Here is a review of the ITF and USTA’s 10 and Under/Quickstart Equipment from Dr. Ray Brown. Dr. Brown works at the EASI Academy in Houston, TX and studied mathematics at UC Berkeley. No matter how you feel about the good doctor or the 10 and Under mandate he does make some valid points in this review of the mandate from out perspective here in the USA.
WHAT THE USTA/ITF SHOULD HAVE DONE:
1. Study the nature of procedural learning which is well documented in neuroscience references such as Principles of Neural Science by Kandel, Schwartz and Jessell to understand how procedural learning works. If they had done this they would have discovered that force application skills would have to be relearned for each ball and court size. This would have raised the issue of efficiency of Quickstart as compared to traditional tennis protocols and equipment.
2. Further study would have revealed that the brain selects different motor systems depending on racquet and ball differences. Thus, suggesting that the Quickstart equipment could easily develop a predisposition and skill set for motor systems that are incompatible with standard tennis leading to potential relearning activities that result is a loss of time and money.
3. By using slow motion video, it could have been revealed that Quickstart equipment will lead to poor technique development since good technique is not needed to hit dead balls accurately..
4. The above three issues should have led the USTA/ITF to conduct scientifically controlled tests of hypothesis running over at least 6 months to address each issue where efficiency was in question. These tests MUST necessarily have been designed with sufficient care to be publishable in top refereed journals. That is that the tests must meet the highest standards of scientific accuracy because of the amount of time and money at risk in implementation of Quickstart.
5. My personal experience with ITF research has confirmed that the ITF does not have sufficient skill or understanding of the issues to conduct the risk abatement tests that should have been conducted because to the time and money that is at stake in implementing Quickstart.
6. Quickstart, by its nature (dead ball tennis) can give the illusion of kids improving quickly when in fact the improvement will be strictly an illusion only. This will give rise to uncritical endorsements that are ill founded, poorly thought out and invalid. We have seen this happen with the early claims of success by Quickstart proponents. No such claims or endorsements have any scientific value or validity. They are just the views of Quickstart well-wishers.
The above facts, in conjunction with many other un American activities (such as use of mandates, restricting opportunities of youth, failure to gain consensus, failure to use incentives to motivate Quickstart, and failure to let the market decide) of the USTA makes clear that the USTA, and NSGB’s generally, require Federal Regulation because of their role in controlling access to future employment in the sports entertainment industry.0
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