Crosscourt Consulting for their support of Zootennis.com in this difficult time.

World Team Tennis announced Monday that it was not canceling its season, scheduled to run from July 12 to August 1, but that it would move from the nine local teams hosting to a one-city site for the three-week period.
“While we remain hopeful that the WTT season will begin on July 12, as originally scheduled, we have concluded that it is not possible for players, staff and fans to complete the necessary air travel to and from our nine host cities.”
As of now, the single location has not been announced,  A list of some of the top players currently committed to playing World Team Tennis is in this article.

The ITA organized a social media campaign to recognize all the college seniors who had their final (or what they thought would be their final) season cut short with the hashtag #Set4Success. Several top pro players who attended college joined in the campaign; their tweets are below.