Dropping the Ball?
I noticed the blurb in Industry News in the November/December issue about the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation doubling the cost of seasonal permits. I have always been shocked by how little attention was paid to this when it happened. This major occurrence in the largest market in the country would obviously have a serious negative impact on participation overall, and be incredibly damaging to our sport.
I, and many of my tennis colleagues/friends, made a major effort to contact the USTA and open a discussion. We thought they would care, and might want to address the Parks Department to see if anything could be done. We contacted every relevant department of the USTA via phone, mail, and email, and they all ignored the situation.
I did receive a single form response from a department at USTA Eastern, saying, “Please be advised that the USTA Eastern section will be taking NO position on the issue at this time.”
For an organization that claims its mission is to grow the game and encourage minority participation, the lack of action, rude tone, and willingness to let participation be cut in half without lifting a finger is abhorrent. Several of us discontinued our USTA memberships because of it, and told them so, but this also produced no response.
It’s a crushing disappointment to find that, after being a USTA member for over 30 years, the association seems to care about very little except in milking the US Open for money. It has certainly dropped the ball on its mission.
New York, NY
National High School Coaches Association?
I really enjoyed Denny Schackter’s Your Serve (“Influence Peddlers”) in the February issue. I am proud to be a high school tennis coach and have been coaching since 1997, and I have the same passion and love for it to this day. I have plenty of students/former players that still keep in touch with me. There are thousands of us high school coaches who have made a positive impact on our players.
Some tennis professionals don’t take high school tennis players seriously. Regardless of the level, we as tennis professionals have a responsibility to coach these high school players as if they are on the ATP or WTA tour. And as coaches, we have a responsibility to prepare them for being productive young adults.
We’re all concerned about the aging of tennis teachers in this country — but think about the fresh, young teaching talent we could have if we had a mechanism, through a high school coaches association, to influence passionate high school players to join the ranks of our professional teaching groups.
Midtown Athletic Club, Bannockburn, Ill.
I am currently a high school coach at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, N.C., as well as a director at several tennis clubs. I just read Denny Schackter’s article about the need for a high school tennis coaches association, and he could not be more right.
Director of Tennis, Figure Eight Island Yacht Club, Wilmington, N.C.
I read Denny Schackter’s “Influence Peddlers” and could not agree more. Not only do we need to get young coaches involved, but we need to support them with all resources we have.
I coached at the high school level for 25 years in Arkansas and retired two years ago. I’m still very close to the program. I have been working with the Arkansas Tennis Association and the Arkansas Activities Association (our governing body for high school sports) to get a coaches association off the ground in Arkansas. This is an exciting time in Arkansas for high school tennis coaches. We can make things even bigger with a national organization.
Kingsdale Tennis Complex, Bella Vita, Ark.
I greatly enjoyed Denny Schackter’s “Your Serve.” In 1996, as head tennis coach for Shawnee Mission Northwest H.S. in suburban Kansas City, I started the National High School Tennis Coaches Association (now on Facebook). My goals included:
- Building relationships with tennis academy coaches (some of whom were telling players not to play H.S. tennis). We wanted to endorse their academies while they endorsed H.S. tennis.
- Building an organization that could help H.S. coaches with knowledge of the game, turning an individual sport into a team one and how to manage practices with large groups and varied abilities.
- Recognizing top H.S. teams across the nation through a national ranking.
- Developing national/regional clinics for coaching camaraderie and development, and to recognize H.S. coaches through a Hall of Fame.
President, ACT Sport Services, Olathe, Kan.