USTA Offers Support and Recognition To H.S. Coaches With No-Cut Policies
One of the most memorable and fun experiences that high-school students can have is the opportunity to be on a team, to contribute toward a common goal with their fellow students. And now, with high-school tennis, that opportunity is expanding.
The USTA is spreading the word about “no-cut” tennis teams and recognizing high-school coaches who implement a no-cut policy at their schools. A no-cut policy means that, essentially, every student who wishes to play is welcome to join the team.
“Tennis teams could be comprised of a dozen kids, or 20, or 30 or more,” says Kirk Anderson (below), the USTA’s director of Recreational Coaches and Programs. “It’s great for the kids, because they have the chance to be on a team with their classmates, practicing and playing matches. And it’s great for tennis, because these kids stay in the game.”
Some high-school coaches may, at first, think a no-cut policy could be a bit daunting. But the USTA has created a High School Advisory Team of veteran tennis coaches to offer advice, guidance, and resources. The Advisory Team members, who each have run no-cut tennis teams for decades, will answer questions that other coaches may have about implementing a no-cut policy. The Advisory Team can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The USTA also is recognizing those coaches who run a no-cut tennis team, says Anderson. High-school coaches should visit www.usta.com to register their programs online. “When a coach registers, we’ll send him or her a certificate congratulating them for their program and recognizing that while it may be more work, it’s creating the next generation of tennis players in the U.S.,” Anderson adds.
In addition, the USTA will send a letter to the coach’s principal and athletic director acknowledging the coach’s dedication to his students. Also, of the coaches who register, two will be selected to receive the National No-Cut Starfish Award and will be sent all expenses paid to New York City at the end of August to attend the USTA Tennis Teachers Conference and the first few days of the US Open.
“High-school coaches may be wondering, how do I run a program with 20 or 30 kids? How do I schedule practices and matches? How can I make this work with my budget? ” says Anderson. “That’s what our Advisory Team can help you with. These are people who have done this sort of thing for many years.”
The Advisory Team consists of Tiger Teusink of Holland High School in Holland, Mich., who during his 41-year coaching career averaged 47 kids on his teams each year; Dave Steinbach of Brookfield Central near Milwaukee, who in his 35 years has had several state championship teams and currently has 112 girls on his team, comprised of a varsity and six j.v. squads; and Sarah Miller of Kennewick, Wash., a coach for 17 years who has 140 high school boys and girls on her teams this year.
“These people have been there,” says Anderson of the Advisory Team. “They can advise on all aspects of how to make it work for your program, and for your students.”
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Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.