Keep Members Happy and Offer Many Programs
To the Editor:
The Your Serve article “Teaching Assistance” (April) by Liza Horan was well written, and it is very important to understand why pros are underpaid.
First, teaching pros still teach the old way and do not educate their staff.
Second, learning tennis should be fun. I see so many teaching pros who have a schedule, and they never change it. Each student is different and they learn in different ways.
Finally, I give free tennis lessons to beginners at my club. It is a six-week program. Many pros in the area say I should not give free lessons. Well, now I have people playing tennis, I sell tennis clothes, and I’ve also sold many racquets. The best part is that there are people playing tennis who would never have done it, if it wasn’t for the free lessons.
If the membership is happy and there are many programs for members, the teaching pro’s income will increase. Remember, teaching pros in the tennis industry work for more than just the money. They work for the love of the game.
Don Turner, Director of Tennis Operations
Tarpon Cove Yacht and Racquet Club, Naples, Fla.
Foreign Presence in College Tennis Spurs Debate
To the Editor:
As a recent men’s college tennis participant and now USPTA rookie, I have to agree with the letter that John Williams wrote in the April 2007 issue (page 18). The jump from American juniors into the college game is nearly impossible. Foreign players come into the NCAA older, with more maturity in their games, and can produce results immediately.
Every other college sport uses college as way to develop athletes, however most foreign tennis players have had much more experience than Americans. This is not a result of American juniors making an active choice, but rather the result of foreign-born players having an unfair opportunity.
As a taxpaying citizen, I personally can’t see any reason why a single dollar of my hard-earned money should support any foreign-born person when American-born kids aren’t even given a level playing field.
As a high school senior with two state championships, a top sectional ranking, limited national exposure, as well as a national ranking, I could not even merit a letter of interest from Oklahoma State University (which was 45 minutes away). I was forced to walk-on at the University of Oklahoma, where before my arrival my coach had “recommended” that maybe [a local community college] would be a good place for me to continue my tennis career. That same incoming year at OU, three French players were given scholarships and allowed to play an entire semester in which they never attended a single class.
With all due respect to Colette Lewis [who wrote the Your Serve on foreign students in RSI’s February issue], women’s college tennis is in a completely different place. Because of Title 9, more athletic scholarships are available to female teams (there is no female equivalent to football, participant-wise, and because of the money involved football isn’t going to change).
As having seen first-hand what the foreign presence is doing to men’s American college tennis, something needs to change, or American boys will continue to go in other directions athletically. Some sort of regulation is needed.
Matt Lopez, USPTA
To the Editor:
Mr. John Williams has himself “not been observing closely enough.” Gone are the days of older foreign players infiltrating college tennis. NCAA rules are in place to make sure that all foreign tennis players entering Division 1 attend school within one year of their class graduating high school. In fact, all foreign players are now processed through the newly created International/Amateurism Clearing House.
Are foreign players more experienced? Who generally have more opportunities and resources to compete than American players? There are opportunities to compete in junior, ITF and Futures tournaments almost every week!
Mr. Williams thinks that American players are more entitled to scholarships than foreign players. Is this attitude the seed of the problem? Wouldn’t American players be at a higher level if they knew that they had to battle desperately to earn the limited amount of scholarships available, rather than have a sense of entitlement to those same scholarships?
How many USTA ranked players entering college can compete immediately at the Division 1 level? There are over 200 NCAA schools competing for that very small group of players. Division 1 tennis is not T-ball — not everyone gets to bat. At some stage the players who “can’t connect” need to concentrate on getting an education and continue to play this great game at another division or level of college tennis where there are many opportunities to compete.
Developing the grassroots is fantastic, but let’s make sure we are concentrating on the correct age group and introducing more 4- to 8-year-olds to the game rather than worrying about a USTA player ranked 100 getting a scholarship he thinks he “deserves.”
Laurie Warder, ATP Professional,
USTA High Performance Coach, USPTA
We welcome your letters and comments. Please email them to rsi@racquetTECH.com or fax them to 760-536-1171.