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USTA Florida Tournament Changes Q&A; Pensacola Free 10-U Event

January 18, 2013 09:09 AM
USTA Florida Q&A: Selection of 2013 Jr./Adult Tournaments
 
USTA Florida EventsIn an effort to increase quality and reduce tournament over-saturation throughout the Florida Section, the USTA Florida junior and adult tournament calendar will see a reduction of tournaments in 2013.
 
The changes were made with joint input from the USTA Florida Junior Sanctioning Committee and the USTA Florida Adult Competitive Committee.
 
Q: Why have fewer junior tournaments been sanctioned in Florida for 2013?
 
A: The USTA Florida Junior Council Sanctioning Committee is restructuring the system to better serve players. Florida had as of 2012 developed a tournament structure that had the highest amount of tournaments of any section in the USTA. There were too many tournaments within the same geographic area, resulting in smaller draws and limited competitive opportunities.
 
Q: Why has my tournament not been sanctioned, since I had a sanctioned tournament on the USTA Florida tournament calendar last year?
 
A: There was a culture in the Florida tournament community that if you have a tournament on the schedule, then you will automatically be renewed the following year. There are areas in Florida -- South and Central Florida being two -- where new tournament directors and facilities could not get into the system for years as there were so many events. Last year we had 850 junior tournaments and 200+ adult sanctioned tournaments, and the decision was made this is too many tournaments to manage efficiently. In order for new facilities to get their foot in the door regarding the schedule, some of the established directors lost some tournaments, but they did not lose all their sanctions. The Junior Competitive Rules and Regulations limit a tournament director/facility to one sanction tournament per month with a second sanction allowed providing it is a different level and does not conflict with other tournaments in the area. This rule has not been applied appropriately to the sanctioning process in the past. In order to provide the best playing opportunities with larger draws and more competitive matches, the number of tournaments needs to be reduced. The committee has strived to reach this goal with small reductions each of the past three years, and will continue to reduce the number of tournaments until the best demographic structure is reached for our players to develop and compete at the appropriate level.
 
Q: What can I do to replace the sanctioned tournaments that were not renewed?
 
A: You are not limited to USTA Florida sanctioned tournaments. You can host Play Days and non-sanctioned tournaments if you want to fill your program schedule with structured events for your players. Here is a link for organizers interested in Play Days: www.10andundertennis.com/organizers/programs-play/play-days. Play Days provide an informal yet competitive setting without the threat of elimination. Non-sanctioned tournaments can be set up at any time in the system. They work exactly like a sanctioned tournament except the players do not receive ranking points.
 
Q: When will individual directors be notified of these changes?
 
A: Please be aware we are working as hard as we can to get the information out as fast as possible. When a sanction is rejected, there is a message posted on every rejected tournament in the Online Sanction explaining why.
 
Q: Why are there so few opportunities for recreational junior players on the new calendar?
 
A: You will see ROGY tournaments (Red, Orange, Green, Yellow ball junior recreational events) on the schedule starting in February. We were not ready to launch the events in January, and we are using this time to put the marketing component and registration component together. There are also 10 and Under Tennis divisions being added to L6 and L7 tournaments. If directors want to add tournaments, they can e-mail Ann Brown at brown@florida.usta.com. We are also looking at stand alone 10s with orange and green ball play.
 
Q: What was the selection process for the November 2012 ROGY Workshop held in Orlando?
 
A: It was not the intention to slight any coaches. The ROGY Workshop was for a limited group of coaches who we felt could best move the roll-out of ROGY tennis forward in 2013. The directors chosen for the ROGY roll-out met multiple areas of requirement, including being proven 10 and Under Tennis advocates and promoters in the community, offering 10 and Under Tennis programming at their tennis facility, having and building a more permanent 10 and Under Tennis infrastructure with courts and blended lines at their home tennis facility, a positive response to USTA Florida's 10 and Under Tennis Sanction Survey and Quiz, and whether there was a saturation of too many sanctioned events in one geographic region or county. We were especially looking for candidates who embraced 10 and Under Tennis in all aspects, and felt that rankings in the 10s age division did not help achieve the goals of getting more kids enjoying the game. In some geographic regions there were large numbers of tournament directors who met the criteria. Due to some limitations we could not invite everyone and some great TAUT tournament directors were unfortunately left out of the initial rollout. Our intent is to add those outstanding tournament directors and facilities in the second half of the year.
 
Q: What is the future of the tournament calendar?
 
A: As of Jan. 15, 2013, we have posted the 2013 junior schedule through March 2013. The adult schedule is set throughout 2013 with a few exceptions. The Committee are volunteers and they have been tackling the calendar challenges with a great amount of time and effort. Our first concern is the player -- we are trying to give them the best tournament experience, and with 850 tournaments, the quality at many events was low. We know that tournament directors also want the best for players as well.
 
If you have additional questions, contact:
 
Lyn Bruner, Committee Chairperson for Junior Competitive Sanction and Schedule, lyn.bruner@comcast.net
Mark Taylor, Committee Chairperson for Adult Competitive Sanction and Schedule, catscane@aol.com
Ann Brown, USTA Florida Competitive Education Coordinator, brown@florida.usta.com
Andy Gladstone, Competitive Tennis Coordinator, gladstone@florida.usta.com
 
 
Pensacola's Hollice Williams Park to Host Free 10 and Under Tennis Festival
 
10andunderlogoTennis right-sized for kids will be on display when USTA of Florida and Tennis For Everyone hosts a free 10 and Under Tennis Festival on Feb. 2, 2013, from 10 a.m.-noon at Hollice Williams Park in Pensacola, Fl.
 
"This Tennis Festival is bringing tennis to a population that hasn't had much experience or exposure to the sport," said USTA Florida 10 and Under Tennis Coordinator Tara Dominguez. "This month we have conducted tennis assemblies at The Boys and Girls Club of N.W. Florida, C.A. Weis Elementary, Jacqueline Harris Charter School and Global Learning Academy. These assemblies help generate enthusiasm and excitement about the upcoming Festival and introduce kids to 10 and Under Tennis. Hollice Williams Park has great courts within walking distance for most of these kids, so we are excited about the potential."
 
The event will showcase the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format, which allows smaller children to play tennis on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
 
"I think that it is an advantage from the beginning," said Maria Sharapova regarding the USTA's 10 and Under Tennis initiative. "It is much easier to have the lighter balls, and much easier to have a smaller court and I think it gives them a better sense of the game in a way. Whereas you are coming onto the tennis courts for the first time, and since it is one-on-one sport, it can be quite overwhelming. So for a young player that is trying it out, I think it is a wonderful opportunity."
 
Information will also be available for parents and players on local USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis leagues and other play opportunities. Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. It is designed for kids ages 5-18, and matches can be held anywhere from a local park or school to a commercial or private club. JTT teams are co-ed and divided by the play levels Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and utilize the 10 and Under Tennis format for the 10-under and 8-under leagues.
 
Players age 10 and under new to the USTA can also sign-up for a free one-year USTA membership. Parents that sign up children for a membership the day of the Festival will receive a free gift.
 
Hollice Williams Park is located at 1601 N. Hayne Street in Pensacola.
 
For more event information contact Tara Dominguez at dominguez@florida.usta.com.
 
 
 
 
 

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