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Ask USTA Florida: Getting Grants, Rankings, JTT Fees

January 26, 2010 06:00 PM
By Rick Vach, ustaflorida.com

Each month USTA Florida staff will answer three questions from the number of questions we regularly receive regarding leagues, rankings, tournaments, seeding, and various other topics on tennis in the Sunshine State and beyond:

Q: What is the best way to get USTA national funding for Florida tennis programs we want to launch in our local community?

A: A timely question as from a USTA National standpoint (as opposed to grant opportunities available from the USTA Florida Section), the first round of USTA Recreational Tennis Grant for 2010 from the USTA national body is coming up next month (and if you can't make that deadline, Round 2 is later in the year).

The deadline for Round 1 of the USTA Recreational Tennis Grant is Feb. 15, 2010 (those receiving grants are notified in April 2010), and the deadline for Round 2 of the grant is Oct. 15, 2010 (notifications in December 2010). The USTA Recreational Tennis Grant was created last year, and pooled a number of smaller grants that went to Community Tennis Associations (CTA), National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL), etc., to create a bigger pool of funding.

Who is eligible to apply for these recreational tennis grants: CTAs, NJTL chapters and programs, Parks & Recreation agencies, public and private school districts, military base organizations, and non-profit community-based organizations. If you are not one of these organizations but have a tennis program you want funded, then partner with one of the above agencies in your area.

Round 1 is for Program/Project Support and grant awards range from $2,500-$10,000, and supports general tennis programming, project and equipment needs. The grant is designed to increase participation, support programming, and foster diversity (hint: applicants that can show a minimum 1:1 cash match will receive preference).

Round 2 (online application available July 15, 2010) is for Community Partnership Investment, funding to establish and/or develop community-based partnerships to increase participation, support programming, foster diversity. proposals should involve all parts of the tennis community and leverage the USTA's financial investment at the local level (hint: applicants that can show a minimum 1:1 cash match will receive preference).

Bonus hint: USTA national grants staff recommend you use the BLUF approach (Bottom Line Up Front) when submitting a grant application: establish relationships, be clear, be concise, be thorough, don't reinvent the wheel.

To see an example of the Lee County Community Tennis Association's $30,000-winning USTA grant from 2009,click here.

To apply or for more info go to www.usta.com/grants.

Q: Are the USTA junior rankings calculated the same as the ATP and WTA Rankings? Are the adult and junior rankings done the same, what requirements do you have to meet? Thanks.

A: That's a good one, as the USTA Florida Junior Rankings have changed in the last couple years to include a combination of singles and doubles to encourage players to play more doubles and become more complete players (doing thing like volleying, hitting approach shots, etc., rather than being only able to stroke topspin from the baseline).

Junior players now receive 15% of their doubles points and 100% of their singles points towards their combined ranking. The junior ranks are based on a player's eight best singles tournaments and eight best doubles tournaments, and rankings are published approximately once a month, scheduled around the Designated or Sectional tournaments.

"Rankings are based on a rolling one-year calendar worth of results," says USTA Florida Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone. "We have two ranking lists -- the 'Standings List' and the 'Ranking List.' Players must win a match in order to appear on either list. The Standings List includes players from out of state, and Florida players who competed against out-of-state players and foreign players. The Ranking List includes players who have proved that their parents or legal guardians live in Florida. The adults also use the 'points system,' but the adults are assured the assigned tournament points no matter how many matches they win. For example, in an adult tournament the winner will get the same points no matter how many players entered. In a junior tournament, it always depends on how many players enter the tournament."

The ATP and WTA Rankings, by contrast, are separated in singles and doubles. The ATP Rankings include a player's best 18 results (19 if they qualify for the year-end championship) from mandatory and non-mandatory events, and the WTA Rankings include the best 16 results.

Q: I understand that USTA Florida is charging a USTA Jr. Team Tennis league fee of $35.00 in 2010 -- why?

Beginning in 2010, USTA Florida instituted a $35 league fee for the USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis league (JTT) in an effort to offer a consistent and quality program across the state. The JTT league fee provides for a Nike league jersey, year-end trophies and player party, along with the TennisLink registration fee and league coordinator stipend (see chart below). The fee remains smaller than most if not all competing major youth sporting leagues, and all fees go back into developing the league.

"The consistent program fee is so important," says USTA Florida Team Tennis Coordinator Michelle Willis. "We want all kids participating to have the same Jr. Team Tennis experience from Pensacola to Key West and everywhere in between. In the past, some of the programs may have provided awards, some not. Some would offer a season ending party, some would not."

Along with providing consistency, the fee helps grow a junior development product comparable to soccer, baseball and other sports leagues.

"There was a lot of perception by our members and parents that USTA Florida received all of the JTT league fees that have been set by our local league coordinators over the years. However, USTA Florida has never received a nickel since the inception of USTA Jr. Team Tennis in the early '90s -- the local fee all went back to the program to offset those expenses and plan for the next league," says USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "Therefore, we felt it best to offer a controlled and consistent league fee that would come to USTA Florida, whereby we would be able to provide quality awards, jerseys and other amenities and resources to our players and league coordinators."

Have any general tennis question you want answered for Ask USTA Florida? E-mail to: news@florida.usta.com





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