4 Comments

  1. Jerry Winder

    The word”mandate” in all this is so very wrong! Especially regarding the equipment requirements, where USTA people in 3 different states told me it was pretty much written in stone! Are you kidding me?? Every kid, whether 8, 9, 10 or whatever…are not cloned! How about an understanding of individual differences!!! Did Connors play just like Sampras??!

  2. ” I know my friend Lisa Stone from Parenting Aces feels like the USTA has done a great thing for tennis and the 10 and Under Mandate has shown to be successful”

    J.P., you have mis-stated my opinion of TAUT. While I do believe it can be a useful teaching tool for those new to our sport, I absolutely do NOT believe that it is a good mandate. Players should not be held back when they are developmentally ready to progress to a full court and yellow ball, even if they’re under the age of 11. When I said that USTA was successful with TAUT, I meant in terms of bringing new players to the game via community and school-based programs, NOT in terms of developing the next wave of champions. I would appreciate it if you would edit this post to accurately reflect my position. Thanks!

    • I will let my comments and your comment stand as they are. You have done a wonderful job of taking me to task.

      In the original post you stated the USTA should be given “kudos” for the 10 and Under initiative. So I expressed what I stated. You have clarified your stance; it is very clear and now the readers can see for themselves. I paraphrased what you said and characterized the program as “successful”. I differ with that assessment. Just because something looks cute does not mean it is a success. Bruce Tarran has some great videos and in one of them he explains any time we see little kids playing tennis it is really great no matter the format–just because they are little–with little legs and arms scampering about the court. But you have to look closely to see the real effects of the mandate.

      Further, the USTA has not gone into the schools and communities with the 10 and Under stuff any more than they ever have in the past. As a matter of fact in Cobb County Tennis Dynamics is in the schools and we are in the schools in Marietta teaching with all sort of abbreviated and proportional equipment. The USTA might swoop in for a few minutes with some “free stuff” but the teaching is left to some good people who like to teach. I really like your answer and I really like how you have set the record straight.

      The mandate has not been successful except where they have given away free USTA memberships and other free stuff. In my humble opinion it might end up hurting more than helping in the long run.

      Finally, I still think if people want to let their kids play on smaller courts until they are 28 years old they should be able to do that. I see some families where the kids stay at home with mom and dad in to their 30′s and 40′s and I think that is great.

  3. Ditto what Lisa Stone, Lawrence Roddick, Blanche Roddick, Wayne Bryan, et al have stated. We have an exceptionally gifted son who is not allowed to play in academy prep with green dot OR real balls on a full-size court at the local tennis center, i.e. the only “gig” in town. Anyway… we had to drive 30 minutes away and find an “old school” coach who had his head screwed on straight and allows our son to play to his full potential along with several other kids who are under 10 who can actually handle a full court and real balls. We’ve beat our heads against walls (metaphorically speaking) over and over after coming up against all those who’ve drank the USTA kool-aid. They always seem to argue that the mandate is what’s “best for the child” making us feel like we’re bad parents because the court’s too big, and he’s just a little kid…blah blah blah. Then, they support their stance by saying they have credentials blah blah blah. But, they can never seem to answer whether those they’ve trained who’ve gone on to play Division I or have a pro tour stint played on anything other than REAL balls. You bet they did. Amazing! Because the USTA has all these people in positions of authority duped into selling the idea that players are going nowhere fast if they don’t follow the color coded rules. Maddening. My argument is continually this: If you had a 5-year-old who could read a 3rd grade book, would you pull out a mandate and slap them on the hand with it and say, “NO! You’re not 8 yet” or “NO! You must read X # of kindergarten and 1st grade books first.” UGH.

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