Show Us Something Better
I truly appreciate Ellen Miller’s article, “Fix Your Delivery,” in the May issue. In Canada, while our “battle” with 10-and-under tennis is mostly over (it is now the norm rather than the exception), there are still pockets of resistance.
What I really liked is her comment about the thought that, if we didn’t do the appropriate 10-and-under development, what would be the way it is done? In multiple conversations with “traditional” coaches and misinformed parents, the advocates of under-10 Red, Orange and Green balls seem to be the ones who have to prove everything, while the dissenters have nothing to offer.
Just like Ellen, I cringe when I see the actual lessons from the people who want to stay in the past. I have observed (on many, many occasions) that the type of lessons they are holding on to are ineffective, inefficient, and mostly no fun.
If you don’t agree with the under-10 ROG pathway, at least show (don’t just talk) something that is better. So far, I have yet to see it.
Wayne Elderton, Tennis Director, North Vancouver Tennis Centre
Head of Coaching Development & Certification-British Columbia
Improving Our Growth
The June issue, pages 28-29, has a wonderful presentation of the benefits of tennis. During my 15 years as a USPTA pro I have never seen this type of presentation in a magazine or newsletter outside of tennis. In fact, I have never seen tennis listed as an exercise in any health article.
In my opinion, tennis associations, club owners, and teaching pros make no effort to promote tennis outside the tennis industry. There is an unlimited senior group waiting for a fun exercise. However, it has been my observation that private and municipal locations refuse to use a “free introduction” to tennis. Growth is waiting for a change.
David G. Hendricks, USPTA
Tennis On and Off Campus
The “Our Serve” column in the June issue (“The High School Push”) was right on. Glenn Arrington continues to do great things for Tennis On Campus and also for Tennis After Campus. The challenge for TAC is keeping track of those players who begin new jobs, in new cities with a new set of priorities.
We in the Midwest are working diligently to achieve that bridge. We’ve found the best way to keep former TOC kids playing tennis is to bring them back to campus to compete against the current TOC team. Of course, there is a social time afterwards that deserves no mention!
Tennis Priorities Co., Palatine, Ill.
Turn Down the Sound!
Is grunting in women’s pro tennis driving potential players from the game? During the Miami Open, I asked both media and tennis fans what they thought about grunting. Without hesitation, 95 percent said grunting is a real turn-off, and often they’ll turn down the sound on their TV so they don’t hear it. Unfortunately, this also means they miss often insightful TV commentary.
The problem posed by grunting goes beyond watching the pros, though — it’s simply poor sportsmanship. At some tennis academies, coaches actually encourage their students to use grunting as a tool for intimidation and distraction. Grunting is not only undignified and unappealing, but it also is gamesmanship in every sense of the word and is in direct contrast to the ITF’s Rule 26, the “Hindrance Rule,” written with the sole purpose of eliminating gamesmanship.
The WTA introduced a rule recently that young players embarking on the pro tour will be penalized if they grunt. Yet officials don’t penalize top women players who are the worst offenders for fear of upsetting them, so up-and-coming pros still try to imitate their heroes. The WTA needs to stop sending this mixed message and, for the good of the fans, the game and the pros, enforce the rules — for all players.
Angela Buxton, Pompano Beach, Fla., and Cheshire, UK
(1956 Wimbledon singles finalist; 1956 French and Wimbledon doubles winner)
Missing Tennis’ ‘Dear Friend’
I want to thank you for the kind words about Mary Lloyd Barbera in the June edition (“Our Serve”). Mary Lloyd was certainly one of a kind and someone I will miss terribly in all aspects of my life. I keep thinking she is going to burst through the door with her big grin and a huge laugh. Tennis has lost one of its most passionate supporters, and we have all lost a dear friend.
Director of Community Development, Outreach and Training
USTA North Carolina
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